“I want energy in my team. I want us to have possession of the ball. We have players who have the quality to handle the ball, but I don’t want it for possession’s sake. I want us to be an exciting team to watch so we can move the ball through the pitch quickly, and create chances.” This was shared by Lampard before the start of last year’s Premier League season (2019-20).
Yes, it was exciting to watch Chelsea play and create chances.
Chelsea’s 2019-20 season :
Position : 4th place
Goals scored: 69 (3rd best in the league)
Chances created : 105 (3rd best in the league)
Total shots per game: 11.8 (2nd best in the league)
Lampard executed his plan to perfection. But this performance was not consistent. It was not an easy first full season for Lampard as the manager of the club. Injuries, transfer ban gave enough headache to the manager but this opportunity was well utilized by the players from Chelsea academy.
2019-20 season witnessed Chelsea’s Rise, Fall and Resurgence.
First 12 games:
The first game against Manchester United started on a bright note. But Chelsea could not capitalize on the chances and were not lucky as they ended up hitting the woodwork as well. The end result 0-4.
From here on Chelsea was on a good run.
12 Games: 8 W 2 D 2 L : Points 26
The problem started after Chelsea were on 6 games winning streak. The next 14 games seemed as if it is a steady fall from this peak.
The Fall: Next 14 Games
It started with Chelsea’s away game at the Etihad stadium.
14 Games: 4 W 3 D 7 L : Points 15
The situation looked really challenging for Lampard and the players. Defense was getting opened up which was the concern in the first 12 games as well. But now the concern was that the strikers were not able to score as well. So that became a double whammy. It looked like a season that Lampard would like to forget quickly. Few changes, some injuries, some key players stepped up and played their part to stop this fall.
The Resurgence: Final 12 Games
The Champions League and even the Europa League qualification was looking like a distant dream. It required a massive turnaround. Lampard along with the players made a superb comeback.
12 Games: 8 W 1 D 3 L : Points 25
This performance in the final 12 games along with the action happening at the other games saw Chelsea sail through and finish 4th with a Champions League qualification. It could not have been a better first full season for Lampard.
One of the players who always get discussed while talking about Chelsea defense is Marcus Alonso. Surprisingly the statistics are worth taking a look:-
Alonso started in 15 games, 9 in a back 4 formation and 6 in a back 3 formation. Chelsea won 12 of these games. He also scored 4 crucial goals.
The other player who waited for his opportunity and made it count: Oliver Giroud.
Giroud started 12 games and Chelsea won 8 of them.
Chelsea ended up conceding 54 goals, the highest in comparison to the teams which finished in the top 10. In addition to this Kepa will try to forget the 2019-20 season. Just 9 clean sheets. This has been an area of concern for Lampard.
The New Beginning: 2020-21 and onwards
Lampard is really happy with the new signings. Werner, Ziyech, Havertz – 3 key players added to the squad. This will surely add to the attacking power. Thiago Silva’s signing along with Ben Chilwell will give Chelsea the much needed support in the defense line
Thaigo, Azpi, James, Tomori, Zouma, Christensen , Alonso and Chilwell: these players will decide a lot as to where Chelsea will finish at the end of this season.
Tammy, CHO and Giroud will provide the required support for the attacking line. Players will have to make the best use of the chances and compete with other players to get more starts as well as playing time.
Kovacic the player of the 2019-20 season will be crucial in the midfield along with Kante, Jorginho, Mount, Loftus Cheek (need to start dominating) and hope to see Gilmour making a come back by end of December.
Pulisic, Werner, Havertz, Ziyech can definitely give a run for the money to any opponents. It will be interesting to see how quickly they gel and play as a unit.
This will be an important season for Lampard and as he said “I want us to be an exciting team to watch so we can move the ball through the pitch quickly, and create chances” , hope to the fans get to see this on the ground. The focus though will be a the back 3 or back 4 and Kepa.
Chelsea has a young team now and this will be the beginning of a new era of players at the Stamford Bridge.
All the best to all the players, Lampard and support staff. It will be crucial to have maintain a good bench strength as players may have to go in quarantine or injuries. Last season saw players from the academy making the best of the opportunities. Hope to see it happening in the coming seasons as well.
Hoping to see another top 4 finish this season or a couple of notches better than last year. Considering Chelsea has to play Manchester City, Arsenal and Leicester City towards the end of the season, Lampard will have to make sure that enough points are secured by the end of 34 games.
Premier League this season is going to be more competitive and will be a treat for the football fans.
Keep The Blue Flag Flying High