Chelsea can't even compete for 4th place if they don't change

ARDA ALAN IŞIK
Published 16.08.2019 00:18

Frank Lampard probably made one of the worst starts in Chelsea's history as the team was destroyed 4-0 by Manchester United in its Premier League opener and then lost the UEFA Super Cup to Liverpool.

What makes the situation worse for the Blues is that United is not even on the same level with Manchester City or Liverpool, and Klopp's men did not even give it their best in the Super Cup final.

With the departure of Eden Hazard and David Luiz, Chelsea's transfer ban became even more problematic and Lampard has fewer options than Sarri, who could not stay with the club for more than a year. It means this year will be much harder for the blues and their chances of being in the top four are really low.

Let's start with the most obvious problem: Hazard left and Pulisic cannot deliver the same level of precision. Although Hazard made it almost impossible for any manager to build a long-term system, he was a very talented wizard who could deal with any strict defenses alone. Now, Lampard has a chance to build a better long-term strategy, but for the short term, he has lost his biggest scoring machine.

This also allows opponents to let Chelsea play with the ball, as United did, and wait for counterattacks. Since there is not a wizard-like Hazard on the wings, Chelsea struggles to find opportunities in the possession game. United simply scored four goals from four counterattacks while most of the game was spent in United's half.

The other less subtle but equally important problem is with their defense. Unlike what most people claim, the problem is not that Jorginho or Mateo Kovacic are not defensive enough. The problem is that Lampard is trying to attack without any defensive measures. I value his positive approach but no one can win games in the Premier League or Champions League without having a proper defensive strategy. Especially when you have a boss like Abramovich, you should prioritize winning at all costs, and to win a team must defend well.

To make matters worse, Chelsea does not have a proper attacking strategy either! Lampard either thinks that it is too early to build a strategy or perhaps he thinks it is still 2006. There was not a single repetitive set piece against United or Liverpool. Lampard basically let Pulisic play with the ball and create time and space for Giroud. This is a primitive approach compared to Guardiola and Klopp's strategies. While City and Liverpool play with multiple set pieces both on attack and in defense, Chelsea still relies on individual talent to create opportunities and to stop their opponents.

Now this, let alone competing for the trophy, could not make Chelsea even fourth in the Premier League. Not just City and Liverpool; United, Tottenham, Arsenal and even Wolves are better than they are. If Lampard wants to keep his job, he had better work on a proper defensive strategy, as it is the first step towards winning games. Otherwise, a chaotic period awaits Chelsea.

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
DAILY SABAH RECOMMENDS