Chelsea need someone that can have the same impact on their effectiveness at set-pieces as Virgil van Dijk did at Liverpool, says Frank Lampard.

The Blues twice saw Tomas Soucek put the ball in the net from corners during a 3-2 loss to West Ham on Wednesday, though his first was disallowed due to a contentious offside decision following a VAR review.

Lampard acknowledges dead-ball situations represent one of the Blues' biggest weaknesses and feels it is something they should take into account when assessing transfer targets.

The Chelsea head coach pointed to Liverpool's improvement from set-pieces after they signed Van Dijk, a figure who has been pivotal in their ascent to becoming Premier League champions.

"We've looked at set-plays this season. When we came into the club, we looked at the stats from last season and we were bottom of the league in defending set-plays, in terms of other teams getting big chances against us, we were second-bottom in attacking," said Lampard ahead of Saturday's Premier League meeting with Watford.

"If you look at personnel, and I don't like to talk about my playing days, but we didn't really work so much on set-pieces at all really - with certain managers more than others. There were probably a few reasons why and they were mainly John Terry, Gary Cahill, Didier Drogba, Michael Ballack and [Branislav] Ivanovic, so you stick it in an area and they defend it or they score goals.

"I think similarly with Liverpool, there was a lot of talk about them with set-pieces two or three seasons ago, they were zonal, they were conceding a lot.

"They signed Virgil van Dijk and he heads everything that comes in the box out, so there's a huge relation to personnel and if you don't have that in terms of big size across the team, I think trying to compete as hard as you can, making it difficult for other teams to score is the main thing.

"And there's no doubt – I'm not making excuses when I say that because we've not done this well enough on the pitch, and that has to improve – when you look at who you might bring in, with the balance of the squad, in the modern day its certainly something to take into account when looking at recruitment."

Chelsea made Kepa Arrizabalaga their record signing and the most expensive goalkeeper in the world by paying the £71.6million (€80m) release clause in his Athletic Bilbao contract in 2018.

Lampard dropped Kepa for Willy Caballero earlier this season and reports of interest from Spain intensified after the 25-year-old put in another disappointing display against West Ham.

Asked about the rumours linking the keeper with a move away, the Blues boss said: "I'm not talking about any potential [deals], what we may do at the end of the season or not. I'm going to focus on what we've got in front of us.

"With Kepa, there's been a lot spoken about him this season. All I want from him, as with every player, is the right mentality and attitude and approach to the game – I'm absolutely certain I'm going to get that from all of them because I can feel the group is in that position – and obviously to just try to do his job as well as he can do.

"I'm happy with him and that's how we keep working. I'm not going to talk about what may be at the end of the season."

Lionel Messi's future is often a topic of discussion.

Messi has an early break clause in his Barcelona contract.

As Barca look to re-sign Messi, the 33-year-old superstar is reportedly ready to walk away next year.

 

TOP STORY – MESSI WANTS BARCA EXIT

Lionel Messi will leave Barcelona when his contract expires at the end of 2020-21, according to Cadena SER.

Barca captain Messi – previously linked to Inter and Manchester City – has reportedly been in talks over a new two-year deal at Camp Nou.

However, the six-time Ballon d'Or winner and Barca's all-time leading scorer is reportedly tired of being blamed for issues at the club, with the LaLiga champions set to be dethroned by Real Madrid.

ROUND-UP

- Staying at Camp Nou and club legend Xavi has agreed to become Barcelona head coach next season. Mundo Deportivo journalist Francesc Aguilar says the Al-Sadd boss has agreed a €6million salary to replace under-fire coach Quique Setien.

- Mundo Deportivo reports Manchester United and neighbours City have asked Barca about the availability of out-of-favour forward Antoine Griezmann. A big-money signing from Atletico Madrid at the start of the season, Griezmann has struggled and found himself on the bench in recent weeks. However, the report claims Barca are not considering a transfer.

Liverpool are poised to sign Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara, says Sport. Thiago is out of contract at the end of 2020-21 and the Spaniard is not willing to re-sign. Now, Liverpool are believed to be in advanced negotiations as Bayern seek £31m (€35m) for Thiago.

- Everton full-back Lucas Digne has emerged as a target for City and Chelsea if they fail to land Leicester City star Ben Chilwell, according to ESPN.

Borussia Dortmund have completed the signing of Birmingham City teenager Jude Bellingham, reports Bild. United were also chasing the 17-year-old sensation.

- After signing Achraf Hakimi from Real Madrid, Sky journalist Fabrizio Romano claims Inter have opened talks with Chelsea for Italian full-back Emerson Palmieri.

Juventus are hoping to settle Paulo Dybala's new contract between July and August, says Calciomercato.

- The Telegraph reports Chelsea are ready to step up their pursuit of Bayer Leverkusen star Kai Havertz after Saturday's DFB-Pokal final against Bayern. Havertz has been linked to Bayern, Madrid, United, Liverpool and Barca.

- Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga could be shipped out on loan to Sevilla, claims The Sun. The world's most expensive keeper has been criticised for his performances this season.

If Lautaro Martinez heads to Barcelona, Inter may land Timo Werner as his replacement as Liverpool withdraw from the race for the RB Leipzig star.

Martinez and Werner are two forwards linked with moves during the close season after impressive campaigns at Inter and RB Leipzig respectively.

And Werner could reportedly fill Martinez's boots at San Siro if the Argentina international makes the switch.

 

TOP STORY – WERNER COULD REPLACE BARCELONA TARGET LAUTARO

RB Leipzig star Werner is the leading candidate to replace Martinez if the Inter forward joins Barcelona, according to Corriere dello Sport.

Werner has been heavily linked with a transfer to Liverpool, but the Mirror reports the Premier League leaders have withdrawn from talks as they are unwilling to meet his £49.4million (€55m) release clause.

Meanwhile, AS reports Philippe Coutinho could be part of Barca's bid to land Martinez, even as Inter say the only way the 22-year-old will leave is by his reported €111m clause being paid.

ROUND-UP

- Will Barcelona and Juventus get an exchange deal done? Sport reports Juve are pushing to land Arthur, but the midfielder wants to stay with the LaLiga giants. Miralem Pjanic has been linked with a move to Camp Nou.

- Staying at Barcelona and Mundo Deportivo reports the club are willing to let Ousmane Dembele leave if a good offer arrives. The attacker has been linked with a switch to Paris Saint-Germain, with Neymar reportedly a target for Barcelona.

- David Luiz's future appears uncertain. Sky Sports News reports the defender's stay at Arsenal could be coming to an end after one season as his contract expires next month and no talks are planned over a new deal.

- It seems Tiemoue Bakayoko could be set for another transfer. Le 10 Sport says the midfielder, on loan at Monaco from Chelsea, is being targeted by Milan and West Ham, with PSG's interest having eased.

- With Kepa Arrizabalaga out of favour, Chelsea are said to be looking for a new goalkeeper. The Sun says the Premier League side are lining up a £15m (€16.7m) move for Borussia Dortmund shot-stopper Roman Burki.

- Staying at Stamford Bridge and Chelsea are also reportedly eyeing a left-back. The Mirror reports they are keeping an eye on developments around Ajax full-back Nicolas Tagliafico, who could be available for around £22m (€24.5m).

Jadon Sancho is the name on everyone's lips.

The Borussia Dortmund teenager has taken Europe by storm and clubs are queuing up.

But Manchester United are reportedly at the front of the line.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED IN TOUCH WITH SANCHO AGENT

Manchester United have contacted Jadon Sancho's agent as they look to sign the Borussia Dortmund sensation, according to Fabrizio Romano.

Sancho tops the list of United's transfer targets following his exploits for the Bundesliga side, with Liverpool and Chelsea also reportedly interested.

But Dortmund – who will not stand in Sancho's way of a departure – are unwilling to budge on their €110million (£98m) valuation.

 

ROUND-UP

- Tuttosport reports Chelsea are preparing a huge contract offer for Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma. It comes as the Blues reportedly look to sell Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Juventus are interested in Achraf Hakimi, says Calciomercato. Achraf is set to return to Real Madrid following a two-year loan spell at Dortmund. Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain have also been linked to the Moroccan full-back.

Inter have named their price for Barcelona target Lautaro Martinez, Calciomercato reports. With a release clause of €111m, Inter want at least €80m in cash.

- Birmingham City's 16-year-old star Jude Bellingham is set to reject a transfer to United in favour of Dortmund, says Bild.

Tottenham and Arsenal, along with Crystal Palace and West Ham, are eyeing Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren, according to Team Talk.

- Calciomercato claims Inter have not given up on signing Napoli forward Dries Mertens on a free transfer. The Belgian star is out of contract at the end of 2019-20.

Madrid is the preferred option for Rennes teenager Eduardo Camavinga, says Marca. Liverpool, Dortmund and PSG have also emerged as possible suitors for the 17-year-old.

- Corriere dello Sport says Valencia are eyeing Inter centre-back Diego Godin, who has been linked to United and Tottenham.

Roma are lining up a move for Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa, says Diario AS. Clubs in Brazil and Qatar are also reportedly circling.

There could be a number of goalkeeping changes around Europe.

With Kepa Arrizabalaga's future uncertain at Chelsea, Manuel Neuer is reportedly an option for Frank Lampard's side.

Barcelona's Marc-Andre ter Stegen has also been linked with a move away from Camp Nou.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA TARGET NEUER

Chelsea are interested in signing Bayern Munich captain and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, according to Sport Bild.

Lampard's Chelsea are reportedly looking to move on from Kepa – the world's most expensive goalkeeper after leaving Athletic Bilbao in 2018.

Neuer is on Chelsea's radar, with the Germany star yet to agree a new deal at Bayern, who have been linked to fellow German and Barcelona keeper Ter Stegen.

ROUND-UP

Leonardo Bonucci to Manchester City? Calciomercato claims Pep Guardiola is "obsessed" with Bonucci and wants to bring the Juventus defender to the Etihad Stadium at the end of the season. Juve, however, are unwilling to sell the Italy international.

- The Mirror claims Barcelona are tracking Tottenham midfielder Tanguy Ndombele. The Frenchman became Tottenham's club-record signing ahead of the 2019-20 campaign, but he has struggled in London amid criticism from head coach Jose Mourinho. Spurs have been linked to RB Leipzig's Marcel Sabitzer.

- Bayern star David Alaba is likely to leave the Bundesliga champions at the end of the season, reports Sky Sport Germany. It comes as reports link the Austria international to Barca and Real Madrid. Meanwhile, The Sun claims City are set to be offered Alaba and cash for Leroy Sane.

Inter are considering a move to sign Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen as a free agent at season's end, says Calciomercato. The Nerazzurri are also unwilling to keep Alexis Sanchez, who is on loan from Manchester United.

Mauro Icardi has turned down a transfer to LaLiga in order to push for a move to Juventus, according to Elgoldigital. Icardi is on loan at Paris Saint-Germain from Inter.

- Calciomercato says United and Tottenham have made offers for Inter centre-back Diego Godin. The reports adds United are looking to sign both Godin and Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly.

Carlo Ancelotti's return to Stamford Bridge ended with Everton suffering a chastening 4-0 defeat to Chelsea on Sunday.

Everton were completely overwhelmed by a Chelsea midfield that saw Billy Gilmour make his first Premier League start alongside Ross Barkley and Mason Mount, who got the Blues up and running in the 14th minute.

Pedro assisted Mount and was himself on target in the Premier League for the first time since February 2019 seven minutes later – the experienced winger involved in as many goals in the opening 21 minutes as in his previous 21 appearances in the competition.

Willian drove home a powerful effort and set up Olivier Giroud in the space of three second-half minutes to put the result beyond doubt, with Frank Lampard's side claiming just their third top-flight win of the year.

Jordan Pickford did well to keep out Mount's first effort, but the midfielder scored the opener when a sublime first touch while turning on the edge of the box was followed by a sweeping drive into the bottom-left corner.

Willian outpaced Mason Holgate and had a cross-goal effort kept out well by Pickford, before Pedro doubled the hosts' lead by slotting home from Barkley's throughball to finish a wonderful passing move.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin failed to show the prowess in front of goal that earned him a new five-year contract his week, scuffing wide when up against Kepa Arrizabalaga in the goalkeeper's first Premier League game since January 21.

Chelsea picked up where they left off in the second half with Willian arrowing a powerful finish past Pickford in the 51st minute.

Giroud then evaded some dismal marking from Holgate to turn home a curling, first-time delivery from Willian, before Pickford stopped Pedro from making it five.

Lampard handed Premier League debuts to teenagers Faustino Anjorin and Armando Broja off the bench. A good challenge from Djibril Sidibe prevented Anjorin marking the occasion with a goal to round off an already resounding win.
 

What does it mean? Everton a shambles

The Toffees beat Chelsea 3-1 in the reverse fixture at Goodison Park but fell well short of replicating that display in west London.

Ancelotti won the Premier League and FA Cup during two years with the Blues, but his decision to set his team out in a 4-4-2 shape allowed Chelsea to dictate the terms of the match in midfield, while Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison received minimal service.

The benefit of experience

Chelsea's front three of Pedro, Giroud and Willian stood in stark contrast to their youthful midfield, but each of the attacking trio played an important role in the victory. The wingers had a goal and assist each, while Giroud connected the play well.

A bad Davies at the office

Everton were overrun in midfield from minute one, but Tom Davies was guilty of giving Mount too much space ahead of the opener and was nowhere to be seen on the next two goals. He was replaced by Moise Kean in the 58th minute.

What's next?

Chelsea head to Aston Villa next Sunday, while Everton have a Merseyside derby against Premier League leaders Liverpool awaiting a week on Monday.

Frank Lampard restored Kepa Arrizabalaga to Chelsea's Premier League starting line-up for Everton's visit to Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

Goalkeeper Kepa was dropped following a 2-2 draw at home to Arsenal on January 21, with critics suggesting he should have kept out Hector Bellerin's late equaliser.

Willy Caballero started Chelsea's next six games before the Spain international returned and produced a solid display in the 2-0 FA Cup fifth-round victory over Liverpool on Tuesday.

Lampard subsequently stuck with Kepa in goal against Everton, while Billy Gilmour was handed a starting berth in midfield alongside Mason Mount and Ross Barkley.

N'Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic missed the game through injury and Jorginho was ruled out due to a suspension.

Chelsea also included 18-year-old attacker Armando Broja on the bench for the first time in a senior game.

Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti made three changes from the side that drew 1-1 with Manchester United last weekend for his return to his former club.

Lucas Digne and Djibril Sidibe were drafted in at the full-back positions, while Bernard was picked on the left wing.

Frank Lampard labelled speculation surrounding Kepa Arrizabalaga as "nonsense" but did hint Chelsea would assess the Spain international's future in the summer.

Kepa remains the most expensive goalkeeper in world football following his £72million switch from Athletic Bilbao in 2018 but has been relegated to the bench for the past four games, with Willy Caballero preferred.

Reports in the British media on Friday suggested the player would request to leave Stamford Bridge at the end of the season amid rumours of a fall-out with Lampard.

But the Chelsea head coach insisted the player's future was very much in his own hands and praised his reaction to being left out.

Speaking ahead of Saturday's trip to Bournemouth, Lampard told a news conference: "My relationship is fine, between player and manager. 

"I have 20 or so players to keep happy and I can't keep them all happy at the same time. All I expect is professionalism in training, which Kepa has given.

"The position is the same: you train well to try to get in the team when you're not in it. When you play, you try to play at performance levels that keep you in the team. They are the standards we have to have at this club.

"Every player is in control of their own destiny to a degree with that and how they turn up every day, and Kepa has been training well.

"But Willy is also training well and has also been playing pretty well - he made some good saves against Bayern [Munich on Tuesday].

"So, I have competition there and I will decide as we go. I am very strong on how you turn up every day is pivotal in how you are as a Chelsea player."

As for the reports claiming the 25-year-old wanted out, Lampard added: "I've read quite a bit of nonsense this week with people guessing.

"Every time a player puts on a shirt, they are in control of their destiny, individually. We can't always control collectively what a result will be.

"All I'm focused on is what we do game by game to try to get the best finish possible. And then there are decisions for the club ongoing in the summer. We have to look at that but there's no way I'm jumping into the future now, and as I said, a lot of the reports were wrong."

The future of Lautaro Martinez could also have an impact on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Martinez is wanted by Barcelona and Real Madrid, while Aubameyang is reportedly eyeing an Arsenal exit.

Both players could be at different clubs in 2020-21.

 

TOP STORY – MARTINEZ OUT, AUBA IN?

Inter will look to replace Barcelona target Martinez with Arsenal star Aubameyang, according to Calciomercato.

Martinez has been heavily linked to LaLiga champions Barca as well as Real Madrid, Manchester United and Manchester City following his exploits for Inter.

The Daily Mail claims Arsenal are considering selling forward Aubameyang, who is out of contract in 2021, and he could be targeted by Inter should Martinez leave San Siro.

ROUND-UP

- Kepa Arrizabalaga is Chelsea's record signing but his future at Stamford Bridge is in doubt. El Chiringuito TV reports Chelsea have offered out-of-favour goalkeeper Kepa plus €30million (£25m) to Atletico Madrid for Jan Oblak.

Madrid are ready to offer €70m to Napoli for star midfielder Fabian Ruiz, claims Calciomercato. City and Barca are also reportedly looking to sign the Spaniard.

- Manchester Evening News writes that United have stepped up their interest in Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish. It comes as the Daily Express claims United are likely to offload Jesse Lingard and Andreas Pereira.

- Calciomercato says Inter are ready to battle Europe's elite for the signing of Gent star Jonathan David. The Canada international is wanted by the likes of United, Borussia Dortmund, Arsenal, Tottenham and Ajax.

Juventus hold an interest in Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar, according to Calciomercato. Aouar is an option for Juve should the Serie A champions fail in their efforts to sign either United midfielder Paul Pogba or Brescia's Sandro Tonali.

Frank Lampard has been pleased with Kepa Arrizabalaga's reaction to being dropped, but Chelsea's head coach has refused to confirm whether the world's most expensive goalkeeper will return to the starting XI for Monday's home game against Manchester United.

Kepa - a £71.6million signing from Athletic Bilbao in 2018 - was surprisingly left out for the trip to Leicester City a fortnight ago, with the veteran Willy Caballero handed a rare Premier League start for a game that finished 2-2.

Asked whether his usual number one would return against United, a smiling Lampard told a news conference. "I've decided. You'll find out [on Monday]."

He added: "The reaction has been good, as I'd expect. [He has been] training hard, head down. I haven't had lots of conversations with him this week and it'll be a decision for me to make."

When it was suggested he may have been looking to give Kepa a "wake-up call", Lampard replied: "I wouldn't say that. I wasn't looking for that necessarily. I think I spoke around the Leicester game and said that I have to pick the team as I see it on form in every position, so it was just a selection on that day.

"Now I know with goalkeepers there's a bit more to it than that. We know it's a slightly different role than everybody else. But I want everybody's reaction all the time to be spot on and he came out the team, I know what that means, I know how that will feel for him.

"Every player has it, maybe [Lionel] Messi is the only one who doesn't, or [Cristiano] Ronaldo, but the rest of us do. And I had it in my career many a time, it's part and parcel of being a footballer and you have to show character in those little moments.

"I've been pleased with the reaction."

Lampard confirmed Christian Pulisic and long-term absentee Ruben Loftus-Cheek will not be fit to face United, while Tammy Abraham's availability remains unclear.

"Tammy is still feeling the effects [of a recent injury], to be honest," he explained. "We've had to take him out of training a couple of days this week. He trained today [Friday], so we're hopeful, but he will be assessed over the weekend.

Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic could make a surprise move to Atletico Madrid ahead of next season.

The Croatia international is reportedly unhappy at Camp Nou and has been linked with a move away since the off-season.

Now, a stay in LaLiga could eventuate, but away from Barcelona.

 

TOP STORY – ATLETICO BEGIN TALKS WITH BARCELONA'S RAKITIC

Atletico Madrid are already negotiating with Rakitic about a possible move at the end of the season, according to Cadena SER.

The 31-year-old is contracted at Barcelona, where he arrived from Sevilla in 2014, until 2021.

Rakitic admitted on Sunday he considered leaving the club in January, and it seems a move is likely come season's end.

ROUND-UP

- Amid reported interest from Manchester United and Arsenal, James Maddison is close to agreeing a new contract with Leicester City, according to The Telegraph. Maddison has starred for the Premier League club this season and is poised to sign a lucrative long-term deal.

- Frank Lampard is set to face a battle at Chelsea. The Mirror reports the head coach wants to sell Kepa Arrizabalaga – who became the world's most expensive goalkeeper when he arrived at Stamford Bridge from Athletic Bilbao for a reported £71.6million (€80m) in 2018 – but is set to face resistance from the board.

- Atletico Madrid and Roma are interested in Manchester United midfielder Jesse Lingard, according to ESPN. Lingard is coming out of contract in 2021 but also holds a one-year extension option at Old Trafford.

- Are Milan set for another coaching change? Bild reports Red Bull's head of international relations and scouting, Ralf Rangnick, is in advanced talks to become the Serie A club's head coach and sporting director once the season is over. Stefano Pioli only took charge of Milan in October, replacing Marco Giampaolo.

- Inter almost signed Islam Slimani, who is on loan at Monaco from Leicester City, last month, according to CalcioMercato, which reports the Serie A club's move came late in January before collapsing.

Kepa Arrizabalaga was left out of Chelsea's starting line-up for the Premier League fixture away at Leicester City.

The Spanish goalkeeper was in the XI for the Blues' last league outing - a 2-2 home draw with Arsenal - but was on the bench for the FA Cup trip to Hull City, with Willy Caballero selected for the 2-1 triumph in the fourth-round tie.

However, while Kepa was expected to come back in to face the Foxes, head coach Frank Lampard opted instead to retain Caballero.

Lampard confirmed ahead of kick-off at the King Power Stadium that it had not been easy to leave out the most expensive keeper in the world, revealing it was a "decision for today".

"With goalkeepers it is a decision you don't take lightly and you have to look at what it means," he told the club's official website.

"They are very close and they work hard together each day but it is one I felt I would make for this game and I trust in Willy, he trains brilliantly and is a great professional. I trust in them both but it is a decision for today."

Frank Lampard has urged Kepa Arrizabalaga to "go back to basics" and has assured the under-fire goalkeeper Chelsea are not looking to bring in a replacement this month.

Kepa was criticised for his slow reactions in the 1-0 loss to Newcastle United and 2-2 draw with Arsenal, the Gunners scoring twice from their only two shots on target.

The Spain international has the lowest save percentage of any goalkeeper in the Premier League and Lampard admitted the 25-year-old has to sharpen up.

"He will have to deal with the pressure. That is what football is," Lampard said a news conference previewing Chelsea's FA Cup fourth-round tie at Hull City. "Every player, no matter great you are in your career, the best, the absolute best of all time, will get criticised and you have to deal with it. 

"There is maybe slightly more spotlight on goalkeepers, but it is a similar thing, really. I think the important thing for that is not to get too embroiled in what is said on the outside and look at your own game. 

"It is always the basics, how hard can I work. This is not just Kepa, any player. If you feel in a lack of form, fight to get it back. Go back to basics.

"I think with Kepa he knows – he'll be honest that there have been some mistakes that have cost us goals. It is the nature of it, so that needs to improve."

Willy Caballero has started all three domestic cup games for Chelsea this season and will return against Hull.

Burnley's Nick Pope has been strongly linked with a move to Stamford Bridge, but Lampard is not looking to bring in another keeper in the closing stages of the window.

"I am not looking at it now. I am not affected by criticism from the outside as much," he said. "I am aware of it, not affected by it."

Chelsea beat Nottingham Forest 2-0 in round three of the FA Cup and face another Championship side in Hull this weekend.

Lampard won the competition four times as a player and is targeting another run in his debut managerial campaign at Stamford Bridge.

"We just want to win it. We respect the FA Cup. I do, the players do and this club has been fortunate to win it a number of times in the modern era," he said.

"I don't think we evaluate it like what's the best chance of us with top four and is it more important than the FA Cup.

"People will argue that but I don't need to get into that battle. We are professionals so can we win the game and get to the next round."

Frank Lampard encouraged Kepa Arrizabalaga to stand up under scrutiny following Chelsea's wasteful 2-2 Premier League draw against Arsenal on Tuesday.

Spain international Kepa, whose form has been called into question, appeared slow to react to Hector Bellerin's curling equaliser in the 87th minute at Stamford Bridge.

Jorginho and Cesar Azpilicueta earlier scored either side of Gabriel Martinelli's solo effort but the Blues were left to rue two dropped points despite having a man advantage for over an hour following David Luiz's red card.

"I know there's a focus on him at the minute," Lampard said when asked about Kepa.

"That's top-line football. Yeah, with his feet, a couple of times he took too long and nearly gave it away. Sometimes that can change the momentum of a game.

"That's something he will know, has to look at and we will look at. It's normal.

"Any player, particularly goalkeepers, people will look at you. That's when you stand up and show the mettle you've got. He is not the only one.

"We are in fourth position, which is seen as pretty good. I know and we know there should be another 10 points on the board at least on performance. All of us need to look at those finer details."

Chelsea also have concerns at the other end, with Tammy Abraham in visible discomfort during the latter stages of the game after sliding into the advertising hoarding.

Lampard said he was unsure about the severity of the injury, which resulted in the striker being helped off at full-time.

"I don't know. He has got a bang on his ankle. He had ice on it," the Blues boss said.

"I haven't spoken to him yet, so I can't really update you on that."

Christian Pulisic, meanwhile, is not expected to return from an adductor problem until after the February break.

Faltering Chelsea face another tricky test in their bid for a top-four finish on Tuesday when they welcome London rivals Arsenal, who themselves are in great need of a positive result.

After a positive start to the season under Frank Lampard, Chelsea have lost ground on the top three and particularly suffered in recent weeks, winning only two of their past five matches in the Premier League.

But at least they are in the top four, a situation Arsenal could only dream of at the moment. The Gunners head to Stamford Bridge 10 points adrift of their hosts and well down the table in 10th.

It had been hoped Mikel Arteta's arrival as coach would inspire an instant improvement, potentially a catalyst for a charge up the table in the second half of the campaign.

But one win – a 2-0 victory over an underwhelming Manchester United – in five matches shows they still have a long way to go.

 

BIG SIX STRUGGLES SHOW THE ROAD IS LONG

Lampard's tenure at Chelsea got off to a pretty poor start, as his side went down 4-0 to United at Old Trafford and the Blues did not manage a victory over a fellow "big six" club until they faced Tottenham in December.

A 2-0 victory over Jose Mourinho's side at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium could not inspire Chelsea to a win over Southampton on Boxing Day, but the Blues bounced back in their next outing against Arteta's Arsenal.

The Gunners made a dominant start and could easily have been more than a goal ahead, yet Chelsea rallied, with Jorginho and Tammy Abraham scoring late on to turn the game on its head, leaving Lampard with two wins, and three defeats from his matches against the other "big six" teams.

Arsenal, meanwhile, have only managed one such victory, which came against United - Arteta's only league win to date.

However, they were certainly no better off under Unai Emery, who managed draws against United and Tottenham, but suffered a 3-1 defeat to Liverpool, while Arsenal were beaten 3-0 by Manchester City when Freddie Ljungberg was in interim charge.

Leicester City have been the surprise package so far this season and neither Chelsea or Arsenal have beaten the Foxes or claimed wins over either of the top two, showing just how big the gap is.

HEAD-TO-HEAD: KEPA ARRIZABALAGA v BERND LENO

With neither side particularly defensively oriented, the two goalkeepers could find themselves busy on Tuesday – and Kepa will be particularly eager for a big performance.

The Spaniard was again in the spotlight in Chelsea's defeat to Newcastle United, with many of the opinion he could have done more to prevent Isaac Hayden's winner deep into second-half stoppage time.

It has since come to light that, of the goalkeepers to play five or more times in the Premier League this season, only Angus Gunn (54.55 per cent) has a worse save percentage than Kepa (57.14 per cent).

By comparison, Leno – who has by no means been utterly convincing at Arsenal – has a 72.4 save percentage. Eight goalkeepers with five or more appearances this term have a better record.

Both Kepa and Leno have played 23 times in the league in 2019-20, though the former just about boasts a better goals conceded record (30 and 32).

FORM GUIDE

Chelsea have lost six times at Stamford Bridge across all competitions this season. The last time they suffered more home defeats was in 1994-95 when the Blues lost seven games on their own turf.

Arsenal do not exactly boast an inspiring away record, though, and they have won just one of their past 10 Premier League matches on the road.

Lampard is a popular figure among Chelsea fans, though his team has already lost as many times this term as Maurizio Sarri's side did in all of the 2018-19 season.

But despite the relative troubles of both sides, their futures could be bright. After all, only Norwich City (6,245 minutes) have played under-21 players more frequently than Chelsea (5,736 minutes) and the Gunners (4,091 minutes).

One of those young players to have flourished for Arsenal is Gabriel Martinelli. The Brazilian has netted nine goals in 10 starts across all competitions in 2019-20, and he could become the first 18-year-old to score in successive Premier League games for the club since Nicolas Anelka in 1998.

HISTORY SAYS…

Chelsea are looking to complete a Premier League double over Arsenal for the fifth time (2005-06, 2009-10, 2012-13 and 2015-16). Only Liverpool and Man United (both five times) have done this against the Gunners on as many as five occasions.

Lampard is looking to become the first English Chelsea manager to do the league double against Arsenal since Dave Sexton in 1969-70.

Arsenal are winless in their past seven Premier League away games against Chelsea (D1 L6) since winning 5-3 in October 2011. However, no team has won more Premier League away games at Stamford Bridge than the Gunners (seven).

The Blues have lost once in their past eight home London derbies in the Premier League (W6 D1), although it came last time out against West Ham in November. They have not lost successive local clashes in the league at Stamford Bridge since October 1999, when the second defeat in that run came against Arsenal, the first was to West Ham.

The Gunners are winless in 24 Premier League away games against 'big six' teams (D9 L15), since a 2-0 win at City in January 2015.

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