Chelsea back on track but is star striker Timo Werner struggling?

After Chelsea destroyed a very good Crystal Palace side 4-0 the Blues look back to form and focused after a shaky start. The victory has put Chelsea into 7th place and they are now just two points behind the top four. It was a game that means the club have gone unbeaten for the last two.

The 4-0 score line was obviously one sided and Chelsea deserved their win but without looking at the scorers list you could have been forgiven that at least one of the goals had come from star striker Timo Werner, but sadly that wasn’t the case. One has to bring up the question is Germany’s number 1 choice struggling in the Premier League?

True it is very early days and some strikers do take time to adapt. Chelsea have brought in so many different faces that as a team the club are expected to take time to gel together, but football is a business and sport that doesn’t allow too much time. The league is a month old and Werner has hardly made an impact.

Werner has scored in the Carabao Cup but in the Premier League he is yet to register a goal. Is that cause for concern? Many would say no, but the player himself just like any other striker will be worried that he hasn’t got that first goal. Strikers live for goals and it is what gives them confidence to get more and play better.No Chelsea fan wants to be reminded of the likes of two great strikers who failed at the club in Andriy Shevchenko and Fernando Torres. And that is the key here just because you are a world class striker doesn’t mean every club and every league can fit into your game.

Werner has 1 assist for a goal in the four games that he has played and most damning could be if you have the German in your fantasy team as he has zero points so far.

The critics have been kind and Werner has received no negatives despite going a month without a goal in the league. This is because he is a new signing and he will be allowed time. But if we are in November and he still hasn’t registered the pressure will start to build. At the same time Werner has proven in the last few years that he is a top striker and the betting would be that he will end up having a successful season with Chelsea.

For now the money spent on the player has not been justified and manager Frank Lampard may have to switch his system which has seen Werner play a slightly deeper role to a more advanced one if he wants to see the goals. Only time will tell.

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Havertz, Chilwell, Silva and Rice? Watch out Premier League Chelsea have arrived

It’s been an odd transfer window so far with not many big noticeable deals going through between the big clubs but it seems that Premier League side Chelsea are wanting to make a statement for next season.

The Blues have already spent over £80m buying Timo Werner from RB Leipzig and Hakim Ziyech from Ajax. Two players who on paper at least are superb additions to the squad. But Chelsea who qualified for next seasons Champions League after finishing 4th last season are not about to stop shopping yet.

Frank Lampard’s side are closing in on Kai Havertz the German youngster who is being tipped to be brilliant in his position, he currently plays for Bayer Leverkusen. Chelsea have put a succession of bids in for Havertz which have all been rejected although it seems that a deal for £90m could go through very soon.

Ben Chilwell, the Leicester defender has also been a target for some time and his name has been linked to Chelsea. It is thought that a deal for the player could go through this week as the clubs are in talks. But Chelsea are not stopping there. PSG defender Thiago Silva left the club on a free immediately after the Champions League final and it is thought that his next destination is likely to be Chelsea.

The Londoners are also keeping an eye out for Declan Rice at West Ham, although if they get Chilwell it is expected that might not be able to go for Rice too, as the Hammers could demand a hefty fee. But another player who seemingly looks on his way and in a bargain free transfer is Nice defender Malang Sarr. He is only 21 and has impressed in Ligue 1 but has purposely run down his contract which must have made his club furious. They will now get nothing for a youngster, out of all the deals being laid on the table for Chelsea Sarr’s arrival could end up being the best one.

If all the deals go through Chelsea will be looking at spending around £300m and one of the reasons the Blues can spend big is because they had a transfer embargo last summer when they couldn’t buy anyone and that has built up.

Chelsea are pushing this season to advance themselves and whilst it is brilliant news for the club it will be clear that manager Lampard’s position and objectives with the club will have to change with their spending. Lampard has been left in peace with zero pressure on him last season. That ended up paying dividends, after a shaky start Chelsea were in 3rd place for the majority of the season before being pipped down to 4th on the final day of the season on goal difference against Manchester United. It changed nothing of course. Although the board would have been displeased at losing the FA Cup final against Arsenal.

This season the bar will be set higher and any mistakes and a run of poor form will be magnified for Lampard. Then again when you look at what the starting line up could be for Chelsea they may well have their strongest team since winning the 2012 Champions League title.

This next season will be all about closing that gap to Liverpool and Manchester City and being more consistent. Also the club conceded 54 goals last season, that’s simply too many for a top 4 side, so their defence needs to be more shored up.

Chelsea have already raised over £60m selling the likes of Alvaro Morata and Mario Pasalic as they try and balance the books and of course they have lost Willian to Arsenal on a free.

So with this much spending and the quality coming in the pressure cooker will be more on Lampard but Chelsea are the one team in the Premier League so far making headway and making a statement that last seasons top 4 place was not a one off. Can they seriously challenge Liverpool and Manchester City next season though?

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Is Aubameyang bigger than Arsenal as the Gunners beat Chelsea in FA Cup final?

All of a sudden Arsenal seem back. After a poor season which saw Unai Emery sacked before Christmas and former player Mikel Arteta brought into the dug out it seemed like Arsenal would be waiting a long time for any type of silverware. However they have ended the season by winning the FA Cup against the odds.

Arsenal came from a goal down to beat Chelsea 2-1 to lift their 14th FA Cup which is a record. Indeed Arsenal have won 4 cups in the last decade and their name is becoming part of the cup itself- just go ahead and put red and white ribbons on permanently why don’t you?

A burning desire and their name to be scripted onto the cup seemed to come when they upset Manchester City at the semi-final stage. Arteta had changed up the system and even David Luiz was playing with confidence. This was the first glimpse that under Arteta Arsenal could end up being a force to be reckoned with.

In the final it was going to be incredibly difficult given that the last time Arsenal had faced Chelsea in a cup final was in the 2019 Europa League showpiece where Chelsea simply outplayed the Gunners as the game went on and ended up running out 4-1 winners. Sure Eden Hazard who is now at Real Madrid orchestrated the win but still that game surely had to be playing on some of the minds of the players?

Maybe then it was to no surprise that Chelsea took a 5th minute lead through Christian Pulisic who has been outstanding this season for the Blues. With 56 points earned this season the American international was the 3rd best player for Frank Lampard’s team.

Chelsea started brightly but couldn’t find a 2nd and there was just that feeling creeping in that they were not putting this game to bed. With under 30 minutes played Arsenal were awarded a stone wall penalty and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who else? stepped up to take and convert it and the game was back on.

Whilst the 2nd half had it’s lull periods Arsenal were looking more and more of a threat, how much difference from their second half performance in the Europa League. Chelsea hoped for extra time but the Gunners could sense blood and Aubameyang got his brace and the match winner with just 3 minutes left to play.

True Chelsea will feel that Mateo Kovacic’s sending off was harsh, though he was already on a yellow card. It’s unfortunate though that VAR perhaps isn’t used in the big decisions like this, because on this occasion the referee looked to have got it wrong. It’s also worth pointing out that Kovacic has racked up 8 yellow cards this season from just 14 starts in the league.

This cup win feels like a turning point for Arsenal though because finishing 8th in the league represents their worst season in a generation. Arteta has said the win was his most important of his career, now he will be hoping that his statement won’t hold true in a decades time.

The last word has to go to Aubameyang. He has scored 22 league goals this season and assisted in a further 3, meaning that he has contributed to almost 50% of Arsenal’s league goals. He has been phenomenal, the one truly world class player in the side that can change a defeat into a draw and a draw into a win.

Aubameyang stands above as the lead man in this Gunners side and the club will be hoping that he will sign a new contract and stay with the club. They most likely have little chance of that happening if Barcelona or Real Madrid come knocking but given how teams have had to step back somewhat following the pandemic maybe that call won’t happen and maybe Aubameyang will realise that at Arsenal he is the king of the hill, at another club that might not to be the case.

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Why Frank Lampard is not happy with 4th place as Chelsea look to finish in the top three

You’ve just beaten Manchester City 2-1 and you know you have a very good team, normally you’d be very happy in the press conference after the game. So why wasn’t Frank Lampard? The Chelsea manager looked almost angry at the questions he was being asked and yet there was this focus and desire in his eyes.

You get a sense with Lampard that nothing is better than winning. Make no mistake he would have been delighted to get a win over Pep Guardilola’s City side. It was only a short time ago that City were beating Chelsea 6-0 and a lot has changed at Stamford Bridge since then.

Chelsea have played two games since the Premier League restart and have two wins both resulting in the same score line of 2-1. The first match over Aston Villa was impressive given that they went behind and it took until the 60th minute to find an equaliser even though they were far the better team. But that game summarised this Chelsea team. They will play you down, play at their pace and make enough attacks, that they actually make the opposition tired.

There is no doubt about it that this current Chelsea side are a reflection of what Lampard expected as player, no short cuts, hard work and a winning attitude. Much has been said of the lack of quality of British managers in the game, and Lampard might just be able to step out of that shadow.

For most of the season Chelsea have been in 4th place, finish there and they play Champions League football next season. This would be a success given it is Lampard’s first season with the club in the dug out. But now there is a feeling of 3rd place especially after beating Manchester City.

You almost get the feeling that after having Manchester United, Wolves and Sheffield United breathing down their necks trying to take the last Champions League place that Lampard has had enough. Why settle for that battle when they could go one step further and take 3rd from Leicester?

At one time that didn’t seem possible- Leicester were a good 3 wins away, that isn’t the case now there is just 1 point in it, and if you were a betting man you would probably be tempted to say that Chelsea could take 3rd this season.

So the press conference wasn’t about Lampard being angry about the result obviously not. It was about him knowing that he has achieved nothing at the club. Beating City is fantastic, but this season the objective will be a deep run in the FA Cup and getting that 3rd place.

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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.

 

Chelsea 0-2 Man Utd: The Red Devils walk away with the much needed three points as the Blues’ unconvincing home form continues

Ahead of gameweek 26, the main focus was the incoming battle between Chelsea and Manchester United, two clubs who used to go neck to neck with one another for the league title back in the early years of the 21st century, but are now challenging it out with one another for a top four position.

Going into the game, the main thoughts were purely on how both teams would react following the long winter break, as neither of the sides have entered into 2020 in winning spirits and have been failing to show consistency. A win for Frank Lampard’s men would have killed United’s chances of finishing in the top four whilst extending their gap in fourth place away from both Spurs and Sheffield United, meanwhile, the three points for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team would be a huge sigh of relief for himself and the players, who have been criticised by the English press in recent weeks.

Overall, if one was to see the actual match and compare it to the end result, you would be shocked with the amount of chances that the hosts had from the first second of the game until the final whistle, as they were unable to convert their attempts on goal into the back of net. And in the end, despite the two goals that were cancelled out in the second half, they had only completed one shot on goal in the whole game, which is not good enough for a top-four side that are playing at home.

On the other hand, United showed how clinical and effective they are in the big games, where they are able produce something out of nothing and are always posing a threat through Anthony Martial and Daniel James. Surprisingly for the visitors, both their goals had actually come from headers, which has not been the usual way of scoring for them, especially with their difficulties on set-pieces.

In the end, United picked up the much needed victory, allowing them to move up to seventh place and three points behind Chelsea, who have a tough run of fixtures that are coming up which includes facing the likes of Tottenham Hotspur, Everton and Manchester City. The result at Stamford Bridge is what the Premier League supporters would have hoped for, as the race to finish in the top four will continue till the final day of the season whilst the challenge for the league title is already over.

With no further ado, here are the three things we learnt from United’s latest league game…

Bruno Fernandes went on to complete quite a performance

Completing one assist, three key passes, 31 passes at a success rate of 79.5% and 54 touches on the ball, Bruno Fernandes had put on quite the performance in the number ten role, where he was also playing more as a false nine from time to time. With how quickly he has settled into English football, the chances of him being an expensive flop is really minimal as showed his intelligence on and off the ball as well as his immaculate positional awareness in what was his second game for United.

Looking at the understanding and chemistry he has formed with the likes of Fred, Daniel James and even Anthony Martial, there is no doubt that he can play a pivotal role in helping the side to finish the season on a high, as he is starting to show that he is the one to link the side’s attack from midfield. Once the individuals in Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay return from injury, the team will have the perfect balance in midfield, which will allow Bruno Fernandes to play at his absolute best.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has his setup and tactics spot on again in a big game

For sure, there are many valid questions and pure hesitation about Solskjaer’s shocking record and performances when it comes against the so-called lower teams. However, the results against the top-six sides continue to stay strong and does speak for itself, as Ole has now done the double over Chelsea, which has actually not been done by a Manchester United manager in a really long time.

Within the back-five setup, it helped the team to be more compact in their own half, especially with Luke Shaw being effective as the third centre-back and the fact that Eric Bailly’s return was more than ever needed, someone who is seen as the side’s best defender. And on top of that, the effort put in by the wing-backs up and down the flank as well as from Fred through the middle was second to none, as they were able to stretch the Chelsea defence and cause them several problems.

VAR intervened on a few occasions with nearly all the correct calls

There has been a huge debate about whether the VAR system is actually useful or not, since the start of the footballing season up until now. Despite many decisions going against and for a club, it has to be seen as a fact, that nearly all the outcomes produced by this method have turned out to be correct. It may take a couple of minutes or so to review an event, which could unsettle the players and the supporters, but as long as the decisions are right, there should be no arguments at all.

Besides the outcome of the kickout from Harry Maguire on Michy Batshuayi, which could be analysed and reviewed in a number of ways, with no red card shown following the incident, the rest of the decisions made by the officials was spot on, including the moment where they had to cancel Kurt Zouma’s goal due to a foul in the build-up and Olivier Giroud’s goal because he was marginally offside. Although VAR is not a smooth and straightforward process at this moment of time, but it definitely will be soon or later, when the Football Association will go over how the method is used once the season comes to an end, and think of ideas on how to improve how it is implemented.

Chelsea vs Man Utd: The three key battles for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his men to look out for ahead of the Monday night fixture at Stamford Bridge

Ahead of gameweek 26, Manchester United shockingly sit in ninth-place and six points away from the top four positions, as they take on Frank Lampard’s Chelsea at the Stamford Bridge on Monday night. Given that there are only two league wins that separate both teams from one another, it does show the how competitive as well as how inconsistent the Premier League has been this campaign.

There are no doubts that both sides will be showing their energy and work rate on and off the ball along with the intention of securing the three points to help their side move a step forward to playing Champions League football next season. A top four finish for both teams would help them target the world class players in the summer window, in order for them to become title contenders.

Most importantly, this would be the perfect opportunity for the Red Devils to mark their stamp and also turn their away form around, having only won three games away from Old Trafford and have picked up just the 12 points out of a potential 36, whilst Chelsea’s record at home has been quite on and off with nine other teams having a better home record than them.

It’s time to look at the three key battles that can decide the outcome of this fixture…

Daniel James vs Cesar Azpilicueta

With Marcus Rashford on the sidelines for a couple of months along with Anthony Martial being really off form for the last month or so, the main attention and focus on the go-to-man will look to be Daniel James, who is always a handful with his incredible burst of pace and movement in the final third of the pitch. He may lack the final quality when needed the most, but there is a huge certainty that he will be the dangerman out on the flanks and mainly when he cuts through into the middle.

James will be in for a skin-tight and a difficult clash with Cesar Azpilicueta, who is now being utilised as a left-back due to the rise of youngster Reece James in the right-back position. The Spaniard is known to be one of the most complete defenders within the league, having played as a centre back, left back and right back throughout the last couple of years. Given his experience and exceptional positioning defensively, it would be no surprise to see him keeping Daniel James in his back pocket.

Tammy Abraham vs Harry Maguire

Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham is having quite the season and especially in his first full campaign as a regular starter, as he has played on loan for the likes of Aston Villa, Swansea City and Bristol City in recent years, in order for him to gain the intelligence and understanding before he plays in the top flight of English football. And now he is on double figures in league goals, notching 13 in 24 league appearances, with only six players in the Premier League that have more goals than the 22-year-old.

Abraham has the capability to play as a target man and also as a poacher, when you consider his aerial ability as well as how he is in the right place at the right time, and he will be up against none other than Harry Maguire, who is starting to be seen as Manchester United’s best centre-back. Despite his poor performances and lack of consistency towards the end of last year, he has than more than enough to turn his form around, as the side have conceded only six goals in 10 games in all competition.

Bruno Fernandes vs Jorginho

When you see the lack of options that Solskjaer has within midfield, remembering that Paul Pogba is still a few weeks away from returning and Scott McTominay has just returned to regular training, It will mean that Bruno Fernandes will have to guide the team and show in a big match that he is the real deal. After a bright display against Wolves at home, there should not be many worries for the Red Devils of if he will be a flop or can he handle the intensity and physicality of English football.

On the other hand, for Chelsea, Jorginho will be the individual to keep an eye out for, someone who dictates the play deep in his own half and is able to pull out the much needed passes to the his teammates on the flanks and through the middle. The Italian deep-lying playmaker has been proving his critics and the English media wrong since moving from Serie A to the Premier League, as he has shown the class and composure in playing as the deepest player in the midfield trio, which is not a straightforward job for a player like him who lacks the required physicality and acceleration or pace.

Leicester and Chelsea the Premier League pretenders play out match that summarises their seasons

It was interesting to see Leicester and Chelsea come together at the weekend. Mostly because the teams have been so similar in the Premier League, the teams that could have, but aren’t quite there yet, that was the feeling of a game that felt like 3rd place at the World Cup, but was never going to be played like a friendly.

Both clubs are looking to qualify for the Champions League without challenge- well that is the idea anyway, which is working out much better for Leicester. The Foxes have an 8 point gap to 4th place Chelsea and Leicester will not mind that Manchester City have passed them in the league and could go 5 points clear of them if they beat Tottenham on Sunday, City the current champions are not the threat to Leicester.

This game which finished in an entertaining 2-2 draw pretty much confirmed that Leicester will be playing Champions League football next season and that is quite a magnificent achievement for the team. True they won the league in 2016, but they were supposed to drop off after that and never be heard of again. But under Brendan Rodgers the team have felt alive again and have become a very difficult side to beat, especially at home. A surprise loss to Southampton and a 4-0 defeat against Liverpool are the clubs only blemishes at King Power Stadium.

A superb first half of the season means that Leicester have a 13 point safety net not to finish in a Champions League place. If Tottenham beat Manchester City on Sunday evening that would still be a 12 point safety net. Leicester look good for it and with just 13 games remaining they should be fine.

As for Chelsea they have 41 points and have evidently slowed down, almost to a halt in recent weeks. Just one victory has been achieved by Frank Lampard’s side in the last five games where they have earned 6 points from 15. The only saving grace is that the clubs that were supposed to have caught them up have found plenty of banana skins along the way. Both Manchester United and Tottenham are finding it hard to patch wins together, though as said above if Tottenham beat Manchester City they would go four points behind Chelsea and surely at that point the Blues would start to feel the pressure. As it stands Sheffield United are in 5th and are five points behind, but not many people will believe that the Blades can push on from there.

The game played between Leicester and Chelsea was a good one. Chelsea took the lead, Leicester came back and took the lead before a Chelsea equaliser through Antonio Rudiger who had scored the clubs first goal settled the game. It was an encounter that on reflection of both sides taking a point felt like much ado about nothing. But these two teams are littered with quality and could well make inner and deeper roads next season if they can keep their best assets and add to them. For now they are the sports teams who will have to settle for nothing this season, apart from Champions League qualification, which at this time only looks guaranteed for one of them.

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Frank Lampard will feel he has managed 3 seasons in his first 4 months in charge at Chelsea

The Chelsea players may not have realised it yet but if their manager Frank Lampard’s hair goes grey before the end of the season they would have contributed to it.

In some ways Chelsea’s poor start to the league campaign which in fact only lasted one month made perfect sense. Lampard is young very inexperienced and the club had a summer transfer ban on players not to mention they had just lost Eden Hazard to Real Madrid. Let’s face it Chelsea could have finished 8th this season and the board would not have blinked, Lampard a club legend always had a pass in his debut manager season for the Blues.

For once under performing was of no great concern, just get enough points on the board and some deep cup runs, and go with the flow. But this young Chelsea team didn’t read the script and instead went on a blazing run, winning games, beating teams and scoring lots of goals. They settled into 4th place very nicely and it was at that point that the club started to lose games. Chelsea have made keeping 4th place much harder work than it ever should have been. True they currently have a 4 point lead to 5th but at one point that was 9.

One of the biggest surprises for Chelsea is that they are actually performing better away from home, only just but it’s still a surprise. We can cast our minds back to when Lampard was a Chelsea player and the club had such a proud home record once going 4 years at Stamford Bridge without losing a game. Now the club seem fair game against anyone. If you lose to Liverpool here it can happen but getting beaten by Bournemouth and Southampton shouldn’t be an option at home for a top 4 side but that is what has happened this season.

It must seem odd to Lampard that his side can lose so many games at home to bottom half table teams and yet in the last few weeks record wins against Tottenham and Arsenal both away for added measure. For this Chelsea could be seen as the Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde team.  You just don’t know what is going to happen next and what team will turn up.

So because Chelsea have shown the board what they can do there has ended being way more pressure on Lampard than there should be. This team has proven after 20 games that they are good enough for the top 4. Drop out of that now and whilst his job won’t be under threat there will be a sense of disappointment.

The likes of Tottenham, Manchester United and perhaps Sheffield United and Wolves will have their say and try to make life harder for the Blues. With the top 3 looking like it be wrapped up by Liverpool, Manchester City and Leicester that leaves a mad dash for 4th, who will get it is anyone’s guess, but Lampard will be determined not to give it up now, even if his hair does go grey.

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The heat is on for Wobbling Chelsea who could give up 4th place

It wasn’t long ago that Chelsea had made a statement in the Premier League and risen into the top 4. The objective at that point was simple: Frank Lampard’s team were going to finish in a Champions League position. As the weeks rolled on Chelsea opened up an 8 point gap on 5th place and whilst finishing higher than 4th didn’t really look on the cards, 4th was the position the Blues would have accepted after a summer that saw a transfer ban, Eden Hazard sold to Real Madrid and Lampard stepping into his first top flight managerial position.

In fact Chelsea had not started the season well but that was to be expected as they kept dropping points to teams they would have usually beaten and of course it all started in nightmare fashion when the club conceded 4 goals on the opening weekend to Manchester United. Many who bet on sports, particularly football, would have not expected Chelsea to finish in the top 4 following that devastating loss to United. In fact, most sports betting sites would have had odds which hinted that Chelsea were not a side expected to finish inside the top 4 in England earlier in the season.

But bolstered by their form in the Champions League, Chelsea ventured on and started to put a nice run of winning games together. Headed by youth in the form of Tammy Abraham the club have looked irresistible. Look at some of the results Chelsea have already pulled off this season; beating Wolves 5-2, Burnley 4-2 and Southampton 4-1. Not only were Chelsea winning games they were scoring goals for fun. They did lose against Manchester City and Liverpool but both of those games were incredibly close and they lost by the same score line of 2-1 on both occasions.

The problem for Chelsea now is that they are in a blip of sorts. True they beat Lille in the Champions League just yesterday and have qualified for the knock out stages, that is a massive tick right there. However their recent form in the league has suffered where they have lost 3 of their last four games. Defeats against Everton, Manchester City and West Ham have not helped their cause and the club have seen their points gap greatly reduced. They are still 4th with 29 points but Manchester United’s form has really picked up and the Red Devils are just 5 points behind Lampard’s team.

Chelsea have some difficult games coming up including away matches to Tottenham and Arsenal and those London derbies could take their toll. It will be interesting to see Lampard come up against former mentor Jose Mourinho in the Tottenham game but it is clear that Lampard will have nothing but respect for the Portuguese man who carved out such a brilliant trophy laden career for him.

If Chelsea do crack and finish outside of the top 4 there will be disappointment no doubt in the Chelsea ranks but at the same time this was always going to be a season where Lampard would get a ‘pass’, and rightly so. Next season and beyond is where he will be judged. So far this season Chelsea are doing well under Lampard’s guidance and to be fair there isn’t really much to complain about, though one suspects the pressure is growing for Lampard himself as he sees the gap to 5th cut by every passing week. Chelsea will play at home to Bournemouth at the weekend and they should have enough in the tank to beat them. Slip up again and 4th will be in real danger.

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