At the start of Frank Lampard‘s reign as Chelsea manager, a lot of questions needed to be answered concerning how he would play, what his starting eleven would be and so on.
As Pre-season ended with a two-all draw against Borussia Monchengladbach, we provide some of the answers that have been revealed in Lampard’s era.
Style of play
Frank Lampard employed a high-intensity, high-pressing style in his first year of management at Derby County. He favoured a 4-2-3-1 shape in pre-season with Chelsea showing a keen determination to win the ball as soon as they lose it; the front four press for the ball aggressively with the likes of Mason Mount, Ross Barkley, Christian Pulisic, Pedro and Tammy Abraham all excelling.
The midfield double-pivot of Jorginho and Mateo Kovačić looked a very effective unit and with N’Golo Kanté being nurtured back from a knee injury, that looks a very solid department.
While Kepa Arrizabalaga is undoubtedly the first-choice goalkeeper, Lampard retains a desire to build up play from the back. The returning Kurt Zouma has impressed so far and looks ready to feature in central defence; David Luiz also seems to have Lampard’s trust but his defensive lapses remain while Andreas Christensen waits in the wings and Antonio Rudiger nears a return from injury.
At fullback, Emerson has nailed down the left-back spot for his agility and presence in both phases of play. Cesar Azpilicueta, however, continues to man the right-back spot but he is a defensive fullback who hinders Chelsea’s play going forward; Reece James, who offers much more as a modern-day fullback, would feel he can make that spot his when back fit.
A new era
It is well and truly a new era at Chelsea as the FIFA transfer embargo prevents the club from making new signings. Lampard’s appointment alongside that of former Chelsea players and coaches means the club is truly looking to achieve stability with its young players.
Academy graduates Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount, Reece James and Andreas Christensen will have big roles to play this season. Their dream opportunities are finally here and they look absolutely ready to fly the flag for the academy this season; pertinently, Lampard’s style allows them to express their hunger to play for the club.
With Callum-Hudson Odoi and Ruben Loftus-Cheek also scheduled to return from injury later in the year, these are truly exciting times for the club despite the transfer limitations and losing talisman Eden Hazard.
Ross the real deal
Ross Barkley has had an up-and-down Chelsea career but under Lampard, he finally looks ready to become an influential player.
Deployed in his favoured role behind the striker, the Ex-Everton man showed exceptional form in pre-season, scoring four goals and creating three including a spectacular pass from his own half for Pulisic’s goal against RB Salzburg.
Barkley faces stiff competition from Mount for that position which could provide spectacular results on the pitch for both men.
The new ‘star’
Hazard’s departure also threw up questions about who was poised to be the new star player, with his number 10 shirt and penalty role up in the air.
Giving the 10 shirt to Willian reveals that despite the dependence on more young players, Lampard wants them to fight and prove their worth in the squad.
Ross Barkley and Tammy Abraham also scored well-taken penalties in the final pre-season game, with Mount and Willian also dead-ball options.
Chelsearequire quality coaching and fighting spirit to be successful this season, with team spirit already high among this group of players and coaches.
Although they will be required to answer many more questions as the games come thick and fast, Chelsea are used to being ruled out. Lampard is best placed to know all about that and exceeding expectations, a successful season is surely achievable.