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9 hours ago, Puliiszola said:

No, the FACT that you went off the face of the earth when we were winning and then have the gall of critisizing FL and the team for playing out a well played draw against a team that has beaten both United and city while scoring 8 goals and conceding just 1 is the definition of "hating". 

Understand what the manager is trying to do here. He knows it's going to be close, it's as important to not lose as it is to win a 6 pointer against Spurs/United. 

We have a decent squad and if we simply don't lose to any of the big teams and keep winning against the sp called "small teams", it should be more than enough. 

But don't let these "facts" get in the way of whatever agenda you try to live everything upto. Frankly, it's pathetic.

I don't even look at my comment as criticising anyone... Forum is for discussion, I asked a question. 

Went off the face of the earth? I am here everyday. 

You have wrong impression that you like Frank more than me. 

What do I need to write after we win against smaller side to make you happy? :lol: 

And btw we did not have good games against Newcastle and Rennes x2. 

If Clippers win against Knicks or some other horrible side do you go with: oh, that was great game management by Doc Rivers? No you don't because coaches are pretty much irrelevant in these kind of games. 

 

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I can't actually believe how well coached we are. Puts it in further perspective when you see the garbage United and Arsenal are spewing. I love the fact Frank isn't so stubborn to try and do it

Very confused, can only assume the ones being somewhat negative did not watch the game? Aside from Dave and Zouma, I thought we played really well against the European Champions. I was shocked at time

Our pressing game was superb, and made all the difference today! 4-3-3 with Mount and Havertz to harass opponents and Kante to sweep up behind...that's the way to go. And we have two bombing

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1 hour ago, NikkiCFC said:

I don't even look at my comment as criticising anymore... Forum is for discussion, I asked a question. 

Went off the face of the earth? I am here everyday. 

You have wrong impression that you like Frank more than me. 

What do I need to write after we win against smaller side to make you happy? :lol: 

And btw we did not have good games against Newcastle and Rennes x2. 

If Clippers win against Knicks or some other horrible side do you go with: oh, that was great game management by Doc Rivers? No you don't because coaches are pretty much irrelevant in these kind of games. 

 

Bold, what??

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6 minutes ago, Mário César said:

Bold, what??

If I remember we were great in the first 25 minutes or something and not so much after that? All our offensive players were frustrating. But after international break 3 points is all that matters I don't care how just take it. 

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Full, complete 90 minutes performance is gonna be few and far between in this crazy season for most teams really. Matches will likely be won by who can make their dominance count when they are on top, take their opportunities when they come and manage games better than the others.

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I think FL should change his way of thinking. He should be more confident that Chelsea can challenge all teams with current squad. He should make players believe that too. If so, Chelsea will have a chance. In case we can not achieve what we want, at least, we have more valuable lessons for next seasons. Currently, when Chelsea plays Big 6, we try not to lose and we are happy with that.  I don't think that is the winner's attitude. We can be in top 4 but we cannot be the champion.

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13 hours ago, NikkiCFC said:

I don't even look at my comment as criticising anyone... Forum is for discussion, I asked a question. 

Went off the face of the earth? I am here everyday. 

You have wrong impression that you like Frank more than me. 

What do I need to write after we win against smaller side to make you happy? :lol: 

And btw we did not have good games against Newcastle and Rennes x2. 

If Clippers win against Knicks or some other horrible side do you go with: oh, that was great game management by Doc Rivers? No you don't because coaches are pretty much irrelevant in these kind of games. 

 

Lol. 

The same Newcastle who have already taken points off Spurs and wolves and beaten Everton? The same one? Oh definitely, that was a foregone conclusion. 

The sheer arrogance and entitlememt in that post in mind numbing. 

If it was THAT easy a season then the top of the table team won't be having 21 points in 10 games. Understand, what is happening all over the world. Be it with city, barca, RM, Liverpool etc. 

Every win matters, and there is literally no place for this kind of entitlement in the game at the moment. 

Are you comparing NBA which is a totally different format where all you have to do in regular season is be top 8 in 15, and then get a clean slate, to EPL where every win matters? Problem with doc Rivers was not that he could not get his team to the play offs, it IS the fact that in 100 years of nba, there have been only 13 times that a team has lost from 3-1 up in a series and rivers has lost it 4 times. 4 in 13 all time. Do you understand the issue here? Stop comparing apples to oranges and understand the difference in the 2 games. 

We cried that FL can't set up defensively, we have conceded 2 goals in 9 games. 2 freaking goals in 9 games!!!! That's a better average than even the 15 in 38 under Jose. That's not JUST commendable for a team which was conceding 3 against wba and soton, but commendable for any team, any where. Also, this is a very young and a very "new" team. Attack will take time to gel, it will take time to get that chemistry. But atleast we have our best formation in 4-3-3 which looks stable in defence and threatening in attack. The mid is working great with getting the best out of mount and kante. There are a 100 +ves to probably 1 -ve. 

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Lampard vs Mourinho: the simmering rivalry at the top

https://theathletic.com/2226840/2020/11/29/chelsea-tottenham-lampard-mourinho/

LAMPARD-MOURINHO-2-scaled-e1606732269994-1024x683.jpg

There was a period when Frank Lampard took great satisfaction in winning games for Jose Mourinho. Now there are few people he wants to beat more.

Chelsea’s goalless draw with Tottenham won’t live long in the memory. It was not a great way to celebrate Roman Abramovich’s 1,000th game as owner of the west London club, nor the kind of quality you would expect from two teams who started the afternoon knowing they had a chance to end it top of the Premier League after 10 matches.

It was left to Lampard and Mourinho to provide the intrigue, the interest. This is a growing rivalry in the Premier League between two men, who used to regard themselves the strongest of allies when they won five major trophies together as player and manager for Chelsea between 2004-07.

Lampard secured a Premier League double over Mourinho’s Spurs last season, but this encounter seemed to hold even greater importance for the Englishman. The Athletic kept a close eye on the 42-year-old before, during and after the London derby to see how he fared.


The prologue

To outsiders, it is perhaps one of the sport’s biggest surprises that the pair have demonstrated any kind of tension toward each other since Lampard came into management.

Their touchline exchange during Tottenham’s EFL Cup victory in September brought the situation to light once again at an early stage in the season. But the seeds of the new dynamic were sown before Lampard even collected his coaching badges.

Mourinho was the man in charge when Lampard’s 13-year career as a Chelsea player came to an end in 2014. Throughout the course of that last campaign, the club’s all-time leading scorer increasingly became a peripheral figure. He ended up starting just 20 Premier League games.

There was no grand farewell in front of the home fans to recognise his vast contribution. The “will he? won’t he?” saga over whether Chelsea would offer a contract extension wasn’t resolved until after the campaign was over.

Chelsea let him go and, after initially joining New York City on loan, Lampard ended up at Chelsea’s main rivals for the title the following year — Manchester City.

Sources have told The Athletic that this was the scenario where the issues began. It is understood Mourinho wasn’t happy Lampard made the move. The Portuguese quickly made a decision to hand Lampard’s prized No 8 shirt, the one he scored all 211 goals in, to Oscar as a show that he’d moved on.

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When Chelsea fans continued to sing Lampard’s name, including after he scored against them in a 1-1 draw at Etihad Stadium, Mourinho was heard questioning those around him why the supporters continued to show such affection for a player who had ended up going to Manchester City.

Lampard continued to prey on Mourinho’s mind. When Chelsea lost 5-3 at Tottenham on New Year’s Day in 2015, City only trailed them on alphabetical order having been level on points, goal difference and even goals scored.

Up to that stage, Chelsea had played a more expansive game. But insiders have told The Athletic that one of the reasons Mourinho took a more pragmatic approach in the second half of that season was because he was so worried Lampard would fire Manchester City to the championship instead. The prospect troubled him constantly, although in the end Chelsea moved clear to secure his third, and last, Premier League trophy.

Still, all seemed well between them when Lampard took his first post at Derby and led the Championship club to victory, albeit on penalties, against Mourinho’s Manchester United in 2018.

But when Lampard took the Chelsea job a year later, Mourinho bared his teeth. A humbling 4-0 loss at Manchester United was seized upon by Mourinho, who was sitting in the Sky Sports studio working as a pundit. The line-up and tactics were questioned, much to the younger man’s surprise.

Then of course Mourinho replaced Mauricio Pochettino as head coach of Chelsea’s fierce rivals Tottenham. As one agent explains: “Jose does not find it easy to keep a relationship with a competitor unless it suits him.” This became all the more evident when Chelsea beat Spurs home and away, two results which helped them secure a top-four finish ahead of the north London outfit.

A measure of Mourinho’s desire to beat his old club and former player came in the Amazon documentary, where he regularly mentioned Chelsea’s name.

And while Lampard stressed their bond was still good ahead of this contest, he bristled in the pre-match press conference about Mourinho’s suggestion he was under pressure to deliver silverware this season. It set things up for another fascinating duel between the pair.


Pre-match

No one had seen Lampard like this. Usually little of note takes place during training drills before the kick-off, but it was a different story this time around.

The Chelsea coach has been seen on the pitch ahead of matches before, yet his body language and demeanour this time were completely different. It was almost like he was fighting the urge not to kick a ball himself, to actually be part of the derby.

He paced the turf struggling to contain his nervous energy. Occasionally Lampard broke off to have an in-depth chat with one of his players, Ben Chilwell and Mateo Kovacic were two of those offered words of advice.

As one exercise took place, he’d break out in encouraging applause, even if nothing particularly special had occurred. Then he’d walk off again before remembering to clap once more.

Occasionally his gaze would wander to what was going on at the other end of the pitch, where the Tottenham players were gathered. Mourinho was nowhere to be seen, but Lampard’s stare was intense, as if he was trying to glean some kind of insight into what the visitors were planning.

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As Chelsea’s session finished, Lampard was one of the last men off the field, shouting more words of encouragement to the men in blue.


Early stages

Unlike the league fixtures against Mourinho last season, Lampard didn’t switch to three at the back and opted for the more attacking 4-3-3 system which has worked so well of late.

When Mourinho strolled out on to his old stomping ground, he soon walked over to Chelsea’s dugout, fist-bumping assistants Jody Morris and Joe Edwards. Noticeably Lampard had yet to emerge from the tunnel and when he did, there was a more brief and curt exchange between the two. There was a sign of respect, yes, but little warmth.

Again Lampard exuded the same body language from the warm-up. Even before referee Paul Tierney had blown his whistle, the former England international was patrolling his technical area anxiously as if the game was already under way.

As the two sides jabbed at each other tentatively, Lampard was barking instructions at his men, pointing where to pass, where the dangers lie, annoyed when they weren’t pressing the visitors enough.

With Chelsea labouring as an attacking force, a tame effort from Hakim Ziyech their only shot on target in the first half, Lampard did his best to keep calm. But when decisions to award Tottenham a free kick for fouls by Thiago Silva and N’Golo Kante went against his team, he made his displeasure known to fourth official Mike Dean.

Mourinho was running down the touchline, toward the away dressing room outside the ground, before the half-time whistle blew. It was an insight into how positive he was feeling about proceedings.


Second half

Once again Lampard was out after Mourinho, clearly taking advantage of every minute to speak to his players. Despite being level at 0-0, Chelsea had posed little attacking threat. Something had to improve.

And so Chelsea did. Out of the two managers, Lampard’s half-time team talk appeared to have the greater effect, as his team increasingly pushed Mourinho’s side back toward their own goal.

Two crosses from Reece James and one from Timo Werner weren’t converted by Tammy Abraham. Rather than show signs of frustration, Lampard expressed words of encouragement.

The constant appealing and complaining over every 50-50 challenge from the away dug-out started to rankle. Sergio Reguilon made the most of a challenge to get Reece James booked. Lampard wasn’t pleased.

A break in play for an injury with 15 minutes to go was seized upon by Lampard, using the opportunity to talk to Abraham and James once more. Once the chat was completed, some old skills were shown as he backheeled some water bottles back toward his bench.

Christian Pulisic, Olivier Giroud and Kai Havertz were all introduced in the last 16 minutes as Lampard pushed for the win, but perhaps it was too little too late.

Mourinho, who masterminded many defensive performances in two spells as Chelsea manager, had repeated the trick against them. The brief handshake at the final whistle was polite, however it was the post-match duties which brought their relationship back under the microscope.


Post-match

The two questions which irked Lampard the most during the media press conference had one thing in common: Mourinho.

Tottenham’s manager had gone first and unsurprisingly took the opportunity to spin things in his favour. His players were disappointed at failing to win (despite having only one shot on target). Mourinho also attempted to play down their title hopes — “we’re not a horse, we’re a pony” — even though they’d moved back into first place. On top of that, he once again put Chelsea on a pedestal as the more serious challenger just as he had while speaking to the media on Friday.

The look of angst from Lampard spoke volumes when Mourinho’s thoughts were put to him: “It’s Jose’s call to say it as he sees it from his end, but from the outside they are top of the league, it’s very close at the top. If we’re contenders then they have to be contenders.”

But what about his comments that you’ll be happy to be just two points behind Spurs at this stage? Cue more signs of annoyance. “I suppose it’s irrelevant what the feeling is after the game from Jose’s point of view for us,” Lampard replied tersely. “We just have to focus on ourselves. I don’t know what to say about that to be honest.”

Lampard knows Mourinho’s ploys of using a press conference to irk opposition coaches from their four years of working together and this response came across as his way of saying that he won’t fall for it.

These two sides next meet on February 3. The sparring between the two men at the helm will again be fascinating to watch.

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Why Chelsea are scoring less in big games but there’s no reason to panic

https://theathletic.com/2229105/2020/11/30/chelsea-big-games-scoring-frank-lampard/

Chelsea-Timo-Werner-Joe-Rodon-scaled-e1606749925437-1024x682.jpg

After playing out a tight and tense goalless draw against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge that might have quantum-leaped straight from his mid-2000s heyday, Jose Mourinho saw an opportunity for some suitably low-key mischief.

“We came here to win and we didn’t,” he said, insisting that his Tottenham Hotspur players weren’t happy. “We didn’t because the opponent was defensively very good. They didn’t take risks.”

In reality, of course, it was Mourinho’s aversion to risk that set the tone for the entire game. Moussa Sissoko spent much of his time as an additional right-sided defender, focusing the majority of his energy on helping Serge Aurier to negate the incisive runs of Timo Werner from Chelsea’s left flank. His central midfield partner, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, dropped so deep at times in long spells out of possession that he became an additional centre-back.

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Moussa Sissoko’s touch map against Chelsea

Despite some promising moments in transition and a late opportunity for Giovani Lo Celso, Tottenham had just one shot on target in the match and their expected goals (xG) rating for the game was 0.19. Crystal Palace in October (an xG of 0.15) are the only team to present less of an attacking threat against Chelsea this season.

But behind the Mourinho mischief lay a kernel of truth. Chelsea were noticeably more cautious than in recent weeks, probing in possession but wary of Tottenham’s counter-attacking threat and even more willing to send in a barrage of crosses — they registered 22 for the match from open play, 11 in each half — without committing large numbers to attack the penalty area. They might have won anyway had Tammy Abraham converted one of the better deliveries but their xG rating of 0.83 underlined the wariness in the back of Frank Lampard’s mind.

There seems to have been a broader shift in Lampard’s approach to these bigger matches. Last season, his tenure began with a 4-0 humbling by Manchester United at Old Trafford in which Chelsea played much better than the scoreline suggested but were clinically punished on the break. All in all, they kept just one clean sheet in 10 Premier League matches against other members of the “big six” in 2019-20 (2-0 away to Tottenham), and one clean sheet in eight Champions League games against Valencia, Ajax, Lille and Bayern Munich (1-0 away to Ajax).

This season, Chelsea have already kept out Sevilla and Tottenham at Stamford Bridge, and held United to a 0-0 draw at Old Trafford. Their only defeat of the season — a 2-0 loss at home to Liverpool in September — was conditioned by a red card for Andreas Christensen and a Kepa Arrizabalaga howler. The arrivals of Edouard Mendy and Thiago Silva have ensured there is no longer a sense of blind panic whenever a talented team advances on Lampard’s defence with scoring intent.

That constitutes real progress. Consistent defensive stability is essential if this young, new-look Chelsea team is to seriously contend for major silverware this season. But the flipside of the coin cannot be ignored: Lampard’s team also failed to score against Liverpool, Sevilla, United and Tottenham and, in truth, rarely even looked capable of doing so.

It would be wrong to claim that each game followed the same pattern. Liverpool’s win at Stamford Bridge was the product of unique circumstances while Chelsea were forced to defend without the ball for long stretches against Sevilla and United.

All three were played before Lampard shifted to the 4-3-3 system that has given this team a slick and sustainable identity. They enjoyed 60.3 per cent possession against Tottenham, playing the majority of the game in the opposition half and stifling their opponents’ counter-attacking hopes almost entirely after half-time, led by the boundless N’Golo Kante.

Chelsea-average-positions-vs-Tottenham.png

Chelsea’s average positions against Tottenham

Lampard’s attacking philosophy, however, was similar on each occasion: rather than making a tactical commitment to consistently push into the opposition penalty area in significant numbers, he prioritised balance and tasked his talented attackers with attempting to produce moments of individual magic or forcing the mistake that would win the match for Chelsea. It’s an approach that looks far more viable now — following the spectacular spending spree that brought Werner, Hakim Ziyech and Kai Havertz to Stamford Bridge — than it would have been last season.

Chelsea still had good moments against Tottenham, working the ball into their attackers in the right positions only to be undermined by poor execution before Hugo Lloris could be tested. Abraham failed to connect properly with two brilliant Reece James crosses (Olivier Giroud was an interested onlooker from the bench), Werner was nullified apart from a superb offside goal and Ziyech endured his most wayward passing game since arriving in England. On another day, even Mourinho’s extreme caution might not have been enough to ensure a Chelsea clean sheet.

Greater precision in the final third should be a natural consequence of this Chelsea group growing in familiarity as the season progresses and maybe that alone will be enough to solve their scoring issues in big games. If not, Lampard might be required to make further tactical tweaks to give his team the right balance between defence and attack.

Most encouraging for Chelsea fans should be the fact that Lampard is navigating this season like a manager fully aware of the potential stakes. Injuries have made Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool juggernaut look mortal again, and Manchester City look a long way from the aura of invincibility they projected under Pep Guardiola two years ago. It’s unlikely that this season’s Premier League title winners will need to trouble the 100-point barrier — a reality that should stir the ambitions of any team in the top-four conversation.

The margin for error may be larger than previous seasons, but there are more high-pressure matches between aspiring title contenders. Every mistake matters more and, for the most part, not losing is more important than winning. Although getting the better of the “xG battle” — as Chelsea twice did in defeat to Liverpool last season — is an encouraging broader signal of a team’s development under a manager, it is no guarantee of Premier League points.

A cagey draw with a dangerous opponent is no bad thing providing that business is taken care of against inferior ones and Chelsea have dispatched Burnley, Sheffield United and Newcastle United with promising ease in recent weeks.

In this of all seasons, such a combination can easily be the blueprint to contend for a title. Lampard knows that and so too does Mourinho, regardless of what he says publicly.

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Orgasmic and clearly straight from the training ground. Great build up, fantastic run from Havertz. Notice how Pulisic's run, whilst slight, opens up enough time and room for a great, composed finish from Giroud. Superb team goal and very glad Frank and the coaching team are now consistently playing players in their best position, and so so happy we aren't prioritising 4-2-3-1 right now (we don't have the right midfielders for this atm and also it alienates a lot of players out of their best positions). 

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1 hour ago, The Skipper said:

Orgasmic and clearly straight from the training ground. Great build up, fantastic run from Havertz. Notice how Pulisic's run, whilst slight, opens up enough time and room for a great, composed finish from Giroud. Superb team goal and very glad Frank and the coaching team are now consistently playing players in their best position, and so so happy we aren't prioritising 4-2-3-1 right now (we don't have the right midfielders for this atm and also it alienates a lot of players out of their best positions). 

Yup. There are so many positives right now. It's so good to see

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7 hours ago, The Skipper said:
Orgasmic and clearly straight from the training ground. Great build up, fantastic run from Havertz. Notice how Pulisic's run, whilst slight, opens up enough time and room for a great, composed finish from Giroud. Superb team goal and very glad Frank and the coaching team are now consistently playing players in their best position, and so so happy we aren't prioritising 4-2-3-1 right now (we don't have the right midfielders for this atm and also it alienates a lot of players out of their best positions). 

wE oNlY sCoRe FrOm CrOsSes :philjones

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Lampard deserves credit for keeping so many players happy

https://theathletic.com/2236532/2020/12/03/lampard-rotation-giroud-hudson-odoi/

chelsea-lampard-rotation.jpg

In the midst of Olivier Giroud Appreciation Night at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium, Frank Lampard took the opportunity highlight the other big positive of what, given the context, must be considered one of Chelsea’s most impressive performances of the season against Sevilla.

“To make nine changes for the game… players were deserving to play, because I’ve seen them training well,” Lampard said. “Some players can get their heads down if they’re not playing lots of minutes, and that’s always the worry when you make that level of changes.

“But the focus and concentration of the team (was there), the moments to suffer, which we always will do against a team like this in the first half. We dealt with things, we defended well, we were organised, and some of our play was great, whether it was our comfort on the ball, our counter-attacking at pace to cause a threat to them. There were so many big pluses from tonight and we need to continue with that.”

This was a double victory for Lampard. Chelsea are now guaranteed to progress to the Champions League knockout stage as winners of Group E, giving them seeded status in the round of 16. While that doesn’t guarantee a longer European adventure than last season — Juventus, Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain could all end up in Pot 2 — it does improve the chances of further progress. Since the current tournament structure was introduced in 2003-04, group winners have advanced to the quarter-finals in 94 of 136 ties, or 69.2 per cent of the time. There can also be no February rematch with Group A winners Bayern Munich.

But just as significantly in the more immediate term, beating Sevilla renders next week’s match against Krasnodar at Stamford Bridge a dead rubber. Lampard can now unashamedly prioritise tricky Premier League games against Leeds United and Everton either side of it, giving Chelsea the best possible chance to maintain domestic momentum heading into a festive fixture schedule their manager has repeatedly described as “brutal”. For now, at least, most of the selection decisions should be straightforward.

Squad rotation was always going to be one of the big challenges for Lampard in the first half of this season, particularly when it became clear that Marina Granovskaia wasn’t going to be able to find favourable suitors for Chelsea’s surplus players in a relatively dry summer transfer window. While he might have given more minutes to certain individuals — Callum Hudson-Odoi has done well to keep his morale up while Giroud, making his first Chelsea start since September, provided an emphatic reminder of his enduring value — the evidence suggests he has got more right than wrong over the last three months.

Chelsea have fielded more players (26) in the Premier League than any other team so far this season. That is due in part to the fact that Lampard oscillated between Kepa Arrizabalaga and Willy Caballero before Edouard Mendy arrived to settle the goalkeeper situation, and also shifted between different tactical systems before arriving at the expansive 4-3-3 that has powered the team’s run of seven wins in eight games.

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Despite using the early months of the season to bed in new signings in key positions, deal with untimely injuries and search for a coherent on-pitch identity, Lampard has reached the first week of December third in the Premier League, only two points off top spot — with Chelsea’s joint-best tally of 22 goals in the competition scored by 11 different players — and qualified as Champions League group winners with a game to spare. It has been a collective effort that reflects well upon the manager’s ability to keep everyone invested in the project.

Lampard regularly insists that everyone at Cobham is training well, but the proof of a healthy squad dynamic is what happens on the pitch. The fluidity in Chelsea’s play and the comprehensive nature of their victory over Sevilla was the ultimate vindication of the culture he has established, even if it must be noted that Julen Lopetegui also made seven changes. Arguably most encouraging were the solid performances in defence of Emerson Palmieri and Andreas Christensen, two players who hadn’t started for more than six weeks.

Political problems have been navigated with bold decisions. Rather than freezing out Antonio Rudiger after the market dried up at the end of the transfer window, Lampard has brought him back into the fold, making him the deputy of choice for Thiago Silva — who has been rested at the right times — and being rewarded with improved form. Mendy’s form has largely solved the other big headache caused by dropping Kepa, but Lampard has also prioritised defensive stability ahead of giving Chelsea’s club-record signing another shot at rehabilitation in one of the lesser Champions League group games, even while rotating elsewhere.

Only two senior outfielders have been utterly reduced to the role of bystanders: Marcos Alonso, who has paid a high price for “coachgate” at West Bromwich Albion in September, and Fikayo Tomori. The latter’s lack of minutes has been harsh and harder to explain, but his argument for playing time will only get weaker now that all four of the centre-backs ahead of him in Lampard’s pecking order have contributed to clean sheets in recent weeks. Ross Barkley and Ruben Loftus-Cheek have not been significantly missed from midfield since leaving on loan.

We are now less than a month away from January, which will provide another opportunity to find solutions for those in the squad who are unhappy with their status. Lampard, for the first time, has everyone fit and available — even Billy Gilmour, who got his first senior minutes of the season off the bench against Sevilla. Chelsea will need them all, particularly to get through the 48-hour turnaround between Arsenal away on Boxing Day and Aston Villa at home on December 28. You can expect Lampard to voice his displeasure at the situation, but he is better equipped than most to deal with it.

Three months into a uniquely challenging season, Chelsea are pretty much exactly where they hoped they would be in the Premier League and Champions League. More promising still, for the greater tests that lie ahead, is the fact that Lampard has managed to keep almost all of his players with him so far.

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1 hour ago, Tomo said:

If Lampard can become half as good a tactican as he is a squad builder then wow.

I actually believe tactically he has been sound all season, def better than last season. Of course he is learning as we go ahead but so do even elite managers, its clear what he demands and he is getting it out the players. I really like what im seeing and if we dont get injury galour we can only get better.

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3 minutes ago, Atomiswave said:

I actually believe tactically he has been sound all season, def better than last season. Of course he is learning as we go ahead but so do even elite managers, its clear what he demands and he is getting it out the players. I really like what im seeing and if we dont get injury galour we can only get better.

There's been unbelievable improvement in recent weeks but i'm still cautious about totally declaring at this point, i thought he cracked the inconsistency's just before lockdown.

The base style of play has by inlarge been great (bar the restart period) it's the in game tweeks and subs where i feel there was/is room for improvement.

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5 minutes ago, Tomo said:

There's been unbelievable improvement in recent weeks but i'm still cautious about totally declaring at this point, i thought he cracked the inconsistency's just before lockdown.

The base style of play has by inlarge been great (bar the restart period) it's the in game tweeks and subs where i feel there was/is room for improvement.

I can def agree with that, his subs and the timing of them need work but otherwise very pleased so far.

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2 hours ago, Tomo said:

If Lampard can become half as good a tactican as he is a squad builder then wow.

The Athletic needs to find out what happened after that Southampton because while there is a long way to go and there will be moments where we have to suffer, everything started to fall into place and click since then. And this isn't just because of the players returning etc either. 

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