If the Premier League has taught us only one thing this season, it’s how quickly circumstances can change in football. It only takes a couple of failures to really damage your prospects and, after a superb start to the season, it is a lesson that Frank Lampard is learning at Chelsea.
Several teams have already had to deal with the scenario this season, operating almost entirely within their own boom and bust cycle. Although both Manchester outfits seem to be in something of an upward swing at present, after poor starts to the season, the same cannot be said for Chelsea who are undeniably on a downward curve.
Despite spending over £200m in the summer transfer window, Frank Lampard does not have the answers for Chelsea at present and, with the Stamford Bridge outfit failing to win any of their last three league outings, they have ceded ground to those who they would have considered their title rivals.
However, the title looks nothing more than a pipe dream at present, as Chelsea currently find themselves ninth in the table and, after such an abysmal showing against Manchester City, there is now obvious concern within the blue half of West London.
The first 45 minutes of their most recent league offering was pitiful from Chelsea, with Frank Lampard witnessing his team fail to land a glove on Pep Guardiola’s men. When you consider the latter were operating without a recognised forward in their starting eleven and several players missing due to Covid, it only increases the magnitude of defeat further.
Such a meek showing will beg one pertinent question in January and that is whether Chelsea now stick or twist with the transfer window reopening and if they do, does that apply more pressure on the man in charge.
Frank Lampard has already had his toy box filled up courtesy of Uncle Roman and it may be a risky strategy to allow the Chelsea boss to bring in new additions before the end of the month, especially if it fails to reboot their stuttering campaign.
Money is not particularly in shortage at Chelsea and if 42-year-old Lampard feels that more ammunition is needed to get back into the top four at a minimum, then you get the feeling further expenditure will be greenlit.
However, if this proves to be the case and Chelsea fail to return to the Champions League next season by virtue of a top four finish or winning this season’s edition of the competition, then the guillotine may have to be sharpened by the club’s wealthy Russian owner.
If the personnel ranks are swelled further before February and improvement is not forthcoming, then Chelsea’s latest managerial incumbent can have no excuse for failure and because of such a risky trump card, he may be better asking for time rather than financial inducements.
If the plea is more along the lines of asking for patience, it may allow those who joined the club over the summer a greater opportunity to flourish, rather than get lost in the shuffle.
Names such as Kai Havertz and Timo Werner would look to be the most obvious recipients of such a stance and although the former can be given a pass in terms of output, after the effects of COVID-19, the same absolution cannot be afforded to the latter.
Although the sight of the former RB Leipzig man kicking the corner flag against Manchester City was the most extreme image in terms of relative early failure, there can be no doubt that Werner is yet to live up to his price tag.
While although there is still some time in which to come good, one wonders if the German international is already etching his way onto the list of big money forwards that have died a footballing death at Stamford Bridge.
For as long as the Abramovich era has been in place, the failures have followed, as names such as Mateja Kezman, Andriy Shevchenko and Alvaro Morata only scratch the surface in terms of absolute busts.
Of course, it would be unfair to label Chelsea’s latest hitman in the same category just yet, but at the same time it can be no coincidence that another big name is struggling to adapt to his new Premier League surroundings.
By the same token, the man who is overseeing his difficult start is no longer a new duck to the Premier League’s water and with Frank Lampard set to do some soul searching over the next week, he will have to weigh up whether to knock on the Chelsea owner’s door and ask for further reinforcements.
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