EPL

Lampard's Chelsea in-tray: Rediscover scoring touch, revitalise Mount and vanquish Real Madrid

By Sports Desk April 06, 2023

Frank Lampard is back at Chelsea.

The club's record goalscorer and former boss has taken on an interim position in the dugout until the end of the season, when Chelsea will bring in their long-term choice.

Of course, should Lampard do well enough, he could put his own name into consideration, but either way he still has plenty to do over the next two months.

Graham Potter was hired to give the team an identity, but Lampard will have no such responsibility given his short-term deal and the fact that someone like Julian Nagelsmann or Luis Enrique would bring their own ideas should they ultimately be hired ahead of next season.

Lampard was sacked by Chelsea in January 2021, before suffering the same demise at Everton two years later, but his continued legendary status at Stamford Bridge has secured him another lucrative opportunity to lead them.

Stats Perform has taken a look at five areas where the former West Ham and Manchester City midfielder will need to thrive to improve the club, as well as his own chances of finding a long-term gig beyond this one.


Find a way to score goals again

To say that Chelsea have been goal-shy this season is somewhat of an understatement.

Following their 0-0 draw with Liverpool on Tuesday, the Blues have scored 29 goals in 29 Premier League games this season, only ever netting fewer at this stage of a league campaign twice before (23 in 1921-22 and 16 in 1923-24).

During his 57 Premier League games in charge of Chelsea between August 2019 and January 2021, Lampard's team scored 102 goals.

They also had a shot conversion rate of 11.5 per cent, compared to their remarkably profligate 7.9 per cent this season.

Potter's issue was that he generally played without a striker and his midfielder's didn't score enough. If there is anyone who can teach midfielders to score goals, you would think it's Lampard, who hit 211 of his own during his playing days at Chelsea.

Get the old Mount back

It appears to be a widely held belief that Mason Mount enjoyed the best spell of his Chelsea career under Lampard.

He actually produced more under Thomas Tuchel, with 38 goal involvements (19 goals, 19 assists) in 86 games, compared to his 21 (11 goals, 10 assists) in 80 games under Lampard.

Mount was given his initial opportunity by Lampard though, and certainly developed and learned impressively in the first season and a half of his time in the Chelsea first-team.

The England international has struggled this season though, with just three goals and three assists from 32 games, and he has even been strongly linked with a move to Liverpool or Manchester United with his contract situation still up in the air.

If he can get his groove back at Stamford Bridge under Lampard though, maybe it can lead to a renaissance for Mount at the club.

Qualify for Europe

With nine games remaining in the Premier League, Chelsea sit in 11th place, five points behind seventh place Aston Villa, and 14 off the top four, meaning they are closer to the relegation zone (12 points) than Champions League qualification.

The table has been a strange place this season, so it is not beyond the realms of possibility that a few wins can catapult a team up several places.

While a top four finish is almost certainly beyond them, Chelsea could still at least keep themselves in European competition with a few victories.

Europa League successes in 2013 and 2019 laid foundations for bigger achievements, and in a season that has seen so few positives on the pitch, it would be a notable tick in the box should Lampard secure a place in Europe.

Overcome a familiar face

While they probably won't be in the competition next season, Chelsea remain in this season's Champions League, though with a daunting quarter-final against defending champions Real Madrid on the horizon.

The first leg at the Santiago Bernabeu will be Lampard's second game in charge, and Chelsea gave Los Blancos quite a scare when they went 3-0 up there in last season's final eight second leg.

Madrid ultimately won on aggregate after extra-time, but really struggled to deal with the Blues' approach, albeit with the tactical acumen of Tuchel directing them.

Lampard played under Carlo Ancelotti at Chelsea, and so could perhaps have one or two insights into how to get the better of him.

He might not be feeling too confident after seeing what Madrid recently did to Liverpool and Barcelona, though.

Set the table for successor

It might not be what Lampard envisioned his role at Chelsea ultimately being when he was initially hired in 2019, but the opportunity to help the club in the interim also means preparing the team for the next boss, whoever that may be.

As mentioned, he could even fancy himself to convince Todd Boehly to give him a longer chance, but either way, he will be tasked with making sure the team goes into next season with more optimism than they have now.

With so many new arrivals in the last two transfer windows, giving Enzo Fernandez, Mykhailo Mudryk and Noni Madueke more chances to shine will be key, while Joao Felix could learn plenty from him should he eventually make his loan move from Atletico Madrid permanent.

At the very least, it is likely having Lampard back at the helm will appease the fans, and having a better atmosphere will hopefully be a springboard for anyone to hit the ground running next season, when significant improvement will be an absolute must.

Related items

  • United States 2-0 Bolivia: Pulisic powers hosts to convincing win in Copa America opener United States 2-0 Bolivia: Pulisic powers hosts to convincing win in Copa America opener

    Christian Pulisic stole the show with an eye-catching strike and another assist as the United States opened their Copa America campaign with a 2-0 triumph over Bolivia on Sunday.

    Gregg Berhalter's side never appeared troubled in a routine victory at AT&T Stadium in Texas, thanks to the solo endeavours of captain Pulisic in their Group C opener.

    The Milan forward needed just three minutes to curl in a sublime opener before teeing up Folarin Balogun – who another strike ruled out after the interval – just moments before the break in a one-sided first half.

    Bolivia rarely seemed likely to forge a comeback as the USA managed a winning start to a Copa campaign for the first time since the 1995 edition when they defeated Chile 2-1 in Uruguay.

    Antonio Carlos Zago's side did not heed an early warning when goalkeeper Guillermo Viscarra was forced to rush out and clear in front of Balogun.

    Bolivia were caught napping just minutes later as Timothy Weah worked a short corner with Pulisic, who coasted inside before curling into the top-right corner from an acute angle on the left-hand side of the area.

    Weah – son of legendary forward George – was denied from point-blank range as the USA almost doubled their lead immediately.

    Yet Berhalter's host nation would soon add to their advantage in Arlington.

    Pulisic was afforded the freedom of midfield yet again, dropping into space before offloading for Balogun to cannon a left-footed drive into the bottom-right corner.

    That smart 44th-minute finish marked Balogun's first-ever goal at this tournament and the Monaco striker found the back of the net for a second time after the interval, only for his celebrations to be cut short.

    His routine tap-in from inside the six-yard area was ruled out for offside as Weah had rushed forward to capitalise on Weston McKennie's pass before sliding across for his attacking partner.

    Viscarra was equal to Pulisic's effort before the hour as the forward attempt to recreate his early heroics, while substitute Ricardo Pepi prodded wide from Antonee Robinson's pinpoint left-wing delivery.

    Pepi was denied by fine Viscarra reflexes late on as the USA coasted to an opening victory before their next meeting with Panama on Thursday, a day before Bolivia face Uruguay.

    Pulisic stars in rare USA win

    Pulisic was tipped by many as the USA player to keep an eye on at the Copa America, and the Milan man delivered in emphatic fashion in this opener.

    Fresh off the back of scoring 15 goals across all competitions for the Serie A giants, Pulisic's opening strike had an expected goals (xG) tally of just 0.037 – yet that was no problem for the USA captain.

    His headline-worthy effort halted a woeful run for the USA against CONMEBOL sides at this tournament as well given Berhalter's side had previously lost eight of 10 such games.

    Victory also marked the USA's first Copa triumph over Bolivia in just their second attempt, avenging for a 1-0 defeat way back in 1995 when Marco Etcheverry scored the winner.

    Bolivia wait goes on

    Bolivia were seeking a win against a CONCACAF opponent in Copa action for the first time since the 1997 edition.

    They defeated Mexico 3-1 in the semi-finals of the tournament they hosted 27 years ago, though a wait for another such victory must continue after a drab showing in Texas.

    Carlos Zago won this competition as a player with Brazil in 1999 but his side have a long way to go if they are to even escape their group in the USA.

    Bolivia have now lost their last four international outings by a concerning margin of 9-1, having suffered defeats against Mexico, Ecuador, Colombia and the USA.

  • Euro 2024 Data Dive: Late goals and broken records tee up dramatic finish to Group A Euro 2024 Data Dive: Late goals and broken records tee up dramatic finish to Group A

    Sunday's action at Euro 2024 saw the conclusion of Group A, with late drama ensuring a last-gasp shake up to the standings.

    Germany looked sure to be on the end of a shock defeat to Switzerland until substitute Niclas Fullkrug stepped up to make it 1-1 in stoppage time and send the hosts through as group winners.

    Meanwhile, Scotland crashed out of the tournament without a win after conceding the latest goal ever scored at the Euros, with Hungary keeping their hopes of knockout football alive with their 1-0 victory.

    Here, we run through all the best Opta stats to emerge from the day's matches.

    Switzerland 1-1 Germany: Neuer makes history, but Fullkrug grabs headlines

    Having already qualified for the last 16, the hosts left it late to seal top spot in the group, needing Fullkrug to make a much-needed impact off the bench in Frankfurt.

    Dan Ndoye had given Switzerland a first-half lead with his maiden international goal to become the nation's second-youngest goalscorer at the Euros (aged 23 years 242 days), but Switzerland could not hold on.

    Manuel Neuer was left helpless against the forward's first-time finish on his 18th appearance at the European Championships, the most among goalkeepers at the tournament (overtaking Gianluigi Buffon – 17). At major tournaments, only Cristiano Ronaldo (45) has played in more games than the Bayern Munich stopper (37).

    Julian Nagelsmann named the same starting XI for three consecutive games, the first time Germany have done so in the competition's history, though it looked like tiredness was starting to take its toll as they struggled to break down their opponents.

    Toni Kroos finished the game with a passing accuracy of 92.5%, only averaging lower than that in one game for Real Madrid in 2023-24), but also equalled a record in the late drama.

    Having completed 323 passes so far at Euro 2024, Kroos has made the joint-most on record (since 1980) by a player in the group stage since himself at Euro 2016 (also 323).

    Germany eventually had 18 shots, with Fullkrug picking out the top corner with the final one; the striker has scored 13 goals in just 19 international appearances, while his four as a substitute at major tournaments are more than any other European player.

    Despite ultimately losing out on top spot, Switzerland have now gone unbeaten in their last four games against Die Mannschaft (W1 D3), with no nation currently enjoying a longer unbeaten streak against Germany (England and Spain both have ongoing runs of four).

    Scotland 0-1 Hungary: Csoboth breaks Tartan Army's hearts

    Meanwhile in Stuttgart, it was Hungary celebrating a late strike to seal a 1-0 victory that ensured an early exit for Scotland as they chased what would have been a landmark win.

    Kevin Csoboth cemented his place in European Championship history with his counter-attacking finish as he netted the latest goal ever scored in the tournament's history (excluding extra time), timed at 99 minutes and 32 seconds.

    Despite needing a win to finish third, Scotland failed to have a single shot on target in the game. In total, the Tartan Army had just 17 shots at Euro 2024 – since the group stage was introduced in 1980, it is the joint-fewest by a national team, along with Northern Ireland at Euro 2016.

    Indeed, only twice at Euro 2024 has a team failed to manage a shot on target in the first half of a match and both have been Scotland (also on MD 1 against Germany).

    Scotland pushed numbers forward for their last-minute corner with the hopes of reaching the knockout stage of the Euros for the first time, but instead will leave a major tournament group stage without a win for the sixth time (1954, 1958, 1986 and 1998 World Cups and Euro 2020 and 2024).

    While looking down and out after failing to win either of their opening games, Hungary finally ended a run of eight games in the competition without a win, registering their first victory since beating Austria 2-0 at Euro 2016 – this was also their first clean sheet since that win.

  • Switzerland 1-1 Germany: Late Fullkrug leveller secures Group A top spot for hosts Switzerland 1-1 Germany: Late Fullkrug leveller secures Group A top spot for hosts

    Niclas Fullkrug proved the last-gasp hero as Germany avoided a shock upset to top Group A at Euro 2024 after snatching a 1-1 draw with Switzerland on Sunday.

    Dan Ndoye's first international goal seemed set to seal a famous win for Switzerland and ensure them top spot in Group A, but Germany's towering substitute stepped up in the dying seconds in Frankfurt.

    Ruben Vargas thought he had doubled Switzerland's advantage late on, only to be denied by the offside flag, and that decision proved pivotal when Fullkrug headed in his 92nd-minute leveller.

    That late intervention ensured Germany finished top of the group and will face second place in Group D in the last 16, while Switzerland's top-two finish sets up a meeting with the runners-up of Group B.

    The host nation started brightly once again and thought they had taken another early lead when Florian Wirtz teed up Robert Andrich, who squeezed his shot past Yann Sommer into the near post.

    However, the Bayer Leverkusen midfielder was denied his first international goal after a VAR check as Jamal Musiala was deemed to have fouled Michel Aebischer in the box during the build-up.

    Nagelsmann's team instead found themselves behind for the first time in the tournament just before the half-hour mark after Ndoye crashed Remo Freuler's whipped cross past the helpless Manuel Neuer.

    Just moments later, Ndoye offered Germany another scare, racing past Antonio Rudiger before fizzing an angled shot just wide of the far post. 

    Nagelsmann's half-time message was clear as Musiala looked to make it three goals in three games with a powerful hit from the edge of the box, but Sommer was equal to the attempt.

    Toni Kroos drilled a low shot wide under pressure before Kai Havertz glanced a header over the bar as Germany failed to find their clinical edge.

    Joshua Kimmich had the best chance to equalise from close range in the 71st minute, but an incredible last-ditch block by Manuel Akanji denied him.

    Vargas was left one-on-one with Neuer shortly after and slotted into the far corner, but the assistant referee was quick to flag for offside as Switzerland celebrations were short-lived.

    Havertz's looping header bounced off the crossbar as Germany sought a response, which arrived when Fullkrug made his impact off the bench, thumping a header home from David Raum's left-sided delivery.

    Neuer's record-breaking day salvaged by Fullkrug

    Neuer had already made history in their opening game at Euro 2024 as he became Germany's outright top appearance maker at major tournaments, surpassing Philipp Lahm.

    Now, on his 37th start for his country, only Cristiano Ronaldo (45) has played more games across the Euros and World Cup than him, while he has also made the most appearances among goalkeepers in the history of the competition (18, moving ahead of Gianluigi Buffon).

    The 38-year-old could not mark a special day with a win, though, as Germany's long wait for a comeback victory when trailing at half-time stretched to 11 matches in the competition (D2 L9).

    Their last such win came at Euro 1976 against Yugoslavia (2-0 down at half-time, won 4-2), but Neuer and Co. can at least celebrate top spot after late drama in Frankfurt.

    Ndoye steps into the spotlight

    Xherdan Shaqiri grabbed the headlines in Switzerland's 1-1 draw with Scotland last time out after scoring in a sixth consecutive major tournament, but with him on the bench on Sunday, the Red Crosses needed others to step up.

    In his 14th start for the national side, Ndoye netted for the first time, becoming Switzerland's second-youngest goalscorer in the history of the Euros at 23 years and 242 days, after Johan Vonlanthen against France in 2004 (18y 141d).

    Despite going off in the 65th minute, Ndoye had the most shots for Switzerland (two of their three), creating an expected goals tally of 0.52 as he proved their biggest threat.

    Though Switzerland will rue their late concession, they are now unbeaten in their last four meetings with Germany – a promising sign as the last-16 awaits.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.