Frank Lampard and Chelsea are only five points off the top four but the Blues don’t exactly look full of confidence and full of goals.
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That’s concerning given that they spent over $200 million this summer on new attacking talents to add to Christian Pulisic, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Olivier Giroud and Tammy Abraham.
With Kai Havertz and Timo Werner struggling mightily since they arrived in the summer, plus Hakim Ziyech in and out of the team with injuries, the likes of Giroud, Abraham and goals from defenders have been keeping Chelsea in the top 10. Just.
Chelsea have scored eight goals in their last seven games, as they’ve won just twice in that stretch and fallen from title contenders to scrapping for a top four spot.
Speaking ahead of their huge trip to Leicester City on Tuesday (Watch live, 3:15 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com), Lampard has demanded more from his attacking players.
“Leicester are in the race and there are others, but we have to not consider the race too much as it stands,” Lampard said. “When people were touting us as title challengers, we do have the squad when you look at the composition of it — but it’s very young, particularly in the forward areas. We don’t have the history of players in those areas that this club has had before, who are goal machines or assist machines that win you games.
“With our team it’s potential. We haven’t got Eden Hazard contributing 50 per cent of goals or assists. We haven’t got a Diego Costa scoring 30 goals. We are developing those players and I believe in them strongly, but at the moment we are not quite where other teams around us maybe are at the front end of the pitch. For us, there could be tough times.”
Chelsea’s goalscoring issues due to personnel or tactics?
There are two ways Chelsea’s players could have taken Lampard’s comments. 1) cheers, gaffer, that will do wonders for my confidence. 2) okay, I’ll prove you wrong and show you how good I am.
Lampard is hoping the latter happens, but he has to, because this isn’t a tactical problem.
Chelsea are a very attacking team under Lampard. Probably too attacking. They take risks in the final third, they get the ball wide and whip in lots of crosses and they get dangerous players in dangerous areas of the pitch on a regular basis. But it isn’t working.
That is largely down to the likes of Werner, Havertz, Ziyech and, despite his overall good displays, Pulisic, going through lengthy droughts in terms of goals and assists.
Lampard knows the buck stops with him and although he has shored things up defensively, for the most part, he now has to rejuvenate his previously free-scoring attack. That will be very hard and he has to work with the players he has as he keeps chopping and changing attackers to find the right combination. Lampard will likely have to stick with the same three or four forwards to try and build chemistry, but that’s tough when he has so many options but nobody is stepping up individually.