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Battling Expectation: The Biggest Challenge Facing Frank Lampard

After Chelsea’s recent transfer ban was lifted, many predicted that Roman Abramovich would put his hand in his pocket in an effort to get th...



After Chelsea’s recent transfer ban was lifted, many predicted that Roman Abramovich would put his hand in his pocket in an effort to get the Blues back to challenging for league titles. In the 2020 summer transfer window, the club’s owner didn’t disappoint fans as he backed Frank Lampard with considerable investment.

In turn, the club ended the player recruitment period having spent the most money of any top-flight English team, splashing out over £220 million on the likes of Ben Chilwell, Kai Havertz, and Timo Werner. Now, few things are holding Chelsea back from competing with both Liverpool and Manchester City from a depth standpoint. So, let’s take a look at why Lampard’s main threat this season comes in the form of expectation, as opposed to other Premier League teams.

Needing a Return on the Investment

While rivals would have been concerned with Chelsea’s spending during the latest summer transfer window, many will also be intrigued to see how the Blues’ highly-rated players perform in England. It’s no secret that the London-based side’s two German arrivals, Havertz and Werner, were wanted by numerous teams, including Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool and the current European champions, Bayern Munich.

However, with the two setting Chelsea back over £120 million, there’s pressure for both to deliver early on in their Premier League careers. Although the hefty price-tags may not affect the players’ on-field approach, Lampard will undoubtedly be feeling the heat should both struggle to hit the heights. Not only that, but the additions of Chilwell, Edouard Mendy, Hakim Ziyech, and Thiago Silva should see chance creation and clean sheets improve at Stamford Bridge.

Interestingly, Lampard's former teammate, Michael Essien, has spoken of how the 42-year-old head coach "has to deliver" in the 2020-21 campaign. The Englishman knows the ruthless nature of professional football better than most having worked under numerous managers during his playing days. As such, he’ll be well aware that job retention is dictated by results.

What Would Count as Success?

Although expectations have rightfully gone up a level at Stamford Bridge, there also needs a be a sense of realism. On paper, the spending hasn’t yet levelled the playing field with Liverpool and Manchester City. Both Klopp and Pep Guardiola have been in their respective jobs for at least four years and, in that time, have worked on creating a clear on-field identity.

Source: Pixabay

  The vast turnover of players at Chelsea in recent months is unlikely to yield instant results, with many new additions needing time to settle into their new surroundings. In turn, the season’s objectives need to reflect that. Domestically, a top-four finish will be a necessity, and anything short of that will be a failure. At present, the club are currently 5/6 in the Premier League betting to achieve this, as of October 28th. Moreover, regarding the cup competitions, winning one of the Carabao or FA Cup would be a real positive for the club, while reaching the last 16 of the Champions League is also more than achievable.

The Bar Needs to be Set Realistically

As the 2020-21 season unfolds further, it’s pivotal that Chelsea supporters don’t lose track of the primary objective, which is to show clear signs of progression. With this, performances and results will follow. Reaching the pinnacle of English football won’t happen overnight for the Blues and Lampard, but taking positive steps towards that goal will count as success in its own right.

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