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.

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