Mikel Arteta lauded Arsenal's win over Chelsea as "special" after his team ended a seven-game winless run in the Premier League.

Arsenal handed the under pressure Arteta a belated Christmas present on Boxing Day, with Alexandre Lacazette, Granit Xhaka and Bukayo Saka striking in a 3-1 win.

Chelsea pulled one back through Tammy Abraham late on, with Jorginho seeing a penalty saved by Bernd Leno as Arsenal avoided a nervy finish.

The victory lifted Arsenal up a place into 14th, ahead of matches against fellow strugglers Brighton and Hove Albion and West Brom.

"Obviously a really big win for us," a relieved but ecstatic Arteta told Sky Sports.

"We were really disappointed and frustrated with the results, not the performances as much. The players were suffering, our fans were suffering.

"Today is a special day. It doesn't get any better – Boxing Day, playing a London derby, at the Emirates, and winning the way we've done it.

"Hopefully it's the turning point, it's going to elevate the level of performance of the team. I know they can play at this level, it's how consistent we are throughout the game to sustain that level and how consistent we are to maintain it. In big moments in the game, we were the better team, that's why we won."

Asked what his overriding emotion after the final whistle was, Arteta replied: "When you start to see everything that's going against us. When you play with 10 men, with injuries, COVID, with how we've been in a lot of games, you start to think what do we need to win a match.

"Today when we conceded the penalty I was thinking it was not possible. Relief, that's the word, and happy for the players for the performance they put in and happy to give something back to our fans because I imagine they've been really disappointed."

While Xhaka had more pass attempts (44), completed passes (34), passes in the Chelsea half (26) or touches (55) than any other Arsenal player, Saka and Gabriel Martinelli were major bright spots for the Gunners.

With Gabriel out due to coronavirus protocol, while Willian and David Luiz were unwell, Arteta seemed to find the right formula on Saturday.

"We had a good mixture today of youth and inexperience, all of them were superb," he added.

"Even the mood before the game was really good. It's not easy in this moment. I'm proud of the group and the spirit we have as well.

"We have to carry on, it's a big week for us, we've started really well. We have a lot of things to improve, be better at, let's focus on that."

Arsenal have now won each of their last 10 home Premier League matches on Boxing Day, the second-best run in the competition’s history after Manchester United won 12 in a row between 1997 and 2016.

Chelsea, meanwhile, have now lost three successive away games, and an infuriated Lampard did not hold back in criticising his team.

"It wasn't good enough. We fought in the second half but in the first half we gave ourselves too much to do," he told Sky Sports.

"The players who came on added speed energy and intensity. I'll take responsibility on the outside but the players also have to take responsibility.

"The message was clear – Arsenal are a dangerous team. When you go out and play 60 or 70 per cent then you're not going to win any games

"I am angry because I want us to win games. It was an opportunity to go second. You get what you deserve."

Jorginho missed the chance to make Arsenal tremble as he became the first Chelsea player since current manager Frank Lampard to fail with two penalties in a Premier League season.

The Blues midfielder had seen Tammy Abraham give his team hope by cutting Arsenal's lead to 3-1 at Emirates Stadium, so a 90th-minute spot-kick was the chance to heap pressure on the hosts.

With plenty of stoppage time ahead, a successful penalty could have been followed by a Chelsea equaliser, but Jorginho saw his kick saved by Bernd Leno.

That eased the pressure immensely for Arsenal, and they survived to claim a much-needed win.

Watching at pitchside, Chelsea boss Lampard may have remembered his own misses from 12 yards during his playing career.

In the 2013-14 Premier League campaign, Lampard took three penalties but only converted one of those, netting in a 3-0 win at his former club West Ham.

Lampard missed from the spot but scored a free-kick in a 2-0 win over Hull City, while against Stoke City he had a penalty saved by Asmir Begovic but converted the rebound in a 3-0 victory.

Jorginho's kick on Saturday was Chelsea's eighth penalty against Arsenal in the Premier League and the first they have failed to convert.

Considered an expert from the spot, Jorginho has followed up five successive conversions by missing two of his last four.

This season, he has netted three from five attempts in the league.

Had he beaten Leno, Jorginho would have become the first Chelsea player to score in three consecutive Premier League appearances against Arsenal since Didier Drogba reached that mark in October 2010.

 

Arsenal survived a late scare to end their winless run in the Premier League as Mikel Arteta's much-maligned side claimed a thoroughly deserved 3-1 victory over Chelsea.

The Gunners headed into the Boxing Day clash at Emirates Stadium having lost five of their last seven Premier League matches, yet were worthy winners against Frank Lampard's hapless team to mark the one-year anniversary of Arteta's first game in charge in style.

Alexandre Lacazette's penalty put Arsenal ahead in a league game for the first time since a win over Manchester United on November 1, and a stunning Granit Xhaka free-kick doubled their tally.

Bukayo Saka then embarrassed Edouard Mendy early in the second half though, after Tammy Abraham's VAR-awarded goal, Arsenal ultimately had to rely on Bernd Leno's save from Jorginho's penalty to prevent a nervy finish.

That meant Chelsea were condemned to a third defeat in four league games.

Chelsea striker Timo Werner's dismal run in front of goal continued in their Premier League defeat to Arsenal on Saturday.

The Germany international was substituted by head coach Frank Lampard at half-time against the Gunners which took his run of matches without scoring to 10 games in all competitions.

That drought is his longest since a run of 12 matches between March and September 2016 across spells at Stuttgart and RB Leipzig.

Werner failed to register a shot on target against Arsenal and had just two touches inside the penalty area before he was replaced by Callum Hudson-Odoi during the 3-1 defeat. 

Signed for a reported £47.5million from RB Leipzig ahead of the 2020-21 season, Werner has scored just four goals in 15 Premier League games.

Werner's last goal for Chelsea came in a 4-1 win over Sheffield United at Stamford Bridge on November 7.

Lampard defended the 24-year-old's record ahead of the fixture with Arsenal despite his lack of goals and said he was "scaring teams" and "giving them a problem".

Frank Lampard is furious at Chelsea's schedule for the coming week as they must play twice in the space of 48 hours.

The Blues visit Arsenal at 1730 GMT on Boxing Day before kicking off at the same time at home to Aston Villa two days later.

Lampard is particularly frustrated at the prospect as Chelsea's subsequent match against Manchester City has been pushed back, providing a six-day gap, but pleas to rearrange the Villa game have fallen on deaf ears.

"It's 48 hours," Lampard told reporters when the two matches in three days were posed to him. "I'm not trying to be clever there, but it's an important point for us because there are other teams challenging at the top of the league that have two games in three days [72 hours].

"Manchester United, Tottenham, I think Liverpool play two games in three days.

"It's counter-productive for the quality of the Premier League. It's a risk to play both games in top-end, elite sport, everybody knows that."

Asked if he would be able to name his best XI against both Arsenal and Villa, Lampard replied: "I don't think so.

"I think that's pretty much impossible. I couldn't say what I've just said and then put out the same team."

The Blues coach is surprised there was no change to the schedule as he believes it would be in the Premier League's best interests to have the Villa fixture on December 29.

"I'm surprised," Lampard said. "We hear a lot about how we'll have conversations and we'll talk, but not much action gets done at the critical time.

"Again, I have sympathy for the scheduling, I have sympathy for the difficult times, I have sympathy that if can we work together we try to find the best solution and sometimes there isn't one.

"Everyone loves football and everyone wants the season to be finished and everyone wants the Champions League to continue and international football to continue.

"But when you're given two teams asking for a game to be played one day later to try to get their best players on the pitch as fit as they can, why would you not do that? That surprises me."

First, Chelsea must tackle Arsenal, the side who beat them in the FA Cup final but have since failed to mount a challenge at the top of the Premier League and instead slumped to 15th place.

Lampard said: "I saw a very strong team and I think they added very well in the window.

"It's so early in the season. I know Arsenal's position, but I'll let them speak about their position; even ourselves, if we're going to fight for a title, that is on us and the games ahead. There are a lot of games to go.

"I think they're a quality team and I know a lot of people had them in the [title] argument at the start of the season.

"I heard that and maybe we were in the argument, maybe not firm favourites and Arsenal were in the same batch as us because of the way they finished last season.

"In the recent period, it hasn't worked for them in terms of results. Some of the performances have been better than results, for sure.

"The important thing for us is not to get caught up in any of that talk, because I can feel it coming with this game because of Arsenal's recent results.

"We must go there with a determination to win, a respect for Arsenal but a determination to win."

Frank Lampard would not be drawn into discussing a potential Arsenal relegation battle, describing Chelsea's next opponents simply as "a high-quality team".

Arsenal, 13-time English champions, are winless in seven in the Premier League - one shy of their longest run without victory in the competition - and just four points clear of the bottom three in 15th place.

Mikel Arteta's problems are continuing to pile up, with the Gunners exiting the EFL Cup following a 4-1 home loss to Manchester City and former mentor Pep Guardiola on Tuesday.

The fixtures are not getting any kinder for Arsenal, whose 12-match unbeaten Boxing Day stretch will be tested by Chelsea at Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

They then visit Brighton and Hove Albion and West Brom, where further defeats to two sides below them in the table could make a battle against the drop a serious prospect.

"I don't want to talk about what their battle is," Lampard told a news conference before this weekend's match against the side that beat Chelsea in this year's FA Cup final. "They're just a good team with a good manager.

"They've had some tough results recently, but the general wave of the Premier League this season for every team has been a bit more inconsistent than it has probably been in previous seasons.

"My concern isn't where they're at. My concern is at face value, their quality; they're a high-quality team."

Relegated teams like West Ham and Newcastle United have previously been considered 'too good to go down', but Lampard was not interesting in assessing Arsenal's chances.

"I don't want to talk about that conversation," he fired back. "I don't get what the point is. We're playing Arsenal on Boxing Day, I don't want to talk about teams and relegation battles."

Lampard expects the prize of a derby win over Chelsea could motivate Arsenal, meanwhile. Two of the Gunners' four wins this term have come against London rivals in Fulham and West Ham.

"When you play a derby, form does go out the window," the Blues coach said. "Sometimes the idea of playing a derby is the spur that the team needs to try to get a result.

"We have to expect the best Arsenal, which is a really good footballing team with really good players, well coached, rotations in their team, lots of threats in attacking areas.

"That's what I expect, so we have to prepare for that."

Reece James and Ben Chilwell are both doubt and Hakim Ziyech will not be fit to return, although Lampard is not concerned by the ex-Ajax man's injuries.

"He had an injury in his knee at the start of the season and then he's just had another muscle injury," he added. "You have to wait for it to recover.

"I wouldn't say it's a long-term concern. We hope to have him back in the next week or so and have him offer what he was offering before."

Ziyech has played just 390 minutes across seven games so far in his Premier League career, but he has already scored once and created 12 chances, leading to a trio of assists.

Frank Lampard believes Timo Werner is "scaring teams" and the head coach is unworried despite the Chelsea forward's lack of goals.

Signed for a reported £47.5million from RB Leipzig ahead of the 2020-21 season, Werner has scored just four goals in 14 Premier League games.

The Germany international has failed to score in each of his past seven starts for Chelsea in all competitions, his longest run since September 2016 between spells at Stuttgart and RB Leipzig.

Werner had a game-high four shots in Monday's 3-0 win over West Ham and provided an assist for Tammy Abraham, and while Lampard would have liked a goal from the forward, he backed the 24-year-old.

"I'm not worried. Every striker will want to be scoring goals, it's what they ultimately get judged on and that's why Timo was a great acquisition for us because of the level of goals he's scored in the last few years," he told a news conference. 

"He's a player in a new league and we have to give him time to settle but he's getting in positions regularly, he's scaring teams and giving them a problem.

"It's not quite going in for him at the moment but the moment that changes, and he'll keep working hard, then we'll see goals from Timo Werner for sure."

While Werner has four assists in the Premier League this season, his shot conversion rate (excluding blocks) of 15.4 is the third worst of forwards to have taken at least 30 shots, behind only Aleksandar Mitrovic (7.7) and Sadio Mane (15.2).

Abraham scored a late brace after Thiago Silva's opener against West Ham as Chelsea climbed into fifth in the table.

With 25 goals in all competitions since the start of last season, Abraham has scored seven more than any other Chelsea player.

"It's good for his confidence clearly. You have to work for your goals and he worked for them because he put a lot of effort in," Lampard said.

"I wanted him to be a handful and to have energy and move the backline which he did. Oli Giroud has been doing it for us in his own way and scoring goals so it was a decision more on the opposition to play Tammy and I was pleased with how he did.

"We need that, we've had goals from all over the pitch, that's great, but you do need people scoring regularly and Tammy scoring two will help him."

Frank Lampard assessed Chelsea's start to the Premier League season as "okay" but was more complimentary of veteran defender Thiago Silva after a 3-0 win over West Ham.

The Blues will be fifth at Christmas, six points behind leaders Liverpool, having come through a tricky outing against their London rivals at Stamford Bridge.

Silva nodded a 10th-minute opener, before Tammy Abraham scored twice in the space of 101 seconds to secure victory following an extended spell of West Ham pressure.

It was a precious victory after back-to-back defeats to Everton and Wolves, but coach Lampard is not getting carried away.

Asked by Sky Sports to assess his side's position, Lampard said: "It feels okay. I want more. I'm probably still fresh off the two defeats."

Silva was central to ending that losing run, starring at both ends as he made six clearances, three interceptions, a tackle and a block.

The Brazil international, who turned 36 in September, is in his first season in England after a free transfer from Paris Saint-Germain.

Lampard left the Premier League at 36 and says Silva has exceeded his expectations.

"I remember playing in the Premier League at 36, and I couldn't play like he's playing, week in, week out," the Blues boss said. "I was in and out of the team and I could feel it at that stage of my career.

"What I'd say is I was probably a bit tentative. I knew he was a top player, had been a great player for a long time, but the pressures of the Premier League when you've never played in it and played in France for quite a long time - no disrespect - he probably has exceeded [expectations] slightly.

"But I probably shouldn't have been surprised. Now I'm working with him, I can see the quality, the preparation, the reading of the game, the desire to win headers and compete with anyone he plays against.

"He's really studious about the game, as well; he's clearly going to be a manager or whatever he wants to be after the game.

"He's been a great addition for us on and off the pitch."

Silva epitomised the "character" and "graft" Lampard felt were crucial to Chelsea's latest victory, saying: "It wasn't vintage tonight.

"I thought there were some good parts. The best part for me was the character, having come off the back of two defeats."

He added: "When you come off it slightly, there's no easy way back other than a bit of graft. I think we showed that tonight. Without being beautiful, it's a really good result for us."

Lampard now hopes the Blues can build on the win.

"It will help confidence," he said. "Trying to keep a cool head in difficult moments is crucial if you're going to do anything over a long period of time.

"That's why I felt, as a squad this year, it'll be tough for us to maybe challenge all the way, because we haven't really had those moments. It feels like we have to grow a little bit of character, a bit of confidence in game.

"We suffered at Wolves, we should have dealt with that game. Today we dealt with a game that was potentially really tough.

"It's good [for] confidence - I'm gutted Timo [Werner] didn't get his goal at the end there because that would have been great for his confidence. He's getting chances, so the goals will come."

Werner is without a goal in seven Chelsea starts, his worst run at club level since 2016, but Abraham is not lacking belief.

"I don't think the losses knocked our confidence too much," the two-goal man said. "We knew we were a good side and we just lost it for two games. We brought it back today, so hopefully we can kick on."

Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard does not foresee another push for the Premier League to introduce five substitutes after the suggestion was again voted down.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has been leading the campaign for teams to be allowed to make up to five changes in matches, owing to the congested nature of the season.

Premier League sides were allowed five substitutes when the competition restarted in June but voted to return to three subs for 2020-21.

Opposition has come from clubs with smaller squads, who claim being able to use five changes only benefits the bigger teams and, on Thursday, the proposal was turned down again, though nine players can now be named on the bench.

The Premier League is the only major European competition not to allow five changes, but Lampard is not expecting there to be any further votes on the matter.

"I think that's it now, I don't know how many more times we can go through it," Lampard told a news conference ahead of Monday's game against West Ham.

"It doesn't worry me, it is what it is. Some clubs have decided it was in their better interest to not have the subs and that overrode what we felt, just as the managers.

"It wasn't a manager vote, so I suppose it doesn't really matter what the managers felt. It's a difficult one to talk about because people think you're whining too much but I just thought it was something which would help the player welfare."

Klopp came under some scrutiny for not using any changes in Liverpool's 2-1 win over Tottenham on Wednesday, though the Reds boss did use three substitutes in Saturday's 7-0 thrashing of Crystal Palace, while Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola also kept the same XI on for 90 minutes in a match against Fulham this month.

It was the first time Liverpool had not made a change in a league match since May 2004, while it had been over 15 years since City made no alterations.

Chelsea have used 35 substitutes so far this Premier League season - two fewer than Liverpool - which is the joint-fifth-lowest amount in the top flight.

Asked if player welfare is the main factor in deciding who to take off in a game, Lampard replied: "With the three subs that you're allowed now, I felt – and I think some other managers have said this – really you have two. You have to save the third.

"I don't think when you're in the game you're always thinking about the number of subs to use.

"In the defeat at Wolves, it was hard for me to make that third sub even though I thought we looked tired, because if I try to inject some fresh legs into the team, does that tiredness force someone else to go down?

"There are multiple reasons where you work around those subs. Five subs would have given me more options to change in games, lessen the risk of getting injured and keep players fitter, but it's gone now."

Frank Lampard played down Chelsea's title chances, saying they were "not a Liverpool of last year".

After being considered Premier League contenders, Lampard's men have suffered back-to-back losses, falling to eighth in the table – nine points behind leaders Liverpool but having played one less game.

Jurgen Klopp's men secured a breakthrough league title last season, winning the crown with 99 points.

Lampard said the progress of his team needed to be realistic, insisting they were not at the level of last season's Liverpool or Manchester City before that.

"The realism now is that we are not a Liverpool of last year, or a Man City of the year before who just go win, win, win — we are in a progression and have to be ready for some tough moments," the Chelsea head coach told reporters.

"That's why I kept talking about us two or three weeks ago when everyone was talking about how we should win the league.

"My reasoning for putting a dampener on that was there are other teams that have been together longer, which brings a confidence among a group where they can deal with things better in games.

"It is part of where our progression is at, we have some younger players and as time goes on they will get stronger in those moments. That's why you have to take lessons when you lose."

Chelsea will look to return to form when they host West Ham on Monday.

The encounter is set to see Mason Mount and Declan Rice, who came through the academy at Chelsea together, go head-to-head.

Lampard believes the battle between friends will bring the best out of both.

"It's healthy, it's good. The competitive nature will come out when you play against your friends," he said.

"Those personal battles generate an extra level of competition between Mason and Declan individually and that's fine, that's how it should be.

"I don't know Declan that well but they're both young, hungry boys who want to do well for their team."

Frank Lampard has "no doubt" Timo Werner will come through his difficult spell of form for Chelsea. 

Chelsea are under pressure ahead of Monday's home fixture with West Ham having lost two straight Premier League games, going down to both Everton and Wolves on the road. 

A third consecutive top-flight defeat would represent their worst run for over five years. 

Germany international Werner, a high-profile signing from RB Leipzig, has not scored for eight matches across all competitions. 

He particularly struggled to make an impact in the games against Everton and Wolves, but Lampard insists his deployment on the left of a front three is not the reason for his woes. 

Asked why Werner was playing on the left, Chelsea boss Lampard said: "For different reasons. We had a big reference for a target man [Olivier Giroud]. 

"Timo for Leipzig and Germany played in lots of roles, so it is not a problem for him to be used there. He can be used across the front three. 

"I have players who can play on both sides. Not all, like Hakim [Ziyech] on the right, but Timo and Christian [Pulisic] can play left and right. 

"It can give the opposition a problem. I like to have the option to change it at times. 

"With Timo, any goalscorer wants to score regularly but must have the mental toughness and confidence to go through periods.  

"That is every striker. It is no problem. He needs to keep getting in those areas and the goals will come, no doubt."

Late checks will be made on the fitness of wingers Ziyech and Callum Hudson-Odoi, who both trained on Friday after spells out with injury. 

West Ham did the double over Chelsea last season, winning the match at Stamford Bridge 1-0.  

That was the first time in 14 attempts they had won away at Chelsea in the Premier League. 

Declan Rice continues to impress for West Ham and England, leading to Lampard being asked if he regretted Chelsea allowing the youth product to slip through their fingers.

"He is a fantastic player for West Ham and England - fair play," Lampard said about Rice. 

"It's a good story because with a lot of those stories, it shows a strength of character.  

"I wouldn't say it's a regret. Our academy is one of the best in the world and it's not easy because it's not an exact science. Declan deserves personal credit for the start he has had at West Ham." 

Three straight wins against the Blues would be West Ham's best run in the fixture for 46 years. 

It is the start of a key stretch for Chelsea, with matches against Arsenal, Aston Villa and Manchester City also coming up during the busy festive period.

Frank Lampard has called on Chelsea's new recruits to "wake up" and adjust to the demands of the Premier League following back-to-back losses.

The Blues temporarily moved top of the table with a 3-1 win over Leeds United on December 5 but have since lost away to Everton and Wolves.

Olivier Giroud had given Lampard's men the lead in Tuesday's clash at Molineux, only for Daniel Podence to equalise and before Pedro Neto rifled in a 95th-minute winner.

Chelsea have spent over £200million on new players this year and five of those -  Edouard Mendy, Thiago Silva, Ben Chilwell, Kai Havertz and Timo Werner - started the Wolves defeat.

On the back of successive league losses for the first time in a year, Lampard urged his big-money captures to quickly learn from their latest setback.

"We need to reflect on the two games we have lost points in, which is disappointing, but also know this is a long season," he told the club's official website. 

"We have to bounce back; the players have to bounce back. 

"We're a young group, some players are new to this league, they need to wake up to what this is about right now, because games like the last two prove it."

Chelsea have a six-day gap between matches and could potentially be in the bottom half of the division by the time they face London rivals West Ham next Monday.

Lampard is hopeful the short break will give his players an opportunity to rest up amid what is shaping up to be the tightest title race in years.

"They can have a little bit of a rest, hopefully not a happy rest because when you lose games you're not happy," he said.

"But physically the players need a bit of a break going into another really busy period.

"I don't like to look so much at the table when we are winning and on a long unbeaten run, and the same now.

"We have to worry about ourselves, irrespective of who is playing each other elsewhere. It's really tight. If we had won, we would have gone level on points at the top. 

"If you lose, all of a sudden you feel like you might drop out of the top four, five, six, whatever it is. 

"The longer game is for us to concentrate on, but we must think short term and the players must learn lessons because the games are coming thick and fast over Christmas. 

"I know what we can do, and I know consistency is another matter. 

"We had been on a long unbeaten run, great, but to really get to where we want to be it has to be longer than that, or if you have a blip you have to bounce back from that."

Frank Lampard was frustrated his Chelsea team were caught on the counter-attack after warning of Wolves' threat, although he acknowledged his side were not good enough at Molineux.

Olivier Giroud's sixth goal in his past four away games in all competitions had the Blues on course for a victory that would have taken them top of the Premier League.

But Daniel Podence netted a fine equaliser and then, with Chelsea chasing a late winner, Pedro Neto ran through at the other end and rifled in a brilliant 95th-minute strike – the latest decisive league goal the Blues have conceded since at least 2006-07.

"We didn't play well enough. It's pretty simple," said Lampard, but he also felt the visitors had the game "under pretty good control" at 1-0.

Therefore the failure to deal with Wolves on the break, a tactic for which they are renowned, was the source of some disappointment.

"We've been given maybe different kinds of games in these last two games," the coach explained. "Particularly where Everton made it difficult for us to break them down, and we didn't really succeed in that.

"Wolves played very much a counter-attacking style late in the game – not just that – but we didn't deal with that.

"The players have to feel that on the pitch, because the message was very clear about the counter-attack and the issue was that they could hurt us. So that's disappointing."

It was a second straight defeat after the 1-0 reverse at Everton, losing back-to-back league matches for the first time in 12 months and a single day.

Lampard, who is hoping to have Hakim Ziyech and Callum Hudson-Odoi back in training this week, said "there could be some fatigue" and Chelsea "didn't have that zip about us", failing to have a shot on target before Giroud's second-half opener.

But he also recognised Chelsea could not be surprised to lose games if they slip below their usual standards.

With in-form West Ham up next in a London derby, Lampard was asked if this was becoming a "blip".

"That's up to us," he replied. "We had a long unbeaten run, everyone sang our praises. I was the last one to do that.

"It's my job to stay level-headed on both ends, so I shouldn't feel too disappointed tonight, as much as I didn't get too elated after Leeds when we were on the back of a really good run.

"But clearly, when we've performed like we've done today, that's not game management, that's not the quality levels that we are striving for.

"I still think there's a lot of improvement to be done with the group, so I wouldn't say I'm massively surprised.

"My experience of the Premier League tells me that if you drop your standards, which we have in two games, particularly away from home, you can lose football matches. That's a big lesson for the players there."

Frank Lampard has again dismissed suggestions Chelsea have the strongest squad in the Premier League because his side have yet to win anything.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp labelled the Blues as favourites to win the title earlier this month on the back of a huge off-season spending spree totalling more than £200million.

Chelsea were top of the table at the time and unbeaten in 13 matches in all competitions, but they have since lost 1-0 to Everton to slip down to fifth, three points off the summit.

And Lampard is not buying into claims that he has the deepest squad in the division.

"I just don't see it. I'm not talking down my squad by saying that," he said. 

"Some of the people saying we have the strongest squad were the same people saying we're no good when we drew 3-3 with West Brom and drew with Southampton. 

"The tide has turned quickly. The conversation is pretty irrelevant anyway because it's only what we do on the pitch that matters. 

"But I look around and see strong squads that have been winning things over the last few years and are stable. 

"People maybe want to look at the price tag, but some of those are younger players coming to this division to play for the first time and will need time. 

"This squad will [improve] and is improving. Strong squads will only be referred to when they win something. When I look around, there are other strong squads, ones that can have the best players in the world sitting on the bench. 

"Teams with Champions League winners sitting on their bench. We are not at that level yet." 

Chelsea have dropped points in half of their 12 games this term but are within touching distance of first place, with Tottenham and Liverpool - the top two - meeting on Wednesday.

The Reds were held by Fulham on Sunday and have already dropped 11 points this term - as many as they lost in their first 35 games in last term's title-winning campaign.

Lampard acknowledges a far lower points tally will be enough to win the title this term and hopes Chelsea can be in the mix come the business end of proceedings.

"That's where we're at this season," he said. "We felt it first hand against Everton - they've got good players, invested well, good manager, well organised and made it difficult. 

"Watching the games on Sunday, you could see that all over the place. The league is getting tighter, teams are strengthening and becoming well organised. 

"I felt our preparations coming into the season were the difference. We've already lost points we normally wouldn't have. 

"Everyone will feel that and the total number of points will be fewer. We have to make sure we maintain our levels and improve."

Chelsea head to Wolves on Tuesday aiming to avoid back-to-back Premier League defeats for the first time since December 2019, the first of which was away at Everton.

Only against Liverpool (10) have Wolves lost more times in the competition than they have versus Chelsea (nine), and they enter the game on the back of successive losses without scoring since Raul Jimenez sustained a horror skull fracture against Arsenal.

The Mexico striker returned to the club's training ground last week, though, and Lampard - who witnessed ex-team-mate Petr Cech suffer a similar injury during his playing days - expects Wolves to be lifted for their midweek clash.

"I saw Jimenez back at the training ground in the week and that will almost galvanise the group and give them strength," he said. 

"Team-mates worry about injuries anyway - it's difficult when you're ruled out - and even more so in this case when it is threatening to your health. 

"So I think it will make them stronger but they're missing a great player at the same time. It's a difficult situation, one I don't like to see. I'd rather play Wolves with a fit and healthy Jimenez because he's a great player."

Frank Lampard is proving at Chelsea this season he has was it takes to become a "top manager", according to former team-mate Ashley Cole.

The Blues finished fourth in Lampard's first season in charge at Stamford Bridge and are considered serious title contenders this term after spending big in the close season.

Chelsea slipped down to fifth place with Saturday's 1-0 loss to Everton - ending a nine-match unbeaten league run - but they are only three points adrift of top spot.

Cole, who played alongside Lampard for Chelsea and England, believes his compatriot is on course to achieve in the dugout what he managed on the field during his illustrious career.

"They have strengthened in areas they probably needed to," Cole told Stats Perform News, courtesy of Nissan. "They have a lot of strength in depth now in the squad. 

"Of course we know he was an elite player, can he be an elite manager? I think he's got the credentials. 

"He's got everything, so far this season, that I can see will make him a top, top manager."

Chelsea have brought in seven first-team players this calendar year, with Edouard Mendy, Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner, Ben Chilwell, Thiago Silva, Malang Sarr (who was later sent on loan to Porto) and Kai Havertz arriving for more than £200million.

The West London side have particularly improved in defence, conceding 12 goals in 12 Premier League matches this term at a rate of one per game, compared to 54 in 38 matches last season - 1.42 per game.

"I think it was important to address maybe the weaknesses from last season, which they did," Cole said of the new recruits. "Now you're starting to see the team gel. 

"They still need to gel a little bit more of course, but that will take a little more time. But I think the signs are there that the team are improving.

"Defensively they're more solid, and attacking wise they're always a threat. Timo Werner in there, Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount coming from left or central areas.

"I think they're playing now with a very positive attitude, and they'll get that winning mentality with a few of the players they've added as well."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.