Did Frank Lampard deserve to get sacked by Chelsea?

The big news in the Premier League over the last few days has been the sacking of club legend Frank Lampard. Lampard was sacked after Chelsea fell to 9th place and the Chelsea board could seemingly take no more.

Lampard lasted 18 months in the job and one has to wonder have Chelsea made the right choice in sacking him, or have they reacted too quickly? After all in his debut season with the club in the dug out he did manage to qualify for the Champions League as the Blues finished in 4th place. He also guided the team to the FA Cup final, although they eventually lost to Arsenal.

This season Chelsea were brilliant in the Champions League group stage and qualified with ease for the knock out rounds in February where they will play Atletico Madrid. In the FA Cup they have made it to the fifth round this past weekend as they beat Luton 3-1, this was incidentally Lampard’s last game in charge of the club.

But it’s the league where the problems mount up for Lampard’s Chelsea side. The club spent big on players last summer over £200m was spent bringing in the likes of Ben Chilwell, Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech. Chilwell has been superb and fitted right into the club. Ziyech has looked quick but has also faced some injuries and Werner has looked lost, confused and puzzled. He has been a huge disappointment.

It has been reported that behind the scenes lies problems, players feel they are not being coached very well and Lampard isn’t up to the job. Of course it is one thing being a superb player for the club but quite another at managerial level. Perhaps the problem in this whole matter is that Lampard was not experienced enough to manage a club side like Chelsea?

One has to ask would Chelsea have appointed a manager who has only had 1 season with Championship side Derby County on his resume? Therein lies the answer as to why everything hasn’t turned out as Chelsea had hoped. It also goes to show that even though Lampard spent 14 seasons at Stamford Bridge and knows Chelsea inside and out, managing players who also may have had egos is a difficult task.

Chelsea do not give the best managers a chance if failure looks like it is creeping up, the likes of Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti have been sacked in the past, so Lampard’s number looked up a few weeks ago. Though how odd is football sometimes because it was only 8 weeks ago that the Blues had gone 2 months unbeaten in all competitions and were challenging for the title.

Ultimately Lampard wasn’t able to get the best out of his players, but Chelsea are to blame too for going in for an unexperienced manager, their though process only concerned with the fact that he used to play for the club. New players coming into the team don’t care about the past when they were still teenagers, only the now and the relationship simply didn’t work out.

After spending huge sums though one has to wonder what Chelsea thought would happen this season. A league title? surely not. As any team who has bought so many impact players knows, it always takes some time for the players to gel and click by that time any league chance has gone. Did Chelsea really believe that they would fly past Liverpool and Manchester City, if so that seems like wishful thinking.

At the flipside of that the club were not expecting to be 11 points behind either. Chelsea are 5 points from 4th place and that would have been taking into account too.

Sadly for Lampard Covid-19 and the impact it has made on football hasn’t been taking into account. Chelsea may have won more games at home with fans and the players may have reacted more positively. The pandemic has turned football on its head and we have seen some interesting results to go along with that. There have also been more away wins than any other season, that can’t just be a coincidence.

In an ideal football world Lampard would have been given more time, perhaps until the end of the year if not end of this season. However, if as expected, he had lost the dressing room then there is only one solution for that and that was his sacking. One has to wonder what the future now holds for Lampard? And who knows maybe the club legend will return back in the dugout after gaining years of experience coaching elsewhere.

As for Chelsea they have brought in Thomas Tuchel the ex PSG coach and who knows what will happen there. Tuchel is a good character and of course with PSG had to put up with plenty of egos. But he hasn’t been in this position for a long time where his team are not challenging for honours so it will be fascinating to see how he takes to the job.

Also Tuchel being German might be able to train Timo Werner better and install some confidence in him, let’s see if Werner becomes the striker we all thought he would be in the Premier League.

Challenge the best EPL Fantasy Managers at www.fantasy-premier.com

 

 

The Best 11 Players in the Premier League 2020/21 so far

With the Premier League taking an extended break because of the international fixtures this is an opportunity to look at your fantasy football team and see who is doing the best and grabbing those all important points in the early stages of the Premier League campaign.

In a 4-4-2 formation we will look at the players who are performing the very best so far.

Goalkeeper: Edouard Mendy- Chelsea 21pts

The injury to Kepa has given Edouard Mendy a life line at Chelsea and he has reacted in the best way possible with a terrific start to the campaign. Mendy has 21 points so far the most of any goalkeeper in the Premier League and has kept 3 clean sheets so far.

Defender: Ben Chilwell- Chelsea 24pts

Considering this is his first season with the Blues Ben Chilwell has been more than terrific and has stood out as one of Chelsea’s most important players so far this season. He has helped the club to 3 clean sheets so far but isn’t afraid to get involved in the action and has scored 2 goals and assisted in a further 2. His value is 6.5m.

Defender: Kurt Zouma- Chelsea 24pts

Kurt Zouma could well be having his best season as a player. At one point it felt that he could lose his place within the Chelsea team, so to come back and start the season the way he has has been impressive. Whilst forming a great partnership with Chilwell he has also scored 3 goals, again impressive for a defender.

Defender: Jannick Vestergaard- Southampton 24pts

Southampton have been a major surprise team in the Premier League this season and currently have the best form. Jannick Vestergaard has helped the Saints in keeping 4 clean sheets is valued at 6m and has also scored 2 goals already for the club this season.

Defender: Tyrone Mings- Aston Villa 22pts

Tyrone Mings has really turned his form around since last season. He has been the best overall defender at Aston Villa keeping 4 clean sheets and has also been tidy up front scoring goals too. He can be bought for just 4.5m.

Midfielder: Mohamed Salah- Liverpool 36pts

Like the last few seasons it’s been a terrific season so far for Mohamed Salah who again continues to light up the Premier League. Whilst it hasn’t been the greatest start for Liverpool they are still well within the mix and Salah has contributed by scoring 8 goals already.

Midfielder: Jack Grealish- Aston Villa 33pts

There is no doubt about it Jack Grealish is having his best season as a football player. He has been involved in 9 Aston Villa goals scoring 4 and assisting in 5 as the club have started well for this season and his value is incredible at just 3.5m.

Midfielder: Bruno Fernandes- Manchester United 24pts

Bruno Fernandes is arguably Manchester United’s best signing in a decade, since Cristiano Ronado. He has scored 5 goals and made 3 assists in what has been a troubling start for the club, but Fernandes has been one of the best players in the Premier League.

Midfielder: Wilfried Zaha- Crystal Palace 24pts

Could this be Wilfried Zaha’s best season yet and a turning point in his career? Often a player who is touted at moving from Palace to one of the big six clubs in England he is certainly proving his credentials this season. Zaha has been Crystal Palace’s most effective player and has scored 5 goals and assisted in another two. His value is 8.5m.

Striker: Harry Kane- Tottenham 44pts

Harry Kane has been outstanding and Tottenham have been solid climbing into the top 2 clubs in the league. Kane already has 44 points and has scored 7 goals and assisted in another 8, he has been involved incredibly in 80% of Tottenham’s league goals this season. There is a reason then that his value is up at 14.5m.

Striker: Heung- Min Son- Tottenham 38pts

The fact that the two best striker positions in the league go to Tottenham players tells you everything you need to know about how the club have started the season. Heung-Min Son has scored one goal more than Kane with 8 and has assisted in another 2 goals. On his day there isn’t a better striker currently playing in Europe. Kane and Son must be amongst the most deadliest strike pair in European football.

Challenge the best EPL Fantasy Managers at www.fantasy-premier.com

 

 

Premier League Game of the Week: Chelsea 4-1 Sheffield United

Chelsea made it 9 games in all competitions without defeat as they demolished Sheffield United 4-1 at the weekend.

It was a huge win for Frank Lampard’s side who have now moved up to 5th place in the table with 15 points and are only three behind the current league leaders Leicester.

This was always going to be an important season for Chelsea where the pressure would be mounted on Lampard who was given a ‘pass’ in his debut season with the club. That pass was still justified as Lampard steered the club into Champions League qualification, but finishing 4th in the season without any trophies usually doesn’t cut it at the Blues anymore. Given funds to spend this summer, Chelsea will be expecting more and the early signs are looking good, for example with 20 goals scored already Chelsea have netted the most goals for a Premier League club.

As for the game you talk about pressure on Lampard but spare a thought for Sheffield United’s Chris Wilder. His side were a constant thorn in some of the big teams last season and pulled off some magnificent results along the way to finishing 9th with 54 points. But the Blades entered this game in the bottom three and had lost six times already with no wins.

The surprise of the match then was when the away side opened the scoring. David McGoldrick scored his 2nd goal of the campaign and from Chelsea’s perspective it looked incredibly hard to keep out. The ball was crossed in and an initial shot went wayward but fell to McGoldrick like a ball in a pinball machine and he slotted home before anyone could really react.

What happened next was the reaction that Chelsea showed which spoke volumes- they believed the goal was lucky and they played calm and assured football almost as if they knew if they stuck with their game plan they would get themselves back into it. Lampard had opted for an attacking 4-3-3 and that meant Tammy Abraham, Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech were pushed up front. And 14 minutes after United had taken the lead it was 1-1 through Abraham who had connected onto a Mateo Kovacic pass.

Chelsea took the lead 11 minutes later through the impressive Ben Chilwell who has really fit straight into the side after his move from Leicester in the summer. Chilwell was the last man on the post to turn it in after a terrific pass from Ziyech. The half ended with Chelsea in front by 2-1 and the London club had 5 shots on target and almost 70% of possession.

As the 2nd half went on Chelsea dominated and the game never looked like going 2-2, this was confirmed in the 77th minute when another Ziyech assist set up Thiago Silva who glanced in his header to score his first goal for Chelsea, and it was a goal that effectively wrapped up the game at 3-1.

But Chelsea were not finished and just three minutes later they added a fourth through Timo Werner who smashed home an easy chance. The German international has started to show his qualities lately and that was his 4th goal of the league campaign.

 

The Blues had 11 goal attempts in the second half alone and one of their stand out players at the weekend was Ziyech and Lampard was full of praise for their new Moroccan signing. “He gives us a different style in terms of the left foot off the right side. It’s not something we’ve had much of in recent years. The ability to find the last pass or the last cross, to break teams down with a low block. We saw that today, we clearly saw that today.”

Chelsea’s leading pair of players in the fantasy rankings are Ben Chilwell and Kurt Zouma who have 24 points each.

Sheffield United are having a woeful season and that defeat has left the club at the bottom of the league. As for Chelsea though the sky looks like the limit. After spending big in the summer it seems that the team have really clicked now, and after the international break they will play Newcastle away from home where they will be going for their 10th unbeaten game in all competitions.

Challenge the best EPL Fantasy Managers at www.fantasy-premier.com

Premier League Best 11 Players of the Weekend: Matchday 4

The 2020-21 Premier League campaign is set to head into its first international break of the campaign after another thrilling weekend of action that included Aston Villa’s incredible 7-2 victory over champions Liverpool.

Liverpool will be the next team in action when the Premier League returns as they are set for the Merseyside derby at Goodison Park on lunchtime of Saturday 17 October.

Before that though, let’s have a look at who the top players were from matchday 4:

Goalkeeper: Edouard Mendy (Chelsea) – 7pts
Four goalkeepers kept a clean sheet in the Premier League over the weekend and we selected Edouard Mendy in the team of the week. The Senegalese goalkeeper was making his Chelsea debut on Saturday lunchtime in helping Frank Lampard’s side keep their first shutout of the new campaign in the 4-0 hammering of Crystal Palace.

Defender: Ben Chilwell (Chelsea) – 15pts
Ben Chilwell was also making his Chelsea debut on Saturday when the left-back opened the scoring and later got an assist to go with his clean sheet in what can only be described as the perfect start from the England international.

Defender: Kurt Zouma (Chelsea) – 12pts
Chelsea dominate our defence as Kurt Zouma’s goal made it 2-0 midway through the second half to help secure three points in the London derby. It’s the centre-back’s second goal in only three Premier League games so far this season, and his first clean sheet.

Defender: Aaron Cresswell (West Ham United) – 12pts
Back-to-back surprise victories have come with clean sheets for West Ham whilst manager David Moyes is self-isolating. The Hammers followed up their 4-0 thrashing of Wolverhampton Wanderers with a 3-0 win away to Leicester City on Sunday lunchtime. Left-back Aaron Cresswell setup two of the goals.

Defender: Serge Aurier (Tottenham Hotspur) – 12pts
The one defender to make the team of the week without keeping a clean sheet is Tottenham Hotspur right-back Serge Aurier. Jose Mourinho’s side were behind within two minutes before coming back to hammer Manchester United 6-1 at Old Trafford. Aurier scored the fifth of those shortly after the break.

Midfielder: Jack Grealish (Aston Villa) – 22pts
The highest point scorer of the weekend was Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish, who remains at the club after deadline day. The midfielder helped himself to a brace in the second half of their 7-2 humiliation of Liverpool at Goodison Park on Sunday night.

Midfielder: John McGinn (Aston Villa) – 11pts
Liverpool had reduced the score to 1-2 through Mohamed Salah in the first half before John McGinn’s goal for the Villans restored their two-goal advantage 10 minutes before the break.

Midfielder: Allan Saint-Maximin (Newcastle United) – 11pts
Allan Saint-Maximin tore into the Burnley defence on Saturday night as he scored in the opening goal in Newcastle’s important 3-1 victory that sees Steve Bruce’s side head into the international break in the top half whilst the Clarets remain pointless.

Striker: Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa) – 18pts
The Aston Villa striker marked his recent transfer from Burnley with a first half hat-trick against Liverpool on Sunday night. Dean Smith may have found his man after struggling for goals out of his strikers last season.

Striker: Son Heung-min (Tottenham Hotspur) – 14pts
The South Korean has been deadly to start the new season. Son Heung-min returned from injury to take his place in the starting lineup and score twice in the demolition of Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Striker: Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur) – 13pts
His well-taken goal on half hour proved to be the nail in Manchester United’s coffin by making it 3-1 moments after Anthony Martial’s red card. Harry Kane added a second 10 minutes from time from the penalty spot.

Challenge the best EPL Fantasy Managers at www.fantasy-premier.com

Fantasy Premier League Gameweek 1 Picks

The English Premier League returns on Saturday as Fulham entertain Arsenal in the opener of the 2020-21 season.

With the return of the most exciting league in the world sparks the return of the fantasy football season too. Week 1 is always the busiest for players as they select a team from scratch with an eye on both the following week and the entire season in mind.

This season is perhaps more difficult than ever as Manchester City, Manchester United, Burnley and Aston Villa don’t feature the opening weekend as a result of the former two’s participation in the latter stages of last season’s Champions League and Europa League campaigns.

With that in mind, here are 11 players who you should strongly consider for the opening weekend:

Goalkeeper: Aaron Ramsdale
Dean Henderson returned to Manchester United at the conclusion of the last campaign and Sheffield United have replaced their successful loan signing with Aaron Ramsdale in goal. The Blades have kept a number of clean sheets over the past two seasons and the former Bournemouth man is a shot stopper so could pick up some points versus Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday.

Continue reading

Werner, Havertz, Chilwell who will join ambitious Chelsea?

The Coronavirus pandemic has made teams across Europe stop and think about transfers, and one could conclude that some teams have taken their eye off the ball given that some seasons are about to restart across Europe. That cannot be said of Premier League side Chelsea though who have been actively busy in the transfer market.

Names have been touted and in some cases it seems that Chelsea are coming very close to wrapping up a few signatures. Heading their list is RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner. Werner is only 24 and has been quite superb for the Bundesliga team. He has scored  75 goals for the club in the league alone from just 123 games and netted 92 goals in all competitions for the side.

Inevitably this has led Werner to stake a claim in the German national side where again he hasn’t let down scoring 11 goals from 29 games. Werner in a nutshell is hot property but because of his contract release clause he can leave his current side for around 60 million euros. In the current football climate that figure seems a steal. It is thought that Chelsea are in advance talks with his club and that in fact a deal has been agreed in principle. This would be a huge capture for Chelsea, arguably one of their finest buys in years.

However it would be staggering to think that no other club will come in for Werner. Perhaps though the pandemic has had a much more negative effect on some clubs than others and this could be an opportunity for the Blues to get what would be a bargain. Usually a player so good in Germany ends up transferring to Bayern Munich so it would also stop a normal tradition.

Then there is the case of Kai Havertz. The player is just 21 and as an attacking midfielder and winger has really impressed with his pace and skills with current club side Bayer Leverkusen. Another German player Chelsea see Havertz as a must buy purchase for their team but they may have competition from Real Madrid on that one.

Not that its his job but he also scores goals and great ones too and in his four seasons with Leverkusen he has scored 43 goals in all competitions including 15 this year and the player is getting better and better by each passing season.

Of course Chelsea have always been famous for having some of England’s young talent and it seems that manager Frank Lampard won’t let that running theme be an exception under his charge. That is why Chelsea are very interested in adding Leicester’s Ben Chilwell to their squad.

The 23 year old left back has had an impressive season with the Foxes who look set to qualify for the Champions League next season after a fantastic season with Brendan Rodgers in charge.

Chilwell has also broken into the England national team and already has 11 caps to his name. Chilwell could well be on his way to Chelsea with Leicester admitting that they are already looking for his replacement. He would cost Chelsea at least £60m.

All in then if you’re a fan of Chelsea you must be excited with the names that the Blues have been linked too. They already have a very good side and the fact that they are currently 4th this season proves that.

At this stage of Lampard’s managerial term with the club things look very exciting as the former legendary player looks to steer the club in the right direction.

 

Three players Manchester City should target in the summer

Currently 22 points behind Premier League leaders Liverpool, it’s clear that Manchester City must strengthen in the summer or risk falling further behind Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side.

Whilst Manchester City haven’t exactly been terrible this season, the points gap to the league leaders is astronomical. But that just goes to show just how strong Liverpool are this campaign, with a slip up looking extremely unlikely. Continue reading