Kurt Zouma

Lampard hits out as Chelsea stunned at home again

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Frank Lampard did not enjoy his Boxing Day. At all.

Chelsea’s manager sat on the bench wearing a glum expression as he watched his side lose 2-0 at home to Southampton on Boxing Day, as once again they came unstuck at home against a team in the bottom half of the table.

The defeat marked the first time Chelsea have lost back-to-back home games in the Premier League since 2011 and plenty of Blues fans were far from happy (understatement alert).

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Speaking to the BBC after the game, Lampard didn’t beat about the bush when dissecting Chelsea’s display as they’ve now lost against West Ham, Bournemouth and Southampton in their last four PL home games.

“Teams are making it difficult here. We are not making enough chances, we were at the beginning of the season. We are being asked a different question at home. At the moment we are not answering them. We do not manage to pick up that final pass,” Lampard said. “Against Tottenham we had space to make runs and today we had none. It changes things. We did not do it right today. I think If at the start of the season we would have been happy where we are. We are good away but we have to make it difficult to come here.”

Chelsea are a young side and there will be growing pains this season. We all knew that and Lampard knows that better than most.

When they went on a six-game winning run in the fall, he was the first person to urge caution. And now that is proving correct as he admitted the players are maybe thinking about their poor home form too much.

“There is more pressure, everyone is talking about it,” Lampard said. “We are not playing like the Chelsea to break them down.”

But it’s not just the players who have to hold their hands up after the defeat against Saints, as Lampard’s decision to stick with the 3-4-3 formation which worked so well at Tottenham on Sunday was a bad one.

He changed it around at half time (Mason Mount replaced Kurt Zouma and Chelsea reverted to a 4-2-3-1 formation) but it was too late by that point. Southampton put in their best display of the season and were clinical, but Chelsea never got going in attack and Lampard will be concerned with their drop off in form which has seen them lose five of their last seven PL games.

Lampard chopped and changed his side as he brought in Callum Hudson-Odoi, who had a shocker, and continued to leave Christian Pulisic on the bench, and the Blues lacked creativity in the final third and like Man United this season, Chelsea struggle to break down teams who sit back and defend and do better against the big clubs who allow them space on the counter to attack.

With the January transfer window just around the corner and Chelsea now able to buy players after their transfer ban was lifted, he can bring in new recruits in defense, especially at full back. It may also not be too far off the mark to suggest that Chelsea’s ability to bring in new faces in the next few weeks could have unsettled their settled young side who believed they would be getting a full season to bed in together.

If Chelsea want to keep the top four hopes intact Lampard needs to galvanize the group and improve their defensive shape. Next up they face Arsenal on Sunday (Watch live, 9 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) which will probably suit them better than playing teams in the bottom half of the table. Lampard will want a response and given the topsy-turvy nature of his team this season, they will probably hammer the Gunners.

Southampton shock Chelsea

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Southampton shocked Chelsea by winning 2-0 at Stamford Bridge on Boxing Day as Frank Lampard‘s Blues continued their Jekyll and Hyde form.

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After winning at top four rivals Tottenham last time out, Chelsea were sluggish against Saints and were punished as Michael Obafemi and Nathan Redmond scored in each half to lead Ralph Hasenhuttl‘s side to a big victory.

With the win Southampton move on to 21 points, while Chelsea stay on 32 points.

The defeat marked the first time Chelsea have lost back-to-back home games in the Premier League since 2011.


3 things we learned

1. 3-4-3 not the way forward for Chelsea: Frank Lampard stuck with the 3-4-3 formation which worked so well at Spurs on Sunday, but it was a surprise he went with it at home against Southampton. Chelsea have now lost 2-0 to Saints and 1-0 against West Ham and Bournemouth in their last four home games at Stamford Bridge and their young team has been a little naive. Lampard’s admission that they will be in the transfer market in January seems to have unsettled some of his players as their transfer ban is now over.

2. Saints alive and kicking: Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side have now won four of their last six games but this was the most impressive victory of the lot. Away from home against Chelsea, Saints took the game to the Blues and their high-pressing style unnerved Chelsea. Danny Ings, their leading goalscorer, was left out and the young forward duo of Che Adams and Michael Obafemi delivered with grit and the latter with a fine goal. This was Southampton’s first clean sheet in 14 games and back-to-back wins have taken them from the relegation zone to eyeing a top 10 finish. There is still a long season ahead but Saints have finally got going.

3. Pulisic’s lack of game time concerning: When USMNT winger Pulisic didn’t start against Spurs on Sunday we assumed he was being rested to play against Southampton. He came on for the final 25 minutes and did well, winning free kicks and firing just wide, and you have to imagine he will start against Arsenal on Sunday. If he doesn’t that will be even more concerning.

Man of the Match: Jack Stephens – Won the battle against Tammy Abraham and he led the Southampton defense calmly. What a turnaround in his career over the last few months.


Early on Southampton were comfortable enough without having a clear chance on goal and the first big chance of the game came to Chelsea.

Callum Hudson-Odoi‘s shot was deflected wide by Jack Stephens and from the resulting corner Fikayo Tomori headed straight at Alex McCarthy.

Saints frustrated Chelsea in the first half and then took the lead as 19-year-old Obafemi turned, settled himself and curled home a stunner into the top corner.

Cesar Azpilicueta’s flick at the near post from a corner almost snuck in as McCarthy tipped the ball away.

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Mason Mount came on at half time for Kurt Zouma as Chelsea switched their formation to a 4-2-3-1 and Tammy Abraham slammed a shot into the side-netting from close range.

At the other end Nathan Redmond broke free and crossed for Che Adams but Tomori cleared superbly at the back post.

Redmond then spurned a great chance as he was clean through but Kepa saved down low.

USMNT’s Christian Pulisic came on for the final 25 minutes to try and salvage something for Chelsea but then Southampton killed the game off.

A break found Redmond and he calmly dinked over Kepa and in to seal a shock win for Southampton at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea signs Tomori to new 5-year deal

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Chelsea center back Fikayo Tomori has a new five-year contract with the club.

The 21-year-old has a goal and an assist in 16 matches across all competitions, though he’s spent the past two Premier League outings on the bench.

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Tomori joined Chelsea at age 7. He made his Premier League debut 11 years later in the 2016 season finale versus Leicester City.

The Canadian-born back averages 2.3 tackles per game, with 1.7 interceptions, and 2.6 clearances in Premier League action this season.

From ChelseaFC.com:

“The club has been so good to me, looking after and developing me during that time into the player and the person I am today. It’s a dream come true to sign a new five-year contract. I’m really happy the club have shown this faith in me and I’m just excited to carry on.”

Tomori is a full England international after loan stints with Brighton and Hove Albion, Hull City, and Derby County. The latter stop found him under Frank Lampard, and certainly didn’t hurt his opportunity to shine when both arrived at Chelsea this season.

Chelsea has four strong, young center backs in Tomori, Kurt Zouma (25), Andreas Christensen (23), and Antonio Rudiger (26). Christensen and Rudiger are signed through the 2021/22 season, while Zouma’s deal goes one season longer than the duo.

Fired up Everton shock Chelsea

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Everton beat Chelsea 3-1 at Goodison Park on Saturday as the Toffees reacted superbly to manager Marco Silva being fired in midweek.

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Goals early in each half from Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin set them on their way to a massive three points for Everton as Chelsea wasted several glorious chances. Mateo Kovacic grabbed their lone goal to make it interesting, but Calvert-Lewin scored late on amid glorious celebrations from caretaker boss, and former Everton star striker, Duncan Fergsuon.

With the win Everton momentarily move out of the bottom three and have 17 points, while Chelsea lost for the second time in the last three PL games and remain in fourth but may only be three points clear of fifth-place a the end of the weekend.


3 things we learned

1. Ferguson’s bravery pays off: As a player Duncan Ferguson was totally committed and Everton’s caretaker boss received a performance from his players which would have made him proud. He set Everton up in an aggressive 4-4-2 formation with plenty of attacking talents and it worked. Chelsea couldn’t get out of their own half early in each half, and strong, committed defending rattled the Blues. Everton showed signs that Ferguson may be the man they’ve been looking for. He certainly fired up their talented but recently lackluster squad.

2. Clean sheets biggest issue for Chelsea: Four clean sheets in 24 games in all competitions this season isn’t good enough for a team which wants to finish in the top four. Frank Lampard had a face like thunder when Everton went 2-0 up as Chelsea were their own worst enemies time and time again. No team in the PL’s top 10 have conceded more goals than Chelsea so far this season. Tomori and Rudiger were missed as Christensen and Zouma were bullied by Everton’s attack. It’s a familiar story for Chelsea.

3. Physicality too much for Pulisic: He’s had an incredible few months for Chelsea but Pulisic was clearly targeted by the Everton defense on Saturday. The USMNT winger was clattered time and time again and was left on the floor on many occasions. He battled hard but was given no time or space on the ball. He will now be receiving special treatment like this every time he steps on the pitch in the PL.

Man of the Match: Dominic Calvert-Lewin – A real handful for the Chelsea defense as he battered them and scored twice. Led the line superbly and imitated what Duncan Fergsuon used to do. Chelsea’s Mateo Kovacic scored a really good goal and ran the show in central midfield and he didn’t deserve to be on the losing team, but this was DLC’s day.


The Toffees got off to a perfect start as Richarlison scored with the first meaningful effort of the game.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin set up the move and ball was pushed to the right where Djibril Sidibe crossed for Richarlison to head home. Goodison went wild as Big Duncan Ferguson galloped down the touchline in celebration.

The Toffees almost doubled their lead as Theo Walcott crossed for Richarlison but the Brazilian couldn’t quite get on the end of it. Soon after Calvert-Lewin had a great chance but he never looked confident as Kepa saved it.

Chelsea were almost handed a way back into the game as Michael Keane gave the ball away inside his own box but Tammy Abraham and Willian failed to make the most of a glorious opportunity.

Pulisic then nutmegged Gylfi Sigurdsson to set up Willian who crossed for Abraham but Chelsea’s leading goalscorer couldn’t convert as the visitors finally woke up with Mason Mount crossing moments later but Abraham couldn’t get on the end of it. Mason Holgate then blocked Mount’s shot as Everton battened down the hatches.

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The second half continued at the same incredible tempo as Everton doubled their lead within a few minutes after having a couple of chances. Kurt Zouma‘s clearance caused havoc in his own box and Calvert-Lewin won the ball back and slotted home. Pandemonium at Goodison as VAR checked and confirmed there was no handball by DLC.

Moments later Everton almost made it 3-0 but Richarlison’s effort was saved by Kepa, and then Chelsea were back in it.

Azpilicueta’s run into the box saw the ball eventually find Kovacic on the edge of the box and his shot towards goal went in. VAR checked that Abraham hadn’t interfered from an offside position and he goal stood.

The chances kept coming for both teams as Everton were eager to put the game to bed as Walcott raced clear but Kepa saved at the near post.

Chelsea looked in control as the final moments arrived as the excellent Kovacic ran at goal but smashed just wide and then Mount blazed a great opportunity high and wide after Kovacic again pulled the strings.

Substitute Tom Davies got his header all wrong as Everton tried to wrap up the victory, with Jordan Pickford brilliantly denying Azpilicueta at the other end.

Calvert-Lewin then bundled home as Ferguson ran down the sidelines amid jubilant scenes as an Everton hero secured a massive win on his managerial debut.

Chelsea transfer ban reduced after appeal

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Chelsea will be able to sign new players in January after their transfer ban from FIFA was reduced to one transfer window after their appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) was successful.

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The Blues had previously been banned for two transfer windows, summer 2019 and winter 2020, for 150 rule breaches involving 69 academy players over a period of several years, but they will now be able to sign new players from Jan. 1 when the next transfer window opens.

Despite having the ban reduced, Chelsea are far from happy with world soccer’s governing body as they released a scathing statement slamming FIFA’s handling of the situation.

“The approach taken by FIFA to this case has been deeply unsatisfactory, not least as FIFA chose to treat Chelsea entirely differently to Manchester City for reasons that make absolutely no sense to Chelsea. We respect the importance of the work undertaken by FIFA in relation to the protection of minors and has fully cooperated with FIFA throughout its investigation. However, if FIFA continues to impose inconsistent and unequal sanctions on clubs then it will not only undermine the very purpose of the regulations, but it will also bring into doubt the game’s confidence in FIFA being able to appropriately regulate this important area.”

They went on to add a bit more detail about why they were so angry at being banned from signing new players for one window.

“FIFA accused Chelsea of having breached Article 19 of the FIFA regulations in relation to 27 players, covering the period from 2009 onwards. Of those, 16 players were registered by Chelsea in exactly the same way as other Premier League clubs registered players at the time. Furthermore, Chelsea sought clarification from the Premier League in 2009 about whether it needed to apply for permission to register players in this category. The FA subsequently liaised with FIFA and it was confirmed to Chelsea that players in this category were entitled to register and that no special application was required (and in fact no special application process existed). Accordingly, the fact that FIFA brought charges against Chelsea for this category of player was perverse. We are grateful that this appears to have been corrected by the CAS.”

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard was obviously delighted with the outcome, as he can now reinforce his young squad and has plenty of cash in the bank after a no-spend summer (the deal for Christian Pulisic was sealed last January and Mateo Kovacic arrived permanently after his loan move saw a clause triggered which made it a permanent move).

“It’s a positive outcome for us,” Lampard said. “It allows us the potential to look at the market going forward. So I’m pleased from a footballing level. It was never my business to get involved in the reasons why or the legal side of it.”

Which areas should Chelsea strengthen in now they can buy again? And which players will be their top targets?

It is clear that left back is an area where Lampard will want to add a new starter as both Marcos Alonso and Emerson Palmeri are fine as back ups neither have made the position their own this season. Up top is another key location where Lampard will look to strengthen as Olivier Giroud seems to be on his way out of Stamford Bridge and that would leave just Tammy Abraham and Michy Batshuayi as the options at center forward.

Elsewhere, Chelsea look pretty set, although a new center back could be handy but isn’t necessary given the fact that Kurt Zouma and Fikayo Tomori have both been superb for most of this season and Andreas Christensen is also around with Cesar Azpilicueta also able to slot in at center back with Reece James developing well at right back.

After 12 months without spending and having transfer fees from the sale of Eden Hazard, David Luiz and Tomas Kalas and many other fringe players which brought in an incredible $180 million, Lampard will have money to spend.

Chelsea have been linked with moves for Jadon Sancho, Wilfried Zaha, Nathan Ake and Ben Chilwell, among many others, as plenty of star players will fancy a move to Stamford Bridge given Lampard’s promising start to life as their manager.

The big question now is: Given Chelsea’s great start to the season as they sit in the top four with their young team progressing together as a group, do they risk bringing in new additions to potential upset the team spirit? Is it better to wait until the summer when the likes of Pedro and Giroud, and maybe Willian, could all leave Stamford Bridge?