With increasing reports of Chelsea legend Frank Lampard returning to The Bridge, fans are rejuvenated by the prospect of what is to come for the next season. Some have set their expectations towards silverware whereas others feel a top 4 finish would be too much to ask. Either way, Lampard definitely has a myriad of problems he must tackle once at the helm. Lets look closely at what he can expect from the current composition of Chelsea’s squad.
Callum Hudson Odoi, Ruben Loftus Cheek, Kurt Zouma, Reece James, Mason Mount. The list goes on and on. Lampard will have a plethora of hungry youngsters at his disposal. Given that we are also competing in Champions League next season, the need to rotate and nurture these young players to starters becomes ever present. Thankfully, many of these names have the talent to compete regularly with senior players. It is doubtful that Lampard starts youth from day one but they will surely be in his plans for the latter half of the season. They can also help if any senior names suffer injuries. Having such a broad range of choice will surely bode well for Lampard, but the importance of playing these youths extends further than his debut season. Lampard could effectively build a squad that has starters all under 30 years old, providing him with a solid base to work off for years to come. This may be a long term project but if approached appropriately it can help Chelsea compete for trophies on all fronts regularly. Starting youth and trusting experienced players is an extremely difficult balance to get right, hence it will be one of the bigger challenges Lampard faces. However, there are more positives than negatives in that regard.
It is arguable that every tactic depends heavily on how its midfield operates. Lampard is still relatively new to his managing journey and hence does not have an established tactic yet. Next season, Lampard will have a range of players to pick and experiment with. Bakayoko, Kante, Mount, Ruben, Barkley, Jorginho and Drinkwater make up a versatile set of midfielders that can effectively implement any tactic Lampard decides to settle with. Lampard has the freedom to try out different formations and instructions on his midfield and see how the rest of the players respond to it. It also gives him tactical flexibility when facing situations like being 1-0 down or 4-0 up. This may mean undesirable fixtures early on in his tenure but the defeats will also give Lampard more to work with. The key would be to make every player feel valued. Referring back to the demanding fixtures Chelsea will face, it will be important for Frank to keep each midfielder active and involved.
The transfer ban brings a lot of disadvantages for Chelsea, however there is a silver lining. Now that Chelsea will be reliant on their loan army, every player will have to work twice as hard to retain their respective positions. When such a competitive nature is created, Lampard can find it much easier to motivate and push his players. It also gives hope to others who may be loaned again later this summer. To see players who have gone through similar fates now start for Chelsea helps boost their determination. All this can contribute to the team mentality too. It can help Chelsea inspire comebacks and dominant performances in the most unlikely situations.
With the departure of Chelsea’s key man Eden Hazard, the rest of the team no longer has a safety net around them. They now know that they need to step up and do their jobs better. Although this may seem daunting to some, others may see it as an opportunity. Chelsea currently do not have a poster boy, or ‘hero’ in their ranks. They do not have a game changing player on the level Eden Hazard was. Whoever manages to step up and preform better than his teammates can carry stardom into his future games. The absence of Eden also encourages the team to depend on other teammates more. This again allows Lampard with more flexibility in tactics and formation. Things no longer have to be built in support of Eden’s technical ability. Players like Barkley will be further encouraged to showcase their talents and be more creative. All of this can lead to great perks for Lampard in the coming season.
A Tactically Adept Team
Sarri, Conte and Mourinho have all managed many of the names our current squad has. This means that these players have all gone through specific tactics and developed skills to satisfy those roles. The main thing Lampard can enjoy is a team that is comfortable on the ball. The team likes to keep possession, pass around the opposition and find opportunities to create goals. He also can expect a well passing team. Sarri’s fundamentals included each player to have a good understand of how and where to pass. This means Lampard can use those learnt fundamentals and include them as part of his future plans. Along with that, this team knows how to pressure opposition into making mistakes. Sarri liked to put pressure the moment Chelsea lost the ball but Frank could use this in other situations. He also has a team that is position-disciplined. Thanks to Conte’s work, this team knows the importance of being in the right places and sticking to the managers instructions. There are also players that can create individual brilliance. This can also be another aspect Lampard can incorporate into his tactics. Overall, this squad can be well tailored to what Lampard needs as the basics of common tactics are well drilled into most of the squad players.