As we head into the matchday four of the Premier League and what is expected to be a very exciting season for Chelsea, it is now also time to set some realistic goals that we should expect this Chelsea team with club legend, Frank Lampard at the helm to achieve.
The transfer window thus far has shown that Roman has backed Lampard and Cech completely and believes that this duo can take this team back to the glory days with English and European success. We too as fans (at least most of them) are excited and believe this team with this management can achieve the success we crave. But, Frank Lampard did say that the rebuild will be slow and will need at least 2 years. So, how excited should we be? And how much should we expect? Let’s find out.
Chelsea are going to be a very exciting team to watch in the Premier League with a plethora of explosive attacking options in Pulisic, Tammy Abraham, Olivier Giroud, CHO, Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech, Kai Havertz threatening to leave any defence that comes in their way in tatters. But, last season showed us that the space between second place and third is not small. Chelsea have tried fitting in 3 transfer windows in one but it still is not going to be easy. It will take time to adjust and like salty Klopp pointed out in his recent interview, Liverpool and City will possess the advantage of having already worked with their present squads for a long time. So, Chelsea’s rebuild has started and we will be a force to reckon with, but placing above City or Liverpool will be hard. So, I think a better way to judge growth would be how much of the difference between the top 2 and us can be reduced. Manchester United are also in the midst of a rebuild and if the rumoured transfer of Jadon Sancho does happen then they will be a serious contender for 3rd place. Arsenal on the other hand are looking upbeat and Arteta looks like he’s bringing in some excitement and belief in the squad. Let’s hope the annual drop in form takes place in December and Arsenal settle for 5th place.
All in all Chelsea have a squad that on paper can challenge for the title, but the tried and tested might of City and Liverpool and time needed to adjust and sync with the new squad, would mean that top 2 places are out of our reach just yet. Manchester United and Chelsea look most likely to fight once again for the next two CL spots and with the greatest Premier League midfielder at the helm at our club I think we can edge past United for third place. Frank has got the team he wants, but he also did ask for two years. After achieving more than what we expected in his first season we should afford him that time too. Expecting a 3rd place finish with significant reduction in the difference between us and 2nd place to less than 9 points would be a realistic expectation for Frank’s Blues for the 2020-21 season.
Expectation: 3rd place, less than 9 points difference between 2nd and 3rd.
After our Carabao Cup exit on Tuesday, featuring a penalty shootout against Spurs, Chelsea now only have the FA Cup to fight for this season. Cups are a great way to stay relevant if you’re Arsenal, but it also does help boost morale and gives an opportunity for some players to go and perform and fight their way into the first team. As Cups are one off matches they sometimes cannot be predicted, but more often than not finalists are top Premier League clubs. Chelsea with a very deep squad for the first time in a long time that we might even have two first team keepers should be expected to do well in these games. Lampard has shown that on his day he can take on and win against the best managers and now with an even more powerful team we should expect to win at least one cup trophy. Lampard should be fuming about missing out on the Super Cup and the FA Cup in the finals last season. Anything similar would undoubtedly attach the nickname, bottler with his name. The players and Frank should be determined to bring home the FA Cup to a club that has now spent an entire season without a trophy which is very un-Chelsea-like.
Expectation: One club trophy at least.
Frank Lampard secured a Champions League place in his first season which will mean that Chelsea will battle it out against Europe’s elite in the quest to win club football’s biggest prize in 2020-21. Last season’s CL experience was a learning curve for many of our players and we should expect them to bounce back with intent along with our new signings for many of whom playing CL football for a club like Chelsea will be a dream come true. We must expect a good run in this competition as our team definitely has the potential to give top European teams a run for their money. But, the same reasons used for the Premier League is relevant here too. The gap between top European teams such as Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, PSG and even Premier League’s City and Liverpool is big and will take time to close. Plus, we cannot take for granted that many of the players we have brought in are all expected first team players and that means it will take time for them to gel and sync. This season can be a good chance for us to measure what we are capable of against top European teams, but in terms of challenging for the trophy itself, it would be wise to hold off till at least next season. But we should at least expect a better run than last year and we do have some match winners in our squad who become extremely important in competitions such as the CL. So, all things considered a run till the last 8 of the Champions League should be a reasonable expectation for Frank Lampard and Chelsea for the 2020-21 season. Now that we have discovered our group for the upcoming competition, this seems possible.
Expectation: Last 8
With the Team
Last season Frank Lampard’s Chelsea went past expectations but the team was riddled with a few problems. These problems have potential to be solved this season.
The defence was one of our biggest problems last season from the very beginning as we only got our first clean sheet in our 10th game in all competitions against our game week 1 opponents this season, Brighton and Hove Albion. Frank Lampard got his wish with Ben Chilwell signing for Chelsea this window. He also got a leading voice in Thiago Silva who led PSG to their first ever Champions League final a few weeks back. Talks about Declan Rice signing for Chelsea are not reducing and the signing of goalkeeper Edouard Mendy will also help in this department. With this upgraded defence, one half of the problem looks set to be solved. It was pretty clear last season that strategies and training also needed to be rethought for our defence to improve. Frank Lampard should be expected to step up training from a defence point of view and use his present defensive options in the best way possible to solve the defence problem that plagued us last season.
Frank Lampard has shown his ability to adapt his style of play as per the opponent. Unlike his predecessors, Sarri and Conte, Lampard does not have one style he stands by. But we did see that he likes to play fast, attacking football when given the choice. Due to our defensive vulnerabilities and inconsistent attack he had to sometimes turn to a more conservative approach against top teams. With the new signings he has got and is expected to get before the deadline we can assume that he now has the resources to play more fast, attacking football against most opponents. Even if not in all games this season could be the start of building up a very exciting play style that can dominate the league for years to come.
Frank’s predecessors, Conte and Sarri, spoke about how it is hard to motivate the Chelsea team. Frank himself also admitted last season that motivation has been a problem. With some top-notch signings who come with high ambitions, motivation can be something that can be better treated this season. Thiago Silva will give Lampard a voice of motivation and strength in the dressing room, which can help bring that winning mentality to this still relatively young squad. With the backing that the owner and the fans have put in the team, motivation should be high to repay the trust and belief of Roman and the Chelsea faithful.
Expectation: Chelsea should become defensively strong and play with an aesthetic fast attacking style of play in most games and should show that they are a highly motivated side in search of every trophy available to them.
These are the realistic expectations we can have as we get ourselves ready for one more emotional, drama filled, highly entertaining season of being a Chelsea fan. There are still many reasons to be excited and Chelsea have more often than not defied expectations and we can only hope that this season is the same.