Frank Lampard has seldom faced a more challenging period in his career in football, having been sacked by Everton before struggling to turn around Chelsea’s form on his return to Stamford Bridge.
The former England international has lost all 10 matches he’s taken charge of in 2023 – four at Everton, six at Chelsea – which has brought his coaching ability under sharp scrutiny.
We’ve taken a closer look at the eight matches Lampard has taken charge of this calendar year.
Everton 1-4 Brighton
Arguably the night where the writing was on the wall for Lampard’s job security at Goodison.
Everton actually came into the match in high spirits after a solid display to draw 1-1 with Man City on New Year’s Eve. But they just couldn’t cope with Brighton here as Kaoru Mitoma, debutant Evan Ferguson, Solly March and Pascal Gross put the Toffees to the sword.
The BBC described a “mutinous atmosphere” in the stands in response to Everton’s sorry display.
Man Utd 3-1 Everton
An FA Cup visit to Old Trafford was not Everton’s priority, given the position they found themselves in the Premier League.
It looked set to be a long evening when Antony put Erik ten Hag’s side ahead after just three minutes but Everton showed admirable spirit to battle back and produce a competitive performance, equalising through Conor Coady.
It took until the seventh minute of injury time for United to seal their place in the fourth round with a Marcus Rashford penalty.
Everton 1-2 Southampton
Southampton visited Goodison Park sitting bottom of the table in mid-January but they came away from Merseyside with a vital three points.
Amadou Onana’s goal meant Everton went into the half-time break with a goal advantage but capitulated in the second half as an inspired James Ward-Prowse free-kick completed Saints’ comeback.
These proved to be the only points Nathan Jones picked up from his eight Premier League matches in charge of Southampton.
West Ham 2-0 Everton
“I really hope Everton stick with Frank,” David Moyes said after a first-half Jarrod Bowen brace gave his Hammers a much-needed 2-0 home win.
“He is a top bloke from the times I’ve been with him, but I have to think about my position because me winning one game doesn’t mean everything is fine.”
Moyes didn’t get his wish.
A second successive defeat in a relegation six-pointer left Everton sitting 19th in the table and ultimately led to Lampard’s dismissal.
It was Everton’s 10th match in all competitions without a win, while they’d taken just one point from the last 21 available in the Premier League.
Wolves 1-0 Chelsea
Lampard’s return to Chelsea didn’t prompt the immediate change Boehly would’ve hoped for.
Relegation-battlers Wolves won out through a long-range Matheus Nunes wonderstrike. Chelsea had plenty of possession and territory as they searched for an equaliser at Molineux but looked familiarly toothless and fashioned just one shot on target.
“There has been a lot of change and that’s not an excuse but things need to improve and I think that performance summed it up,” Lampard said in his post-match interview with the BBC.
“I have to get an understanding of it. When I say mindset, it’s not necessarily a negative. You have to get used to winning and make it a habit.”
Real Madrid 2-0 Chelsea
Chelsea came racing out of the traps at the Bernabeu and might have taken an early lead when Joao Felix raced through, but Madrid’s experience and nous told in the end in what turned out to be a routine home win.
In the end, you got the feeling Carlo Ancelotti’s side were frustrated not to kill the tie there and then following Ben Chilwell’s second-half dismissal. Ten-man Chelsea did well in the circumstances not to let the game run away from them.
“We didn’t know Real Madrid were so good,” Lampard told reporters after the match, inviting a field day from his detractors.
"I have high hopes for him (Lampard)… but not necessarily on Tuesday!" 😂
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 12, 2023
Chelsea 1-2 Brighton
Not the welcome home to Stamford Bridge that Lampard envisaged and the most yet humbling day for the Boehly project, as the world’s most expensively assembled squad suffered a home defeat to the squad that cost the least to build in the Premier League.
In truth, Roberto De Zerbi’s Seagulls played the hosts off the park at Stamford Bridge and responded superbly to going behind to Conor Gallagher’s early deflected strike.
Brighton registered 57% possession, 26 shots (the most by an opposition side in the Premier League era) to Chelsea’s eight and ten on target to Chelsea’s two. Their expected goals stood at 2.46xG to the Blues’ 0.60.
Chelsea 0-2 Real Madrid
The result meant that Chelsea have lost four successive matches in all competitions for the first time since October-November 1993.
Lampard has also become the first Chelsea manager in Chelsea’s 118-year history to lose his first four matches in charge of a stint.
The former midfielder didn’t get the Hollywood comeback he’d been dreaming of, but this was probably Chelsea’s best performance since his return.
There were questions of how he set the team up, with Conor Gallagher and Kai Havertz the only nominally attacking players on the pitch, but Chelsea dominated the first half and created the better chances.
They would have been ahead and back in the tie were it not for errant finishing, only for Rodrygo to sucker punch them with a pair of goals on the counter.
“We were the better team tonight and we can’t let that level drop moving forward,” Lampard told BT Sport following the defeat.
Chelsea 0-2 Brentford
Another game, another defeat for Lampard who is in danger of sharing the ‘007’ distinction with Daniel Craig.
An own-goal from Cesar Azpilicueta and Bryan Mbeumo secured the points for upwardly mobile Brentford, and left Chelsea marooned in the bottom half of the table.
Arsenal 3-1 Chelsea
Lampard rung the changes for the trip to Emirates, bringing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang back from the cold and giving January signing None Madueke a run-out on the wing.
But Arsenal tore them apart like a recently-released hostage feasting upon a KFC bucket. Two goals from Martin Odegaard and a Gabriel Jesus strike quickly established their dominance over Lampard’s rabble.
Madueke pulled a goal back after the break, but this was another embarrassing night for the beleaguered club.