Comparing Frank Lampard’s first Chelsea starting XI to his last in the PL
Despite only being in charge of Chelsea for a season and a half, Frank Lampard oversaw some major changes during his time at the club.
Lampard integrated a lot of young players into the first team during his first season before his squad was bolstered by over £200million of new signings over the summer. The former Blues hero earned plenty of credit for placing his trust in the youth, but ultimately his failure to get the best out of those marquee arrivals cost Lampard his job.
We’ve looked at the first starting XI he picked for his first competitive game, a 4-0 defeat at Manchester United in 2019, and compared it to the team that lost 2-0 against Leicester City on January 19, what proved to be his final Premier League game in charge.
Kepa Arrizabalaga – Edouard Mendy
After enduring a difficult debut season under Maurizio Sarri at Chelsea, Kepa somehow managed to get even worse in 2019-20.
The goalkeeper conceded 58 goals in 41 appearances in all competitions and had a save percentage of just 54.5% in the Premier League.
Despite supporting him in public, Lampard eventually ran out of patience with the Spain international and signed Mendy from Rennes.
He made a positive start to life at Stamford Bridge, keeping 11 clean sheets in his first 21 appearances for the club, although errors have started to creep into his game more recently.
Cesar Azpilicueta – Reece James
Azpilicueta joined Chelsea in 2012 when Lampard was playing for the club and was still an ever-present when he returned as manager seven years later.
“I have never had a manager who was my team-mate before but it was very natural for us both,” Azpilicueta told Chelsea’s official website in August 2020. “We respect each other.”
After impressing on loan at Wigan, James eventually usurped the 31-year-old as Lampard’s first-choice right-back and made 37 appearances in all competitions in 2019-20.
James’ impressive attacking instincts saw him make his senior England debut under Lampard, but his defensive understanding still needs work.
Kurt Zouma – Antonio Rudiger
Signed for £12million by Jose Mourinho in January 2014, Zouma had loan spells at Everton and Stoke before establishing himself as a key player under Lampard.
Rudiger looked destined to leave Chelsea during the summer transfer window, having been frozen out by Lampard, but decided to fight for a place in the team.
The fact he was brought in from the cold to suddenly find himself with a run of games in the starting XI has been highlighted as an example of Lampard’s questionable treatment of some members of the Chelsea squad. Tuchel is said to be a big admirer of the defender.
Andreas Christensen – Thiago Silva
Christensen played a prominent role throughout 2019-20 but has made just five Premier League appearances so far this season.
Despite being 35 years old at the time, Silva was brought in on a free transfer in 2020 as Lampard looked to fix their leaky defence.
He has kept nine clean sheets in his first 18 appearances in all competitions. Before things went a bit pear-shaped, he was making us look a bit daft.
Emerson Palmieri – Ben Chilwell
Emerson has never felt more than a squad player at Stamford Bridge, and he has failed to alter that perception under Lampard, making 30 appearances in all competitions over 18 months.
Having established himself as one of the best left-backs in the Premier League at Leicester City, Chilwell completed a £45million move to the Blues and has registered five assists in his first 22 appearances. Some reports have suggested that Chilwell was the only signing of the summer that Lampard specifically pushed for.
Mateo Kovacic – Mateo Kovacic
The first official signing of the Lampard era, Kovacic made his loan spell permanent and then won the Chelsea Player of the Year award in 2019-20.
Mason Mount – Mason Mount
Having played under him at Derby County, Mount returned to Stamford Bridge alongside Lampard and then enjoying a hugely impressive breakthrough campaign with the Blues.
Chelsea’s spending spree in the summer of 2020 was expected to see Mount pushed down the pecking order, but he remained one of the first names on the team-sheet.
“He doesn’t do triple stepovers or flicks over the back of his head, he makes really efficient, clean sharp passes,” Lampard said amid accusations of Mount being a ‘teacher’s pet’ in November 2020. “He presses as well as any midfield player I’ve worked with or played alongside.
“There are 100 things in his game that impress the managers that he works for. But because he doesn’t have an Instagram reel of those kind of flicks and it’s a different type of football, it’s easy for people to bracket him off.”
Jorginho – Kai Havertz
Signed by Maurizio Sarri, Jorginho continues to divide opinion at Chelsea and was linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge last summer. Despite often captaining the side under Lampard, the Italy international has been phased out of the side in 2020-21, starting just eight of Chelsea’s 19 Premier League games.
Havertz arrived at Chelsea with huge expectations on his shoulders after impressing in the Bundesliga with Bayer Leverkusen. The Germany international has failed to live up to expectations so far, registering one goal in 16 Premier League appearances under Lampard.
A motivating factor behind the appointment of Tuchel has been the hope he will be able to get the best out of Havertz and fellow Germany international Timo Werner.
Pedro – Callum Hudson-Odoi
Pedro struggled to establish himself as a first-team regular under Lampard and ended his five-year stint with Chelsea in 2020, joining Roma on a free transfer.
Despite being linked with a move to Bayern Munich, Hudson-Odoi decided to sign a new contract after Lampard replaced Sarri at Stamford Bridge.
The winger made 33 appearances in all competitions in 2019-20 but has had to remain patient this term, with his appearance against Leicester just his third Premier League start of the campaign after catching the eye in flashes off the bench.
“I’m trying hard in training every day, I’m giving 110% in training and in games,” Hudson-Odoi told Sky Sports in January 2021.
“No matter when the opportunity comes, I’m going to try and continue to do my best and contribute to the team – scoring and assisting. Hopefully more opportunities will come.”
Tammy Abraham – Tammy Abraham
After going out on loan to various clubs, Abraham finally got given his chance – and the No.9 shirt – at Stamford Bridge by Lampard.
He enjoyed a brilliant start to 2019-20 before struggling for form after the restart, ending the season with 18 goals in 47 appearances.
The striker started the new campaign on the bench following Timo Werner’s arrival but eventually forced his way back into the starting line-up amid further competition from Olivier Giroud.
Again, Lampard’s inability to get the best out of the confidence-shorn Werner, who has scored just once in his last 16 appearances, has been cited as a factor in the former England international’s sacking.
Ross Barkley – Christian Pulisic
Barkley started just 13 Premier League games under Lampard in 2019-20 and joined Aston Villa on loan in search of regular first-team football.
Signed as Eden Hazard’s replacement six months before Chelsea’s transfer ban came into effect, Pulisic has shown glimpses of his talent at Chelsea but injury problems have consistently derailed his progress.
After Pulisic opened the scoring in the FA Cup final, Lampard could perhaps have got his hands on a trophy had the forward not had to be withdrawn shortly after half-time with another injury.
The USA intentional previously played under Tuchel at Borussia Dortmund and will be hoping to rediscover his best form.