Although it has not been officially confirmed yet, it is becoming increasingly evident that Chelsea will be coached by Frank Lampard next season. The former player’s return is all but confirmed after Derby County allowed him to hold talks with the Blues. But how will his new team line up under him?
The stage is set for Frank Lampard to take charge of Chelsea Football Club and usher in a new era. The Blues are expected to confirm his appointment soon, with Derby County revealing that they have already given him permission to speak to his former club.
Lampard is expected to bring in former academy coach, and his current assistant, Jody Morris with him. Morris will help Lampard with first-team duties while also acting as a bridge between the academy and the senior squad.
The Englishman has only completed one full season in a head coach position and is not very tactically astute. Therefore, he would avoid tinkering too much with Chelsea’s current style and instead focus on getting the best out of each individual.
With that in mind, here are two ways the Blues can line up under Lampard.
Maurizio Sarri brought with him an attractive, attacking style of play when he joined Chelsea last summer. Unfortunately, the Italian moved on after only one season in charge, thereby leaving the team in transition.
Frank Lampard will most likely pick up the pieces left by Sarri and try to complete the puzzle. Therefore, it is unlikely that he makes too many changes to the current 4-3-3 formation adopted by the Blues. He will, however, have to determine which players are capable of filling the spots.
Lampard’s biggest challenge will be to fill in the hole left by Eden Hazard. While Chelsea do have Christian Pulisic at their disposal starting next season, it is probable that Callum Hudson-Odoi is called upon to play as the left winger, with the American playing on the right. Up front, Lampard will likely start with the experienced Olivier Giroud, while switching him with the returning Tammy Abraham.
Chelsea do have a few more options up front, such as Michy Batshuayi, Willian, and Pedro. However, while the former’s future is unclear, that latter will be used in rotation on either side of the striker.
The new Blues’ boss will probably continue with the midfield set by Maurizio Sarri, which means that Jorginho will retain the central spot with N’Golo Kante and Ruben Loftus-Cheek playing either side of him. Mason Mount, who shone at Derby under Lampard, and Ross Barkley will likely provide the depth.
Another phase which the Englishman would prefer to keep the same is the defence. David Luiz and Antonio Rudiger are expected to continue centrally, with Andreas Christensen and Kurt Zouma as reserves. Cesar Azpilicueta and Emerson will take up the full-back roles, with the highly impressive Reece James waiting in the wings.
Continuing with Sarri’s 4-3-3 will guarantee Frank Lampard a set squad, one which he wouldn’t want to disrupt, but only enhance.
Frank Lampard himself used a 4-3-3 when he was in charge of Derby County. Mason Mount played a crucial role in that team, with the creative output depending upon him. Harry Wilson, on the other hand, was deployed in a more advanced position to great effect.
However, if the 4-3-3 fails and Chelsea are left in distress, the Englishman could experiment with a much more stable 4-2-3-1. The formation was last used at Chelsea by Jose Mourinho, who ended up winning yet another title with the Blues in 2015.
During that season, Mourinho would deploy Nemanja Matic and Cesc Fabregas, often Ramires and John Obi Mikel, in the centre of the park. The pair used to play just behind the forward line, dictating play from deep. Chelsea have none of the four players used by Mourinho among their ranks anymore. They do, however, have players who can play in those roles.
If Lampard indeed deploys a 4-2-3-1, it is probable that he goes with N’Golo Kante and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, benching Jorginho in the process. While Kante will provide the steel, Loftus-Cheek will act as the channel between defence and attack. Ahead of them would be Lampard’s favourite pupil – Mason Mount – who will take up the number ten role.
Callum Hudson-Odoi and Christian Pulisic will likely line-up either side of Mount to complete a new look forward line. Tammy Abraham could be preferred over Giroud due to better mobility.
The defence would not require any changes but Lampard could start Reece James over Cesar Azpilicueta. With Kante marshalling the right-hand side, James could function up and down the wing, contributing at both ends of the pitch.
While it is not confirmed yet, Lampard’s arrival will significantly alter the direction of Chelsea Football Club. The Blues have opted for established, successful managers during the Roman Abramovich era, who has been hired and fired at speed. However, Lampard’s impending appointment signals that the club might be thinking more long-term; bringing in a professional who is a known leader, has shown promise in his early coaching days, and can finally bring the youth academy into play.
His inexperience may affect the Blues in the short term and may even arouse a laugh or two out of the rival fans. However, rest assured, these are sure to be some exciting times for the Blues.