New signings, Same Story: Chelsea’s Title Challenge Already Over Despite £220m Upgrade

After three losses out of four, the big spenders have slid down the Premier League table, and Frank Lampard can now be asked questions

After leaving behind a difficult week with the victory over West Ham last Saturday, Chelsea arrived at Arsenal and many expected that the Blues would surpass the Gunners fighters and put even more pressure on Mikel Arteta.

But after the home team’s 3-1 win on Boxing Day at Emirates Stadium, it is now Frank Lampard who faces increasing scrutiny, with Chelsea’s title challenge in real danger of ending before he even had. a chance to get going.

The loss to Arsenal is never accepted by Chelsea supporters, but the form of the loss against a team that started in 15th place, had not won a league game since November 1 and had three players withdrawing late. for reasons related to illness will have been the most frustrating.

It’s now three Premier League losses in four for Lampard’s side, who have yet to beat a ‘Big Six’ club this season, while the aforementioned win over West Ham remains the only time they’ve beaten a team of the upper half.

Even that victory came through a performance that failed to inspire, which, from a team that poured 220 million pounds ($ 275 million) into her over the summer, is quite concerning.

“There can be no lack of energy and desire in the Premier League and we did it,” said Lampard. BBC Sport after watching his team put on a lethargic display in North London.

“You can prepare as well as you want, but if you show up like that, it’s something else. It is in the mind.

“If you perform below average, things go against you like [Bukayo] Gol Saka. This is life.”

The former Derby County boss admitted earlier in the season that expectations had been raised, but he has always insisted that his new squad comprised of expensive signings, academy graduates and the occasional seasoned director should not yet be considered among the contenders for this. league title of the season.

Anyway, a club that was able to sign players like Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Ben Chilwell, Hakim Ziyech and Thiago Silva while the rest of Europe cut the cloth according to the economic difficulties caused by the pandemic should not be six points from the league leaders after just 15 games.

Liverpool could stretch that gap to nine points with a relegation-threatened win over West Brom on Sunday, with Chelsea already four points worse at this stage of the campaign compared to Lampard’s first season in charge.

“Teams that win, win, win relentlessly did not win two or three years ago,” insisted Lampard. “We have not arrived yet, that is clear. I felt it when we’re on our long undefeated streak and I feel it now. Today we were very wrong “.

Lampard now faces home games against Aston Villa and Manchester City in form on both sides of New Years Day with a team desperately in need of revitalization after a fortnight of punishment.

Timo Werner has failed to score in any of his last 10 games for a club or country, his longest streak since he was a Stuttgart player in 2016, and was eliminated at halftime against Arsenal.

His compatriot Kai Havertz has already been knocked out of the starting eleven, and Lampard may now have to make a similar decision with his other great German signing if his form does not improve.

Hakim Ziyech has shone but his progress has been stalled twice by injury, while mistakes have also started to show in the games of Thiago Silva and Edouard Mendy after strong starts to life at Stamford Bridge.

Lampard remains a fan favorite for his exploits as a player, but many fans will start to question his coaching credentials if those poor results continue for the next few days.

The former England international only has 18 months left on his contract in West London, and while he previously admitted that he is open to renewing that deal, there is likely to be increased caution on the part of the club if Lampard’s players do not begin to reflect. . the money that was spent on the equipment.

A punishment loss at Arsenal doesn’t always spell disaster for a Chelsea manager. Antonio Conte followed a 3-0 loss at Emirates Stadium in 2016 with a 13-win streak that laid the foundation for a title-winning campaign.

Lampard will need a similar sequence now to pressure Liverpool and any other club that threatens a prolonged challenge in the months ahead.

However, if things move in the opposite direction, the pressure in the capital may shift from Arteta to his opposite number from Saturday’s clash.

source: – target