Frank Lampard’s first season is in the books but if Chelsea are to “bridge the gap” to Liverpool and Manchester City, as the head coach has said so often this season, there are clear areas requiring improvement.
As he said after the Champions League mauling at the hands of Bayern Munich: “It’s not going to be overnight and we know the position we’re in.
“To be congratulated a lot on the outside for getting into the top four shows the position we’re in as Chelsea, I suppose. We’ll take a rest we richly deserve and we’ll look forward and want to improve.”
Click to play
Tap to play
The video will start in8Cancel
Here are four weaknesses that must be worked on by Lampard if the West London side are to become genuine Premier League title challengers.
By some distance the biggest issue. Chelsea conceded 78 goals in all competitions, including 54 in the league. Most of those concessions could be narrowed into two specific categories: counterattacks and set pieces.
Lampard wants to be on the front foot but his defence was routinely unable to handle breaks, not helped by Kepa Arrizabalaga being one of the worst goalkeepers in Premier League history by some statistical metrics.
But it was not all down to individual errors.
Those set piece and counterattack weaknesses were also prominent at Derby County when Lampard was in charge and it is worth asking the question if a more defensive-minded member of the coaching staff would be a significant help.
At the opposite end of the pitch Lampard complained about the team’s failure to put teams to bed, especially earlier in the season and most notably after they scraped past Lille at home in the Stamford Bridge and the head coach spelled out the need for reinforcements in the January window.
For a number of reasons that never happened but his point stood. The subsequent additions of TImo Werner and Hakim Ziyech should help in that regard and…