Chelsea fired Frank Lampard on Monday as they lie ninth in the Premier League standings, 11 points off the top spot.
Frank Lampard was sacked as Chelsea manager on Monday and is set to be replaced by Thomas Tuchel. The Englishman is a legendary figure for the Blues from his playing days, so the club’s decision caused a stir. Although it did render mixed feedback, it is fair to say that Lampard was given more time than most.
The ex-Derby County manager arrived at the Stamford Bridge in 2019 when the club was perhaps at its lowest in the Roman Abramovich era. Chelsea were under a transfer ban until 2020, plus, they had a very young squad whose average age was 26. Lampard’s men were the fourth most inexperienced side, but managed a top-four finish, nonetheless.
Lampard also took the west Londoners to a FA Cup Final and were only beaten in the Champions League by Bayern Munich. A massive spending spree last year saw Chelsea get their hands on some of Europe’s finest players. Ben Chilwell, Edouard Mendy, Hakim Ziyech, Thiago Silva and Timo Werner were all on the side’s books ahead of this season.
Chelsea’s expectations were higher than ever and it was touted that they would win the league this season and realistically challenge for silverware. That has far from been the case as they are now ninth in the Premier League and face a daunting challenge versus Atletico Madrid in the Champions League. The FA Cup remains the only realistic trophy within sights.
From a tactical standpoint, Lampard was far from a world-class manager. His inconsistent team selection meant that the new signings were unable to settle in quickly. Werner now has been scoreless for 15 matches in all competitions. The German has been used as a second striker, but not in a system where he can receive the ball often in central areas.
N’Golo Kante was also forced to play in an advanced role. The Frenchman thrives as a defensive midfielder, so an altercation to his role obviously meant that the Blues compensated on a significant amount of stability. The likes of Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic were used at the base of midfield even when Lampard had one the best in that role.
One of the biggest mistakes he made was trying to find a player like himself. Lampard was known to get late into the box and capitalize on loose balls and his long-shots were venomous as well. Mason Mount was credited with this work. While Lampard’s faith in the 22-year-old paid off at times, Mount is neither experienced nor physical to play in such a role.
As good a player as he may have been, Super Frank showed that he failed with even the basic of tactics in his outlook of the game. The 42-year-old deserves credit for making do with youngsters, but not as much as is being afforded to him. After all, any other manager would have had the same limited resources amid the transfer ban minus Eden Hazard too.
Roman Abramovich, known to be an executor of managers in nimble time, did play his cards right this time around while pulling the trigger. Lampard was arguably rendered more time at the job and rightly so- because of his blue blood; but the time was right to part ways.
What do you make of the board’s decision to sack Lampard and consequently replace him with Tuchel?