Chelsea need to regroup and react after a massive wake-up call against West Ham.

Frank Lampard described Saturday’s performance and defeat against West Ham as “a wake-up call for everyone at the football club” and we ...

Frank Lampard described Saturday’s performance and defeat against West Ham as “a wake-up call for everyone at the football club” and we are looking for an immediate reaction in midweek against Aston Villa. 

Saturday was a surprise for many reasons, firstly the team selected by Frank Lampard with the inclusion of Pedro and Olivier Giroud. I had expected both to be named on the bench but to be involved in the second half. Also, the inclusion of Emerson for Cesar Azpilicueta as it was clear that Reece James had proven himself at right back. Finally the overall performance from Chelsea which turned out to be somewhat distant to the levels of performance we had seen that took us on our
unbeaten run recently.

The problem is that we have played the same 7-8 players week in, week out so far this season and there are times that we need to give them a rest. When do you do that? Arguably, the game on Saturday was an ideal opportunity based on the fact that the visitors were on a poor run with their manager under pressure. Not only that, after a long trip and a hard game against Valencia last week, it was the ideal opportunity to give those players waiting for a chance for so long a game.

Now, you would expect those players given a chance to look to make an impression to try and force their way into the managers thinking (such as Christian Pulisic). Given the chance, you would expect them to do everything they could to impress but as we all know they didn’t and blew it.

With the busy Christmas and New Year period coming up, Frank Lampard will need to use almost the whole squad (those not injured) to cope with the demands on the team that all these games to play. Saturday’s performance and individual performances will cause some real concern now despite the manager stating that he believes in the squad.

Was the game on Saturday just a one-off? After all, this was West Ham who has made life difficult for Chelsea in recent seasons. We have often seen them set up with a defensive formation to stop us in attacking areas having success with doing so. The difference this time was the problems they caused us with Kepa called into action making two saves from close-range, a goal disallowed by VAR and a couple of other good chances.

I wrote an article the other day as how to solve Chelsea’s defensive issues and after Saturday the question rings true louder in my view. The sooner that Toni Rudiger returns from injury and we can install a settled defence in the team week-in, week-out the better because at the moment we have real issues with conceding goals.

So to Aston Villa this mid-week, and I wonder how Frank Lampard will decide to approach the game? Will he decide to revert back to type and go with the same formation/team selection that took us on an unbeaten run? Or, with Everton and Lille coming up in the next seven days, will be give these players another chance?

One thing is for sure, Chelsea cannot afford to lose this one or to drop points as we have Tottenham closing the gap on us now after a couple of wins on the spin.

It’s a big seven days for Frank Lampard and Chelsea, let’s hope that can regroup and go again!

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