Backline is where Chelsea should prioritise January business

Chelsea’s vulnerabilities showed on the weekend as Frank Lampard’s side lost 3-1 to Everton on Saturday’s early kick-off. Sloppy defending was Chelsea’s downfall as the Blues have lost three of their last four Premier League matches.

Lampard’s starting backline at Goodison Park consisted of Reece James, Kurt Zouma, Andreas Christensen and captain, Cesar Azpilicueta. Apart from youngster James, the others in Chelsea’s defence failed to impress their manager where Everton’s goals came from errors in Chelsea’s backline.

The Toffee’s second goal came from a lack of concentration as Chelsea’s centre-half pairing Zouma and Christensen both failed to clear a ball which led to Dominic Calvert-Lewin slotting the ball past Kepa.

It is fair to say that Lampard has strong options in the centre-half position as he has four top draw players to pick from. This season, the likes of Fikayo Tomori and Zouma have been Lampard’s preferred pairing, but in recent weeks, the Chelsea boss has opted to use Christensen as the fixtures begin to pile up over Christmas. The Denmark international has started over 50 percent of Chelsea’s Premier League games this season but only has a 44 percent tackle success rate. This is quite a substantial figure compared to the other two centre halves Lampard has used this season. However, Zouma has been guilty of committing errors that have led to goals during the season.

One positive that Lampard would have taken from what was a poor week is the fact Chelsea can sign players in January. Now Lampard can reinforce the opportunity to spend money in the next window and up to £150m at his disposal, it is up to the Chelsea hierarchy to bring in the right players that suit Lampard and his system.

After seeing his side fall short in recent matches, Lampard might be thinking which areas need strengthening so that his Chelsea side can maintain their strong start to the season and secure top four. His priority must be in defence as in that part of the pitch his players have been responsible for leaking goals in from lack of concentration as well as sloppiness in possession.

Lampard’s men might be challenging for a place in the top four and a place in the next stage of the Champions League, but without a defensive revamp in the January transfer window, Chelsea will find themselves falling short in their top-four pursuit.