Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has had a tough start to his coaching career.
Despite all the hype and optimism regarding his appointment, the Englishman has failed to win any of his first three official games.
He could set an unwanted record of the first Chelsea manager to go without a win in his first official four games, should his side fail to claim all three points against a flying Norwich on Saturday.
From an attacking perspective, the Blues have done considerably well bearing in mind they lost their most creative player in the name of Eden Hazard over the summer.
All problems point to one direction though. The backline and the heart of the Blues defence.
Chelsea under Lampard have conceded seven goals in three games – four goals worse as at three games played at the start of last season.
Not to defend Frank Lampard but the West London side have seen some major changes in terms of personnel – which extends to the heart of defence as well.
Perhaps the genesis of the whole defensive situation.
It’s important to note that the current Chelsea centre back pairings haven’t played much together and perhaps that gritty experience and understanding is lacking from both of them.
Experience has been swapped for youth as David Luiz made the “Judas” move to Arsenal and Antonio Rudiger has been sidelined for months due to injury.
The Blues backline now reads 23-year-old Andreas Christensen and 24-year-old Kourt Zouma who only just returned from a loan spell from Stoke City.
In a bid to sort his defensive frivolities, Frank Lampard could now have a balanced pairing of youth and experience to call upon in coming weeks.
Antonio Rudiger has stepped up his recovery from injury after making his first appearance since April for Chelsea Under-23s against Liverpool on Monday evening.
The German international defender had surgery on his left knee four months ago after suffering a meniscus injury that ended his season.
But he looks set to hand Frank Lampard a timely defensive boost, as he gains more match fitness ahead of a possible recall against Norwich City at the weekend.
The 26-year-old was not involved at all during pre-season, but the defender returned to full training at the beginning of August as part of stepping up his recovery.
He was also an unused substitute against Liverpool in the Super Cup fixture and his 90 minutes involvement with the u-23s could now mean he is in contention for his first start in four months against Norwich at the weekend.
His composure at the back and strength on the ball will be highly welcome by Frank Lampard.
On the ball as well, he could be the starting link to playing out from the back as the man who had that role last season now wears the red and white colours for a North London side.
His passing abilities are also not forgotten and combined with his experience he could bring back some form of stability when he returns in the heart of the Blues defence.
Antonio Rüdiger completed 100% of his passes vs. Wolves:
• 91 attempted
• 91 completed
The most by a player without misplacing a pass in a Premier League this season. pic.twitter.com/hs5Uou9rIV
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) March 10, 2019
The Blues travel to newly-promoted Norwich City on Saturday afternoon, with the Canaries impressing on their return to the top flight.
And Rudiger may be needed to help contain Teemu Pukki, who hit a hat-trick against Newcastle and is surging high with confidence at the moment.
In a squad that looks somewhat understaffed, the return of any player at all will be immense news, even better when it’s an experienced player like Rudiger.