Frank Lampard’s second season as a football manager has seen him return to the club which saw him become one of the best players to grace the Premier League. Maurizio Sarri was able to deliver the Europa League last campaign, but the fans failed to buy into his overall philosophy, leading to a lot of dissatisfaction circling around the club.
There’s a lot of expectation around Stamford Bridge with the return of Lampard, but with Chelsea under a transfer embargo, it could be a tough first season in charge for Lampard. To make matters worse, they will have to tackle next season without their star player, Eden Hazard, who chose to move to Real Madrid this summer.
Manchester City and Liverpool look likely to battle it out to win the Premier League title once more, which only leaves two places left for a Champions League spot. With Manchester United, Spurs and Arsenal all strengthening, Lampard will have his work cut out to make sure his side finish in the top four. The 4-0 loss to major rivals United in his first game in charge will have done little to ease the pressure.
Manchester United have brought in Leicester City’s Harry Maguire, after a strong World Cup and Premier League campaign. Harry Maguire was on the radar for a few high profile clubs after the World Cup last campaign, but it was Manchester United who managed to sign the center-back one year on. Even outside of the major teams in the Premier League, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Everton and Leicester City have added some serious quality to their respective squads, so they will be looking to close the gap if anyone slips up.
Despite the negativity, Lampard has a lot of quality within his squad already and has brought in a few players who struggled to make much of an impact under former manager Sarri. Ross Barkley, for example, has featured throughout Chelsea’s pre-season, impressing both the new boss and fans alike.
If Barkley can become a key figure at Chelsea while they are unable to bring anyone into the club, he could be not just a leading figure for his club, but also for Gareth Southgate, as England look to qualify for Euro 2020. International football betting suggests England are second-favourites to win the Euros as they aim to build on impressive finishes at the World Cup and in the Nations League, and Ross Barkley will be looking to be a key player for Southgate’s side.
Chelsea have a number of talented English youngsters hoping to stake a claim in the England squad such as Callum Hudson-Odoi, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Tammy Abraham among others as Chelsea finally aim to make use of their world-class academy. However, Lampard has his work cut out to make Chelsea a Champions League side come May next year. In only his second season in charge as a manager, he will need the help and support from the club’s hierarchy to make sure a long term plan is in place, and that he is given time to succeed.
There is a real possibility that Chelsea will miss out on the Champions League spot and fall behind, simply due to the club’s around them continuing to spend money and add quality to their sides. Lampard clearly could not say no the job, but he may have joined at a very challenging time in the club’s recent history.