Chelsea (and Manchester City) legend Frank Lampard will be making his Premier League managerial debut this coming season. He will be looking to guide the Blues through uncertain times, due to the transfer ban they currently operate under.
Their fiercest rivalry will be with Manchester United. Lampard will face stiff competition from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Stiff competition for the title of most odiously nostalgic manager.
Solskjaer has peddled the ‘United Way’, highlighting an emphasis on youth products and attacking football. Youth products from an academy that has not consistently produced match-winning Premier League talent since the early 90s. His somewhat sickening eulogies started off as uplifting, but have now become tedious.
Lampard, though, may come to rival him. It’s the ultimate fan’s favourite coming back home, and with him shall bring a shiny Blue dystopia. Tammy Abraham will reign supreme with 34 Premier League goals, while Mason Mount will outshine Kevin De Bruyne and rack up at least 15 assists.
Lampard will beam back over the great story of Chelsea in the Premier League, with tales of Russian oligarchs and special ones. This damned Sarri-ball will be forgotten, as Chelsea storm to the Premier League title.
Except it’s not going to go down like that, obviously.
Under the guidance of Lampard, Derby County managed to finish sixth in the Championship. Not a bad feat, although it should be taken into account that they finished there the previous season too, with one point more. And that was without the addition of excellent Premier League loanees like Mount and Harry Wilson.
Expected goals projections (yes, they are valid now, MOTD use them) had Derby finishing in the bottom half of the table. This combined with a high share of possession throughout the season gives us a loose conclusion: Lampard’s Derby had lots of possession without doing a great deal with it, and were reliant on the brilliance of individuals.
Essentially, the downsides of Chelsea under Maurizio Sarri last season. Stale possession with little penetration, and ultimately being reliant on Eden Hazard pulling things out of the bag.
Unfortunately for Lampard, Chelsea won’t have the luxury Hazard’s wizardry to bail them out this coming season. And the likes of Mount and Abraham will not be adequate replacements. Yes they are highly talented youngsters, but will not be able to have the same game-altering impact as they did in the Championship.
Also, did anyone not see Derby’s matches against Leeds last season. Yes, County came out on top in one 45 minute half which proved to be the most vital, but Marcelo Bielsa’s men had spent all previous game time that season ripping Lampard’s side to shreds.
Bielsa is an excellent manager, and arguably one of the most influential coaches in the game. Lampard was helpless when coming up against his frenetic style of play.
In the Premier League, where managers of Bielsa’s ilk and beyond are far more frequent, Lampard will hardly stand a chance. The likes of Jurgen Klopp, Pep Guardiola and Mauricio Pochettino will make managerial mincemeat of him.
Fortunately for Lampard, though, he will also be sharing a league with Steve Bruce. He may yet have a chance of tactically outwitting some managers. According to the wise egg on Danny Mills’s shoulders, however, Bruce is a ‘safe appointment’ for Newcastle.
If a Premier League win ratio of less than 30% with a number of different clubs constitutes as a safe appointment, then sign me up to be a Premier League manager – seems like a doddle! For all the moaning from your Richard Keys types about foreign managers, it seems you can get away with no success in England’s top flight as long as you’re British, and preferably over 50.
Lampard may be a bit young for that bracket, but he does have the fortune to be a darling of the national team and the club he is managing. Bruce does not have that standing, and must suffer the indignity of being Newcastle’s 11th choice manager.
So the utopian vision of Chelsea under Lampard is, in all likelihood, an entirely false one. But let’s not be too harsh on Lampard. He has only been a manager for one season, in which he was done resoundingly ok.
It’s a massive leap he’s taking and should it be coupled with failure, then those who are disappointed should only look towards themselves for blame. It would be foolish to assume Lampard will tear up any trees. He is a managerial fledgling and has taken on a big task. It’s a huge risk which could end up tarnishing his reputation.
One thing is for sure, however. We can, for certain, expect to see a Chelsea squad proficient in making late runs into the box.