Chelsea’s opening day 4-0 defeat to Manchester United looked like an ominous sign back in August. The Blues had been steam-rolled by the Old Trafford side as Frank Lampard’s hopes of a dream start as head coach were dashed to pieces. After that result, you could have forgiven Chelsea fans for biting their nails at the prospect of the season ahead.
However, with Chelsea’s October results in the Premier League representing an upturn in form, there are signs that Lampard’s side are well and truly on the up. This has been particularly evident in the Champions League, where Chelsea have won challenging games against Lille and Ajax away from home.
There had been a certain sense of haphazardness to Chelsea’s performances in the early stages of the season. Any swift attacking play that was demonstrated by the team was tempered by defensive ineptitude and ill-discipline.
Chelsea’s defensive record in the Premier League is still a worry after
conceding 16 goals in their 10 games played at the time of writing, but recent performances have suggested that Chelsea are improving in all areas of the field.
The attacking exploits of young home-grown stars like Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount have been well documented, but the win against Burnley saw Christian Pulisic step to the fore.
The American bagged a hat-trick at Turf Moor, silencing those who have doubted his ability, and giving Lampard plenty to think about moving forward. The nature of Chelsea’s attacking competence is that those on the fringes of the first team squad are forced to raise their game if they want to improve, and that’s exactly what Pulisic has done.
It’s difficult to say how much Chelsea can be expected to achieve this season. It was always going to be a campaign geared towards Lampard settling into his role – to lay the foundation for a future where the managerial chopping and changing that has defined the club over the last decade can be consigned to the past.
However, with Tottenham Hotspur, Man United and Arsenal struggling at times already this season, Chelsea will have aspirations of beating all three of those teams to the coveted Champions League spots.
With the title looking like a battle between Manchester City and Liverpool once again, Chelsea’s best chance of silverware could be in Europe. The club have previous in winning the Champions League against the odds, having claimed their maiden triumph in 2012 after defeating Barcelona in the semi- finals and Bayern Munich in the final.
This youthful, attacking side could be well-suited to the Champions League knockout stage. With a couple of hard-fought away wins already in the
competition, Chelsea could be a dark horse in the Champions League betting odds and progress to the latter stages.
The most important thing for Chelsea fans is that the squad is beginning to click under Lampard’s leadership. His management of his young players has belied his inexperience as a coach as Abraham, Mount, and Fikayo Tomori have come on leaps and bounds since Lampard took the helm.
It’s not an easy thing to go from playing in the Championship to representing one of the Premier League’s biggest clubs, but Chelsea’s youngsters have excelled under Lampard’s guidance.
The doom and gloom that had surrounded the club after the departure of Eden Hazard in the summer has now been lifted, and the quality of Chelsea’s young players has breathed new life into the supporters who now have a young, talented team to get behind.
The youthful characteristics of this Chelsea side are reflective of a manager also cutting his teeth in the Premier League. The result is that Chelsea are as exciting to watch now as they’ve ever been over the last ten years.