Lampard is ‘worried’ but how bad has Chelsea performed?

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As reports grow that Frank Lampard may be fired from his post as Chelsea manager, there are growing calls for patience from many ends of Premier League punditry.

Is that fair? Foul? A combination of memories of Lampard on the playing field and distrust of Roman Abramovich’s reputation for quick change?

[ MORE: Lampard ‘worried,’ rips players after latest Chelsea dud ]

There’s no doubt that Chelsea is struggling at the moment, sitting eighth on the Premier League table after following up a nine-match unbeaten run with five losses in eight.

Chelsea has thrice finished outside the top four in the last 10 seasons, sinking as far as 10th and missing out on European football altogether in 2015-16.

Even that nadir, however, came between two Premier League titles.

[ MORE: Three things learned | Pulisic Watch ]

Lampard took over for Maurizio Sarri last season and kept Chelsea back in the top four despite a transfer ban.

That happened while playing a number of young talents including several England national team hopefuls, earning him plenty of plaudits in the UK.

But how have Lampard’s teams performed compared to the men he replaced: Antonio Conte and Sarri?

We have the benefit in comparison of all three men not arriving mid-season, though Lampard was hamstrung by the 2019 summer transfer ban.

Tuesday’s loss to Chelsea is the midpoint of their Premier League season. Let’s take a look at where they stand compared to recent bosses and even Lampard’s first season.

Points-per-game and table position

2016-17 (Conte): 2.44, 1st
2017-18 (Conte): 1.84, 5th
2018-19 (Sarri): 1.89, 3rd
2019-20 (Lampard): 1.73, 4th
2020-21 (Lampard, 19 matches): 1.52, 8th

Obviously the results haven’t been there and while it’s fair to talk about players like Timo Werner and Kai Havertz adjusting to a new league, to have them being this far off the pace production-wise is a major issue. Werner can argue confidence and luck, but Havertz looks lost. The manager matters there, though Lampard didn’t have to do much adjusting as a player at a young age having played in London until he was deep into his 30s aside from a loan to Swansea City in Wales.

Goals-per-game and goals conceded-per-game

2016-17 (Conte): 2.24 – 0.86
2017-18 (Conte): 1.63 – 1.00
2018-19 (Sarri): 1.65 – 1.02
2019-20 (Lampard): 1.81 – 1.42
2020-21 (Lampard, 19 matches): 1.73 – 1.21

The defending is getting better at a slight expense of goals, though it should be noted that these numbers have taken a beating recently. Chelsea’s allowed nine of their 23 goals in the last five league games, scoring four.

Open play goal and shot differential

2016-17 (Conte): 61-24 goals, 421-224 shots
2017-18 (Conte): 48-30 goals, 454-289 shots
2018-19 (Sarri): 47-24 goals, 481-245 shots
2019-20 (Lampard): 51-37 goals, 459-209 shots
2020-21 (Lampard, 19 matches): 21-15 goals; 184-136 shots

This is one of two statistics that really worry me. Double the 2020-21 figures and you’ve got the worst goal and shot production from open play in the half-decade (and perhaps beyond).

Possession % and league rank

2016-17 (Conte): 54%, 6th
2017-18 (Conte): 54.4%, 4th
2018-19 (Sarri): 59.9%, 2nd
2019-20 (Lampard): 57.9%, 3rd
2020-21 (Lampard, 19 matches): 57.5%, 4th

Nothing wrong with any of this.

Passing % and league rank

2016-17 (Conte): 83.9%, 3rd
2017-18 (Conte): 83.9%, 3rd
2018-19 (Sarri): 87.6%, 2nd
2019-20 (Lampard): 85.2%, 2nd
2020-21 (Lampard, 19 matches): 86.3%, 2nd

Same here.

Record versus traditional “Big Six”

2016-17 (Conte): 5W-1D-4L
2017-18 (Conte): 3W-3D-4L
2018-19 (Sarri): 3W-3D-4L
2019-20 (Lampard): 4W-1D-5L
2020-21 (Lampard, 19 matches): 0W-2D-3L

Here’s the other one that bothers me. Want to see where Chelsea will finish? See how many points they can take off Arsenal, Liverpool, Man City, Chelsea, and Manchester United. So far this season it’s been pitiful. Turning one of those losses into a win and Chelsea sits sixth. Add a draw going to a win or a loss going to a draw and you’re right in the top four picture.

Wanna toss in the Blues’ record against non-traditional powers who currently sit above Chelsea on the table? The Blues waxed West Ham, but lost to Everton and Leicester City. They also drew Southampton 3-3 and are above Saints on goal differential but below on points-per-game.

So, yeah, the Blues are making their money against the current bottom half of the table, boasting a 7-1-1 record versus teams 10th and lower. And the draw is against a Villa side three points behind them with four matches-in-hand.

And we guess that’s reason enough to give Lampard the rest of the season, depending on who is willing to take the gig. But Chelsea’s poor work in open play and against big name clubs should sound a lot of alarms.

Brentford vs Southampton, live! Score, updates, how to watch, stream, videos

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Brentford will try to extend their unbeaten run, which began all the way back in October, when they host bottom-of-the-table Southampton at Gtech Community Stadium on Saturday (watch live, 10 am ET on Peacock Premium). 

STREAM LIVE BRENTFORD vs SOUTHAMPTON

The Bees’ (30 points) eight-game unbeaten run (4W-4D-0L) has taken them up to 8th in the Premier League table, now closer to the top-four (nine points) than the relegation zone (13 points) in their second-ever season in the PL. Saints (15 points), meanwhile, are living dangerously at the bottom, though the gap between themselves and safety in 17th place is just two points.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Brentford vs Southampton

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]


How to watch Brentford vs Southampton live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 10 am ET, Saturday
Online: Stream via Peacock Premium


Key storylines & star players

Last time out, Brentford settled for a frustrating 0-0 draw with Leeds, but before that they rattled off successive wins over West Ham, Liverpool and Bournemouth with just one goal conceded in three games. Ivan Toney is 3rd in the Premier League with 13 goals, trailing only Harry Kane (16) and Erling Haaland (an absurd 25). After initially struggling to replace the creativity of Christian Eriksen (4 assists in 11 appearances last season), Thomas Frank’s side is firing once again thanks to Mathias Jensen (4 in 20), Toney (3) and Josh Dasilva (2) picking up the slack.

After losing 3-1 to Newcastle over two legs in the League Cup semifinals, Southampton return their attention to the ongoing relegation battle. Having won just one of their last nine Premier League fixtures (1W-1D-7L), Saints made four first-team signings to strengthen the midfield and attack. They brought in some experience (30-year-old midfielder Mislav Orsic from Dinamo Zagreb and 28-year-old forward Paul Onuachu from Genk) along with some youth and potential (a pair of 20-year-olds, midfielder Carlos Alcaraz from Racing Club and winger Kamadeen Selumana from Rennes).


Brentford team news, injuries, lineup

OUT: Pontus Jansson (thigh), Frank Onyeka (hamstring), Shandon Baptiste (adductor)

Southampton team news, injuries, lineup

OUT: Valentino Livramento (knee), Kyle Walker-Peters (hamstring), Juan Larios (adductor), Alex McCarthy (ankle)

Follow @AndyEdMLS

Brighton vs Bournemouth, live! Score, updates, stream link, video highlights

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Brighton will continue their chase for European qualification, while Bournemouth try to climb out of the relegation zone, when the two sides meet at Amex Stadium on Saturday (watch live, 10 am ET on Peacock Premium). 

STREAM LIVE BRIGHTON vs BOURNEMOUTH

Graham Potter and Roberto De Zerbi have, between them, guided Brighton (31 points) all the way up to 6th place in the Premier League table. The gap to 5th-place Tottenham is five points; the gap to Manchester United in 4th in eight. Bournemouth, meanwhile, are in the bottom-three for the first time this season after picking up just one point from their last five PL games.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Brighton vs Bournemouth

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]


How to watch Brighton vs Bournemouth live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 10 am ET, Saturday
Online: Stream via Peacock Premium


Brighton team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Alexis Mac Allister (suspension), Jakub Moder (knee), Adam Lallana (undisclosed), Levi Colwill (undisclosed), Evan Ferguson (ankle)

Bournemouth team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: David Brooks (thigh), Lewis Cook (knee), Neto (thigh), Dominic Solanke (knee), Marcus Tavernier (thigh), Ryan Fredericks (undisclosed), Junior Stanislas (undisclosed)

Follow @AndyEdMLS

Wolves vs Liverpool, live! Score, updates, stream link, video highlights

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Liverpool hopes it can boost its top-four hopes by hurting Wolves’ plans for Premier League safety when the duo meet Saturday at the Molineux (watch live, 10am ET Saturday online via Peacock Premium).

It’s the third meeting since early January between the sides following a 2-2 draw in the FA Cup and a 1-0 Liverpool win in the replay.

STREAM LIVE WOLVES vs LIVERPOOL

Wolves sit 17th with 17 points, only outside of the bottom three due to Bournemouth’s poor goal differential. Last place is just two points away, as there are seven teams within three points between 14th and 20th.

Liverpool, meanwhile, is 10 points off the top four but has played at least one fewer match than all but two of the eight teams ahead of them (Sixth-place Brighton and leaders Arsenal).

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Wolves vs Liverpool.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]


How to watch Wolves vs Liverpool live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 10am ET, Saturday
Online: Premier League on Peacock


Key storylines & star players

Winning games is about scoring goals and only two Wolves players have more than one. Daniel Podence has collected five, while Ruben Neves has four. Even more surprising, Wolves are still waiting on a goal from Raul Jimenez, Diego Costa, or injured Pedro Neto. Perhaps Matheus Cunha or Pablo Sarabia will chip in soon.

Liverpool has one win from its last three Premier League outings, but there’s a heaping helping of bad luck to their struggles. The Reds have 24 goals from open play and 20 allowed in that same situation. Their expected goals in those spots is 34.6 – 24. Mohamed Salah and Darwin Nunez have been especially unlucky despite combining for 12 goals and six assists on the season.


Wolves team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Pedro Neto (ankle), Sasa Kalajdzic (torn ACL), Boubacar Traore (undisclosed), Chiquinho (knee)

Liverpool team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Virgil van Dijk (thigh), Roberto Firmino (calf), Ibrahima Konate (hamstring), Luis Diaz (knee), Diogo Jota (thigh), Arthur Melo (thigh)

Dream debut for Dyche as Everton stuns Arsenal

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The Sean Dyche era at Everton got off to the perfect start as they stunned Premier League leaders Arsenal at Goodison Park.

Everton were joint-bottom of the table at the start of play and beat the leaders to secure their first Premier League win since October. The new manager bounce was monumental.

FULL MATCH REPLAY

After taking charge earlier this week, Dyche’s side were excellent as James Tarkowski headed home Dwight McNeil’s cross as the former Burnley duo combined to get the former Burnley manager off to a winning start as Everton boss.

Arsenal were sluggish throughout and Mikel Arteta’s side just couldn’t make the energy and tempo of Everton’s play.

The win moves Everton on to 18 points for the season, while this defeat is just Arsenal’s second of the campaign as they remain five points clear atop the table.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]


Everton do their best Burnley impression to bully Arsenal

From the very first whistle Everton looked well organized, had a clear plan and their players believed in what they are doing. The new manager bounce from Dyche was incredible but it isn’t just a bounce. It’s because he’s a very good manager who did a phenomenal job at Burnley. Calvert-Lewin was the focal point and McNeil and Iwobi delivered energy and quality from out wide. Doucoure, Onana and Gueye will excellent in midfield and the solid back four never looked out of position. This was exactly what we would expect from a Dyche side and if Everton changed their kit colors to claret it was like watching his peak Burnley teams. Arsenal were bullied throughout, couldn’t find their rhythm and had no answer for the energy Everton showed. Now, can Dyche get that effort and organization week in, week out? It is clear the Toffees have the players to drag themselves away from a relegation scrap and it is now clear they have a manager who is able to lead them up the table. Dyche to Everton felt like a perfect fit about five years ago and now it has finally happened, it has started exactly how he would have hoped.


Stars of the show

Dwight McNeil: Superb display as he whipped in crosses, worked so hard defensively and did his best to support Calvert-Lewin.

James Tarkowski: Got the goal, defended resolutely and delivered a big moment for his former Burnley boss.

Everton vs Arsenal
Graphic via FotMob.com

What’s next?

Arsenal host Brentford on Saturday, Feb. 11, while Everton have a huge Merseyside derby at Liverpool on Monday, Feb. 13.


Everton vs Arsenal live! Score, updates, how to watch stream

Kick off: 7:30am ET, Saturday
TV Channel: USA Network
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com

FULL TIME: Everton 1-0 Arsenal – A quite incredible result, and performance, from Everton. Sean Dyche is applauding the home fans and Goodison is going wild. What an unexpected victory to blow the title race and relegation scrap wide open.

Zinchenko blasts a shot from the edge of the box over the bar. Lovely corner from Saka to pick him out but the shot was a tough one to keep down.

Saka has a shot deflected over. Arsenal running out of time.

Pickford with a good stop. Arsenal pushing hard for the equalizer.

GOALLL! James Tarkowski puts Everton ahead. Wow. 1-0 to the Toffees. Can Arsenal respond?

Second half is underway! Arsenal pushing hard for the opener.

OFF THE LINE! A high cross to the back post finds Bukayo Saka and he brilliantly volleys the ball towards the bottom corner but Conor Coady gets back on the line to clear. Superb play by all involved.

CLOSE! Another massive chance goes begging as Dwight McNeil whips in a cross and Doucoure heads wide when he should do better. Sean Dyche applauds from the sidelines. Goodison roars.

CHANCE! Incredible play by Amadou Onana to surge down the left and he crosses for Dominic Calvert-Lewin who is sliding in and two yards out. He can’t get enough on the ball and a huge chance goes begging for Everton.

Eddie Nketiah lashes wide after being played in and that sort of sums up Arsenal so far. They haven’t been able to get in-behind Everton and everything seems a bit rushed from the Gunners.

Excellent so far from Everton. They are defensively sound but have a purpose when they go forward. The home fans are loving the start of the Sean Dyche era.

CLOSE! After a lengthy delay as Bukayo Saka went down after getting a knock in the face, Everton have plenty of corners and Arsenal are digging deep to head crosses away at the back post.

CLOSE! Positive move from Everton as Dwight McNeiil surges towards goal and his low effort is smothered by Aaron Ramsdale with Calvert-Lewin lurking. DLC was just offside but that was good from the hosts.

Bright start from the hosts who look very organized in their 4-5-1 formation and are looking to get it up to Dominic Calvert-Lewin as much as possible.

KICK OFF: The action is underway at Goodison Park! The home fans are right behind their team, and new manager, Sean Dyche. Is he the right man for the job? Can he keep Everton up? Our analysts discuss and are very positive about Dyche’s appointment at Goodison.


Key storylines & star players

Is this what Dwight McNeil has been waiting for after stop-start usage from Frank Lampard? He’s one of the key pieces to monitor when team news arrives Saturday.  Everton hasn’t played since Jan. 21, when it rolled out a 5-4-1 in a 2-0 loss to West Ham. Dyche hasn’t used five at the back since 2019, but this Arsenal team, man…

Arsenal enters having navigated the absence of Gabriel Jesus pretty darn nicely, thank you very much. Will Eddie Nketiah keep feasting off the playmaking of Martin Odegaard and Bukayo Saka?

Let’s just say Everton’s new manager bounce is going to have to include Flubber.


Everton team news, injuries, lineup

OUT: Michael Keane (knee), Nathan Patterson (knee), Andros Townsend (knee), James Garner (back)

Arsenal team news, injuries, lineup

OUT: Gabriel Jesus (knee), Reiss Nelson (thigh), Mohamed Elneny (knock), Emile Smith Rowe (thigh)