Expectation is weighing heavily on the shoulders of Frank Lampard after he spent in excess of £220m on new recruits in the summer
Frank Lampard successfully secured Champions League football for Chelsea in his first season with the club in 2019/20.
Despite having just had one senior managerial role previously, the former Chelsea midfielder was entrusted as manager, as the Blues negotiated a season in which they were not allowed to make any signings due to a transfer ban.
The London side certainly made up for lost time in the summer of 2020, though, as they spent well more than any other side in Europe, tallying up fees exceeding £220m.
Chelsea: The season so far
In Lampard’s debut campaign, the defence was the problem, not the attack.
That made it slightly baffling that, in the summer, the vast majority of his transfer budget was spent on flair, attacking players like Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, and Hakim Ziyech.
The central defence, a real cause for concern last year, was bolstered by 35-year-old (now 36) Thiago Slva. An experienced head, and one that was needed, sure, but it proved the backline was an afterthought compared to the forward line.
In the opening few matches of the season, Lampard was unable to call upon all of his new signings at the same time; Ben Chilwell and Hakim Ziyech were injured, SIlva took longer to be integrated due to his appearance in the Champions League final, while Edouard Mendy was signed into the new campaign.
CHELSEA SUMMER MOVES IN
|Timo Werner||RB Leipzig||£48m|
CHELSEA SUMMER MOVES OUT
|Alvaro Morata||Atletico Madrid||£32m|
With various personnel changes, Chelsea won just two of their opening six matches including 3-3 draws against West Brom and Southampton.
Over the past month, though, they have improved, with Silva getting to gets with the Premier League to organise a currently mean defence.
They have won their last two to shoot up to fifth.
PREMIER LEAGUE TOP 5 AFTER MATCHDAY 10
Fortunately for Chelsea, nobody has taken a commanding lead at the top of the table as of yet, and despite disappointing results like the aforementioned two draws and the defeat against Liverpool in the second game of the season, they still find themselves within a point of the top four and three off the lead.
As for the Champions League, the respectable, if uninspiring 0-0 draw at home to Sevilla, was the first time they looked relatively solid at the back this campaign.
They followed that up with comprehensive victories away at Krasnodar and against Rennes at Stamford Bridge. They are in pole position to ease their way out of the group stage.
Chelsea: Grade B+
Although the start to the season was average, nobody would have expected so many first-team signings to gel right away.
But, everything is coming together nicely for Chelsea; Ziyech is now at full fitness and his performances are making him undroppable, Silva has recovered from his nightmare debut against West Brom to solidify the defence, and Werner is starting to hit the back on the net on a regular basis after a slow start.
Liverpool’s defensive injuries to Virgil van Dijk and now Joe Gomez have blown the title race wide open, and Chelsea should be there or thereabouts at the end of the campaign with the players Lampard has at his disposal.