There’s no getting away from the fact that the manager’s revolving door has been getting good use at Stamford Bridge for the last fifteen years.
Ever since Jose Mourinho started his first stint at the club in 2004 no less than 14 different people have been appointed. In terms of nationalities it has also been a veritable United Nations with representatives of Portugal, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Brazil, Israel and England.
But now, one of Chelsea’s own is in the hot seat – and football followers everywhere are waiting to see how it’s going to work out for Frank Lampard.
He certainly joins the club with a huge amount of goodwill behind him. After all, he’s the highest scorer for Chelsea of all time with 211 goals to his name and 429 appearances, second only to John Terry. He’s also known to be a man who has the ear of Roman Abramovich, for the moment at least. But, as so many of his predecessors have discovered, this is a situation that can quickly change.
A step up
However, amidst all this positivity there still remains a nagging doubt that Lampard may not quite have the experience to improve on last season’s 3rd place Premier League finish and Europa League victory as well as making the team a dead cert for fans of .
After all, he’s only had a single season’s experience in charge of a club at Derby County. Having taken over from Gary Rowett he guided the team to the play-offs losing to Aston Villa and achieved a 6th place finish. His win rate was 42.11%, a little lower than Rowett’s 43.1%. Similarly, where the 2017-18 season saw the Rams picking up 75 points, under Lampard’s stewardship the total was 74.
While these may not seem like amazing credentials for Premier League success there are a number of reasons why many are predicting that Lampard could be just the shot in the arm that the club needs.
Youth v Experience
Ironically, imposed on the club for signing overseas under 18 players means that Lampard is poised to create a far more youthful side. This is something that managers like Mourinho, Sarri and Conte proved reluctant to do, despite the club having a very strong youth academy. Among the names being mentioned are the 19 year old right back Reece James who had a very successful season on loan to Wigan, 21 year old striker Tammy Abraham and even goalkeeper Karlo Ziger, 18, who is poised to take the place of the recently released Rob Green. As to whether this will be another case of Alan Hansen , we’ll just have to wait and see.
So far we’ve only had a number of pre-season friendlies to see how the Lampard influence has started to play out and it has to be said that the signs are certainly encouraging. For example there have been victories over St Patrick’s Athletic at one end of the scale and Barcelona at the other. With Tammy Abraham already showing his scoring ability against the Spanish club here’s hoping that this could be a premonition of what could happen if the two teams come up against each other in the Champions League.
The Hazard hazard
One of the biggest issues that Lampard could well have to confront will be the huge Eden Hazard-sized hole that’s been left following his departure to Real Madrid. All the youngsters in the world would have a hard task replacing the Belgian so Lampard will also be looking to the more experienced members of the squad like Willian, Pedro and Olivier Giroud to up their games, not to mention their scoring records.
So it’s undoubtedly going to be a tricky baptism of fire for Lampard. But with the natural goodwill that’s afforded to him by club and fans alike, plus the dogged determination that served him so well as a player, the signs are all looking good.