Are Chelsea title challengers this season?

Frank Lampard walked into the Chelsea job 12-months ago with a transfer ban, Eden Hazard sold, and an intention to integrate promising acade...

Frank Lampard walked into the Chelsea job 12-months ago with a transfer ban, Eden Hazard sold, and an intention to integrate promising academy prospects into the first team. Twelve months on with over £200m spent so far, are Chelsea now considered title challengers? 

When Frank Lampard took over at Chelsea it was for me one of those moments you never forget. A legend of our football club, arguably the best, Lampard had played a pivotal role in our success over a decade. Many people called the appointment into question claiming that he could damage his reputation with the Chelsea fan base to which Lampard acknowledged but insisted that it was a part of his life which is now over and it’s time to create something new as a manager. 

Loved by the Chelsea hierarchy and Chelsea fans worldwide it was clear that Frank Lampard was at the beginning of a new era at the club. Ever since Roman Abramovich took over and blazed a trail for other owners to follow, the levels of expectation had dramatically increased. A title challenge as a minimum in addition to a trophy seems to have been the benchmark with little wriggle room for each manager entrusted at the helm. 

As Frank Lampard settled into the management office at Cobham there was talk amongst the Chelsea fans as to what we would perceive to be the expectation level this time around. The consensus was that a push to challenge for the top six and a good cup run is where we should be. It was a dramatic change for the first time in fifteen years based on the factors that Lampard had to deal with when he first came in.

Fast forward to the end of the season and he has achieved above and beyond what we thought. A top-four finish sealing Champions League qualification, the FA Cup final, and outstanding team performances along the way coupled with some standout individual performances, to put everything into context it was remarkable. 

Now, as we prepare for the new season, Frank Lampard and the Chelsea board have made their intentions clear. Frank Lampard identified the areas we needed to strengthen, gave his transfer targets to the club and Chelsea have backed their manager with excellent acquisitions and there could be even more to follow. 

Thiago Silva – an outstanding center-back with a wealth of experience and Ben Chilwell – England’s number one left-back signed to improve our leaky defence. In midfield, the exciting and hugely impressive Kai Havertz has come into supplement our attack with goals and assists. In the final third the outstanding Hakim Ziyech has been signed to produce magic with that left foot of his and finally, to the highly-rated Timo Werner in attack who guarantees goals. 

Despite the investment, we must be realistic and focus on the project Frank Lampard has started here. This is the first time that Frank Lampard has had to mould the squad into what he wants to work with, and it is still going to take a couple of transfer windows yet until we have a team to challenge for the Premier League title. 

However, Chelsea has significantly improved their squad this time around and as a result, the levels of expectation amongst the supporters has naturally increased. There is excitement as to what we could potentially achieve this season and you would have to believe that the same could be said from Roman Abramovich and the Chelsea board. 

There must be an improvement on last season to which Frank Lampard would demand from himself and his players anyway. At least third, second if possible and a good cup run in addition to the gap to Liverpool being dramatically reduced. Anything less and although he is Frank Lampard, there will be questions to answer from upstairs in the corridors of Stamford Bridge and amongst the Chelsea supporters. 

Trust in Frank Lampard’s project and enjoy the ride once again Chelsea fans I can assure you it will never be boring. Let us see where this season takes us.

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