Frank Lampard must display courage in future tactical decisions

After Chelsea’s poor start to the season defensively, Frank Lampard made a point to shore up the structure of his side. It resulted in back-...

After Chelsea’s poor start to the season defensively, Frank Lampard made a point to shore up the structure of his side. It resulted in back-to-back goalless draws against Sevilla in the Champions League and Manchester United in the Premier League.

The two clean sheets were evidence that the defensive system of a three-man backline works to stymie two potent attacking teams. However, it did come at a cost at the other end of the pitch where Chelsea was largely impotent in the final third, especially against the Red Devils at Old Trafford.

It certainly is early days and it takes time for forwards to connect in their interplay and combinations in and around the edge of the box. There is far too much talent for the Blues to fail to fire eventually, especially against the lower-ranked sides on the Premier League. The questions will come against teams of a higher calibre that are challenging for the crown. Chelsea will have to produce strong performances and take three points from those contests to realise their ambition of winning the title.

Can The Blues Fire In The Final Third?

Based on Chelsea's talented attacking line, they may have been tempted to back the Blues for the Premier League title on online legal betting sportsbooks that are available in at least 10 states in the USA - notably in the home side state of Christian Pulisic who originates from Pennsylvania. More betting options will likely become available in the USA in the future. With Pulisic providing the ammunition in the final third for Havertz, there was hope that he could hit the ground running to aid Chelsea's bid for the crown, but it has not come to fruition yet.

The signing of Havertz was a big moment for the Blues in the summer. The former Bayer Leverkusen forward was one of the most sought players on the market. The move certainly will have caught the attention of fans across the world, especially ones with American eyes, who will be following the prospects of his team-mate Pulisic at Stamford Bridge.

Havertz scored 29 goals in 64 appearances over the last two seasons in the Bundesliga. He has not been able to flash that same level of ability in the scoring charts in his early Chelsea career outside of a hat-trick against Barnsley in the EFL Cup.

Matters have not been helped by the fact that he has been shunted around the pitch by Lampard, playing in all three positions with a combination of players alongside him. The problem for Chelsea is that they have significant overlaps in their forward line. Abraham is a true out-and-out striker along with Olivier Giroud. However, Havertz, Werner, Pulisic, Mount and Hudson-Odoi both prefer to play off the frontman or on the flanks.

Lampard needs to develop a system to get the best out of the forward line – which may have to revert to a 4-2-3-1 formation. It would allow Havertz and Werner to occupy the flanks with Pulisic or Mount behind Abraham or Giroud. The system would allow Chelsea to get their attacking players on the field and in comfortable roles where they should flourish, but it could come at a price.

Will The Backline Hold Up?

The problem with the system is that it exposes the Chelsea backline that has been anything but secure over the last year. Lampard has tried several players and formations, while the problems between the posts have been even worse. Hopefully, the keeping issue appears to be resolved with the signing of Edouard Mendy to replace the woeful Kepa Arrizabalaga. Whether that allows the rest of the unit to settle remains to be seen. Silva looks to have lost none of his vigour following his arrival from Paris Saint-Germain. The Brazilian has provided a feeling of calm to Kurt Zouma, who has started to find a semblance of form.

Playing Cesar Azpilicueta as part of a back-three has brought the right results but leaving him out of the team might have to be the option going forward to unlock their potential in the final third. It comes with a risk as Reece James and Ben Chilwell are naturally attacking full-backs and will push high up the pitch. Zouma and Silva would be exposed as even N’Golo Kante cannot be everywhere at once. The hope will be that Silva, Zouma, Kante and Mendy form an excellent line of communication to shore up the backline that allows Chelsea to commit men forward.

Lampard has been wise to attempt to plug the gaps in recent times, but it cannot continue for his team to push all the way. It will be a test of his courage and tactical nous to pull off the feat without compromising one end of the pitch over the other.

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