EPL

Talking Point: Can Lampard land on his feet at Chelsea after debut defeat?

By Sports Desk August 14, 2019

Frank Lampard's first experience of Premier League management proved harrowing as Chelsea limped to a 4-0 loss in their season opener at Manchester United.

The fresh-faced Blues boss insisted the scoreline flattered the hosts and found support for his assessment following several promising passages of play.

Yet as a high-profile legend of the competition, curiosity about his coaching qualities will climb until hard evidence is delivered.

Sunday's clash against Leicester City will be Lampard's next opportunity to make a point in the Premier League.

With an eye on the past and Opta data on hand, we look at the likelihood of Chelsea performing a quick turnaround.

 

Sarri's six-goal loss still the nadir

Chelsea were torn asunder in the second half at Old Trafford as a three-goal, 16-minute burst from United made Lampard's managerial debut in the top flight a miserable occasion.

Only two Blues bosses have endured equal or heavier defeats in the club's 27-season Premier League history.

Maurizio Sarri presided over the worst when a Sergio Aguero-inspired Manchester City handed out a 6-0 hammering at the Etihad Stadium in February.

That result intensified the focus on Sarri's future as it occurred barely a week after a 4-0 loss at the hands of Bournemouth, which led the Italian to ponder whether he was capable of motivating his players.

September 1996 marked the only other time Chelsea have suffered a reverse of that magnitude in the Premier League, a late Frank Leboeuf penalty doing little to soothe the pain of a 5-1 failure against Liverpool under Ruud Gullit.

It was the first defeat of the Dutchman's coaching career but, as he went on to prove, an early setback is no impediment to success.

Scolari's strong start no barometer

Gullit had, in fact, started well in the player-coach role at Stamford Bridge, which he accepted following Glenn Hoddle's departure for the England job.

The former AC Milan midfielder won three of his opening five matches and secured two away draws to lay a solid foundation for a season that ended in FA Cup glory.

Of course, not every competent beginning can be viewed as a catalyst for trophies.

Luiz Felipe Scolari oversaw three wins, two draws and a fine tally of 10 goals scored, yet the World Cup winner was out of the job by February.

Sarri and compatriot Carlo Ancelotti boast the best starts among Blues bosses in the Premier League, each attaining a perfect 15 points from their first five fixtures.

Stamford Bridge a setting for success

Of real comfort to Lampard will be the opportunity to get back to London following the long midweek journey to Istanbul for the UEFA Super Cup.

Chelsea's greatest ever goalscorer is adored at Stamford Bridge and the ground has generally brought good fortune for new leaders.

Glenn Hoddle, Gianluca Vialli and the dual management team of Ray Wilkins and Graham Rix are the only bosses to have been beaten in their maiden Premier League home matches.

Three - Ian Porterfield, Avram Grant and Rafael Benitez - recorded draws, while 12 celebrated victories.

Lampard will hope to join the ranks of the latter group; perhaps Chelsea will even seek to cleanse the palate with a 4-0 win, the result Scolari achieved against Portsmouth back in August 2008.

Related items

  • Kobe Bryant dead: Ronaldo joins Messi in hailing a 'true legend' Kobe Bryant dead: Ronaldo joins Messi in hailing a 'true legend'

    Cristiano Ronaldo has labelled Kobe Bryant a "true legend" after the Los Angeles Lakers great died in a helicopter crash on Sunday.

    Bryant, along with his daughter Gianna, passed away along with seven others after the helicopter he was travelling in crashed near the Californian city of Calabasas in Los Angeles County.

    Figures from across the world of sport paid tribute to the former Lakers star – a five-time NBA champion.

    While Neymar dedicated one of his goals for Paris Saint-Germain against Lille to the 41-year-old and Lionel Messi also hailed Bryant, Ronaldo posted his condolences to Twitter.

    "So sad to hear the heartbreaking news of the deaths of Kobe and his daughter Gianna," Ronaldo tweeted.

    "Kobe was a true legend and inspiration to so many. Sending my condolences to his family and friends and the families of all who lost their lives in the crash. RIP Legend."

  • Sarri happy for Napoli despite Juve streak ending at old club Sarri happy for Napoli despite Juve streak ending at old club

    Maurizio Sarri said he was happy for Napoli after his former side inflicted a second Serie A loss of the season on Juventus, who missed the chance to move six points clear of Inter.

    Although Cristiano Ronaldo scored for the eighth game in a row, it was too little and too late for the champions after goals from Piotr Zielinski and Lorenzo Insigne put Napoli 2-0 ahead on Sunday.

    There were anti-Sarri chants and banners on his return to the Stadio San Paolo, but the coach was glad to see Napoli arrest their slump, even against his current club.

    "I am happy for the lads, as I will always be fond of them," he told Sky Sport Italia after Juve's five-game winning streak in Serie A ended.

    "If you have to lose, I guess I'd rather it be here to help Napoli get out of their current problems. I'd rather they started winning next week, of course.

    "Clearly, the game takes over and you have to detach yourself from everything around that. Napoli represented a special moment in my life and it's always pleasing and emotional to be back here.

    "We should have felt more motivated to break away [from Inter] rather than less, otherwise this will mean we are weak. I would hope not.

    "If that situation weighed on us, even unconsciously, it means we are not ready yet."

    Napoli's first home league win since October followed a midweek Coppa Italia victory over Lazio, but head coach Gennaro Gattuso is not getting carried away with his side's improvement.

    "I go home tonight and will still keep thinking about the [2-0] defeat to Fiorentina, because that was just shocking," Gattuso told Sky Sport Italia.

    "We beat two good teams now, fine, but we are still in trouble, still a long way back and need to keep pushing.

    "I congratulate the lads for the work they've done over the last seven days, but we have to keep going like this now, do not let up, focus on Napoli 24 hours a day.

    "We didn't do that well in possession today, but did far better when covering, blocking off the passes and the overlapping runs were timed properly.

    "I was angry at the Ronaldo goal, because we can't let anything slip at the moment."

  • Napoli 2-1 Juventus: Zielinski and Insigne end champions' winning streak Napoli 2-1 Juventus: Zielinski and Insigne end champions' winning streak

    Juventus suffered a 2-1 loss at Napoli on Sunday, ending the Serie A champions' run of five straight wins in the league.

    Piotr Zielinski scored the opening goal of the game midway through the second half, finishing on the rebound after Wojciech Szczesny pushed Lorenzo Insigne's shot back into the danger zone.

    Napoli had lost four home league games in a row but climb to 10th in the table after Insigne volleyed in a second, Maurizio Sarri's return to Stadio San Paolo ending in Juve's second league defeat of the season. 

    Cristiano Ronaldo hit a late reply but Juve missed the chance to move further ahead of nearest title rivals Inter and remain three points clear in top spot.

    August's reverse fixture was a seven-goal thriller, Juve 2-0 ahead inside 20 minutes though needing Kalidou Koulibaly's late own goal to seal a 4-3 win, but this time half-time arrived with a single shot on target.

    Arkadiusz Milik's tame header was comfortably saved by Szczesny with Napoli having had the edge in a strangely low-key opening 45 minutes.

    Juve lost Miralem Pjanic to injury shortly after the break, the midfielder having been hurt in a tackle from Diego Demme before the break with Adrien Rabiot introduced in his place.

    A late offside flag denied Ronaldo a 53rd-minute opener, the Portuguese then tricking his way past Elseid Hysaj to set up Gonzalo Higuain, whose low drive was stopped by Alex Meret.

    Juve appeared in control but Napoli broke the deadlock on the counter in the 63rd minute when Szczesny parried Insigne's 25-yard drive and Zielinski was on hand to convert the rebound.

    Napoli had penalty appeals rejected when Juan Cuadrado appeared to handle inside the box but the points were sealed by Insigne's strike that deflected in off Matthijs de Ligt in the closing stages.

    Ronaldo gave Juve hope, extending his scoring streak to eight games, but when Higuain's overhead kick flew straight at Meret in the 94th minute, Napoli had secured a famous win.


    What does it mean? Hope for Inter in title race

    Juve - who started with Ronaldo, Higuain and Paulo Dybala all in attack - would have been six points clear had they won, with yet another title surely within their grasp. 

    This result will be welcomed by Inter, who earlier in the day were held to a third straight league draw, while Lazio moved five points behind Juve after they drew with rivals Roma.

    As for Napoli, a first home league win since October may prove a turning point in their season with results having failed to improve since Gennaro Gattuso was appointed as Carlo Ancelotti's successor.


    Di Lorenzo stars as Koulibaly's deputy

    Giovanni Di Lorenzo was excellent in the heart of the Napoli defence, showing a calmness in possession and helping to keep Ronaldo and ex-Napoli striker Higuain quiet.


    Szczesny error proves costly

    With Gianluigi Buffon back on the bench after starting the midweek win over Roma, his replacement Szczesny made a bad mistake to hand Napoli the opening goal. Insigne's strike was not easy to deal with but Szczesny made a mess of his save, presenting Zielinski with a tap-in.


    What's next?

    Juve will aim to bounce back when they return to action at home to Fiorentina next Sunday, with Napoli away to Sampdoria a day later.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.