Currently on the fourth place in the English Premier League, Chelsea has seen a rough stretch of some 15 games already. After starting well, Frank Lampard’s men have only won three of their last ten games and one in five.
Hungry up-and-coming teams like Tottenham Hotspur and even Manchester United are breathing down Chelsea’s neck, with Spurs only four points behind and ManU six – and Sheffield United in the middle, five points behind. The expectations were not sky-high for Frank Lampard’s first season as the manager of his former club, since there was a transfer ban, the team lost key player Eden Hazard and were unable to strengthen any area of the team except for the returning loans such as Christian Pulisic. The transfer ban was eventually lifted after appeals already for the January transfer window and reportedly Chelsea had a war chest of 100 something million pounds at their disposal. But absolutely nothing happened.
It is admirable how Frank Lampard trusts his young squad and has given the youngsters a chance in the spotlight. Tammy Abraham has broken through this season, scoring 13 goals. Mason Mount has taken strides to becoming a force in the offense and a better player overall, as has Christian Pulisic, who finally got his chance at Chelsea. In the defense, Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rüdiger have taken control while Reece James is another break-through youngster. Young core complimented by more experienced and established players, such as Ngolo Kante, Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic, Cesar Azpilicueta, Pedro and Willian have given Frank Lampard a reliable backbone. Still their results and performances are dwindling and it does seem something’s missing: there’s a hole the size of Eden Hazard in the team.
Looking back at the acquisitions made during the transfer window, it is surprising Chelsea stood still and did nothing. While there might’ve not been exactly an Eden Hazard available, the closest rivals managed to bolster their teams and got exactly what the doctor order – if maybe in a bit diluted packages. Without adding more quality to his team, Lampard took a huge gamble in the hopes that the youngsters keep their level, will not slump at any point and most importantly, stay healthy.
Chelsea vs Manchester United (1×2): 1.83 – 3.75 – 4.33