Exactly two months ago, on August 11, 2019, Frank Lampard’s Chelsea took to the pitch at Old Trafford. It was the first official competitive match of the brand new era.
And it ended in a humbling 4-0 defeat. It was not representative of the balance or quality of play, but that’s football. The sense of misfortune carried over to a heartening 2-2 draw against all-conquering Liverpool in the UEFA Super Cup, but which we’d actually lose in the penalty shootout. A disappointing home draw with a much better Leicester City followed, before back-to-back games against promoted teams brought plenty of drama, tons of goals, but only four points, for a total of just five points after one month of games in the Premier League.
Chelsea returned from the September international break with a 5-2 smashing of top-six-killers Wolves, but that was followed by back-to-back home defeats, first a highly disappointing 1-0 to Valencia, then a highly rousing 1-2 to Liverpool. The schedule became easier at that point, and the Blues duly put together a (still active) four-match winning streak across three competitions: a 7-1 laugher over fourth division Grimsby Town in the League Cup, a well-earned 2-1 away win over Lille in the Champions League, and two fairly straightforward wins in the Premier League in the meantime. We even kept a clean sheet! Literally, just one.
Lampard has actually made the worst start of any new Chelsea coach in the Abramovich era, but this isn’t a normal season and he wasn’t a normal appointment.— Liam Twomey (@liam_twomey) October 10, 2019
The latest Inside Chelsea piece with @SJohnsonSport https://t.co/AUphSOuG4j #cfc
As it stands, Chelsea are fifth in the league, but we “should” be higher. We’re alive in the League Cup, but that’s a bare minimum expectation. The loss to Valencia in the Champions League hurts (psychologically and sportingly), the loss to Liverpool in the UEFA Super Cup is annoying for all those reasons and more as well.
But Lampard’s time at Chelsea so far has been defined by so much more than just the high-pressing, aggressive, and generally up-tempo football and its mixed results. The youth revolution has made headlines, has shifted the narrative, and has continued the good vibes of the summer. The kids, as it turns out, are quite alright. Meanwhile, new leaders are emerging. Veterans are providing guidance on and off the pitch. The club feels more connected to the fans than at any time in living memory. The coaching staff is filled with heroes and legends. The Academy is bursting with talent still, and former players are returning in droves to develop their coaching credentials as well. The players are (still) enjoying the intense training sessions, brown sauce and other condiments are back on the menu, and even José Mourinho is urging a paradigm shift towards longer-term thinking over a win-now and at any cost mentality from his punditry perch.
How long can the good times last is the big question as we enter month three. Things can change in football overnight. Winning makes everything easier, nicer, happier, more productive. Not winning does the opposite and at the end of the day, the vast majority of teams end up not winners (both in the proverbial and actual sense).
But we can worry about all that and cross those bridges if/when we get there. For now, let’s see what Super Frank’s approval rating might be after the first two months, using our patented and uber-scientific (it’s neither of those things) smiley face rating system.
How do you rate Frank Lampard’s first two months in charge of Chelsea?
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