Why Lampard’s defensive options are set for a boost

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard

Chelsea are currently on a seven-match winning streak in all competitions, with Frank Lampard’s young side having risen to fourth in the standings following their win over Burnley. The Blues have scored 23 goals from their opening 10 matches in the top-flight, however the fact that they have conceded 16 times will be a concern to fans at Stamford Bridge.

However, Chelsea’s options in the backline are to be boosted by the return of German international Antonio Rüdiger, who has not featured since September’s win against Wolves, where he only lasted 45 minutes due to injury. According to the latest update from Lampard, both Rudiger and N’Golo Kante could well soon be back in the matchday fold, with the latter having been seen training with the Blues for the first since the beginning of October.

The likes of Kurt Zouma and Fikayo Tomori have stepped up in a major way in the opening weeks of the season, with the latter having earned a call up to the senior England team as a result of his performances. Many wrote off Chelsea’s chances of finishing in a top 4 position following their opening day defeat against Manchester United at Old Trafford, however online betting firm Coral now have the Blues priced at just 4/9 to do just that.

Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount have grabbed the majority of the headlines and attention for their performances, however Tomori is perhaps the player who has made the biggest step up, with the 21-year-old having spent last season on loan at Championship side Derby County, alongside Mount.

Lampard is currently preparing his side for a busy run of fixtures over the coming weeks, which begins with a Carabao Cup clash against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday evening. However, Premier League encounters against London rivals Watford and Crystal Palace represent good opportunities for the Blues to add to their points tally.

Following his hat-trick against Burnley, Christian Pulisic will be hoping for an extended run in the team, with the American winger looking like he has found his feet in the English game, following his summer move from Borussia Dortmund. The form of Pulisic gives Lampard a further headache in attack however, with the likes of Callum Hudson-Odoi and Willian having also impressed over recent weeks.

Meanwhile, Ruben Loftus-Cheek is also expected to return to action in the near future, having been sidelined with an achilles injury picked up in a post-season friendly in the United States. The likes of Ross Barkley and Andreas Christensen could also be in line for returns, with the latter having not featured since Chelsea’s win over Brighton & Hove Albion at the end of September. Lampard will certainly not be short of numbers when such players return, coming at exactly the right time, with important domestic and European matches coming up.

While Chelsea may still not be as competent as they would like in the backline, despite the performances of Zouma and Tomori, their attack has certainly been firing on all cylinders, with the Blues having scored a massive 21 goals in their last 7 matches. A Premier League encounter against a Watford side with the third-worst defensive record in the division on Saturday lunchtime is likely to have the likes of Abraham, Mount and Pulisic licking their lips.