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Lampard bemoans Chelsea’s lack of goals, VAR’s lack of competence

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Not a good day

Chelsea FC v Manchester United - Premier League Photo by Robin Jones/Getty Images

In 1993, Ice Cube woke up one morning, and had a good day. In 2020, Chelsea woke up on Monday, and had a bad day. Anyone care to make an amazing song about it?

Perhaps the day’s best left forgotten. Though that would do it great disservice, both in terms of where Chelsea need to improve and where the game itself, as currently administered by the Premier League needs to improve.

These aren’t going to be hard-hitting revelations. Everyone knows what’s the score by now, what’s the situation. Chelsea are not converting enough chances, and VAR is a farce, at best. (To be clear, it’s not the idea of VAR that’s a farce, it’s the implementation, both when it comes to offsides and when it comes to “re-refereeing” the game.)

Yes, Chelsea need to be better in front of goal. Just one (1!) shot on target from 17 is hilariously bad. Even if we could count Giroud’s off-by-a-toe goal, we’re only at 2 on target from 18. That’s ridiculously poor and continues the trend seen all season. (On the plus side, can we now, at long last, get more minutes for Giroud please?)

Lampard has of course known this for a while, and it’s what he wanted Chelsea to address in January. We didn’t, and so we’re again dealing with the repercussions.

“It’s a reality that’s getting clearer all the time. We’re not getting enough goals from striker areas, we’re not getting enough goals from wide areas. Not many teams can keep clean sheets week in, week out. You have to score goals to give you a feeling of superiority in the game.

“We make a lot of chances, as many as any team in the league barring Liverpool, and we’re not finishing them.”

To be fair, Chelsea didn’t exactly light up the xG metrics on Monday night, but were a steady threat throughout the match.

Of course, it could’ve all been very different if VAR just did their job. There isn’t one person who claims that Harry Maguire didn’t kick out at Michy Batshuay in the 20th minute — Maguire himself didn’t deny it, though he did try to explain it away with a silly story — except maybe referee Anthony Taylor (from the Manchester area!) and video referee Chris Kavanagh (also from Manchester!).

And there aren’t many who couldn’t see that César Azpilicueta was pushed first by Fred, before the Chelsea captain put any hands on Brandon Williams — except maybe referee Anthony Taylor (from the Manchester area!) and video referee Chris Kavanagh (also from Manchester!).

These were precisely the situations VAR was supposed to solve and avoid, and yet here we are, and hardly for the first time.

“Maguire should get a red and then he scores a second goal. The game changes off that.

“That was a major part of what VAR was brought in for, a second viewing, different angles. The referee can’t see all the angles, and if you’re not going to look at the monitor then you’re definitely not going to see it.

“It’s harder to take with the presence of VAR than it would have been before. That is what it was brought in for. It’s very confusing when all the different angles still bring the wrong decision. It’s universally a wrong decision. It could be my opinion, but everyone I’ve spoken to, not just in our dressing room, but neutrals have said the same.

“The Zouma goal should have stood. At first I didn’t think it should, it looked like a shove from Azpilicueta, but when you see it again he gets shoved in the first place. It certainly wasn’t clear and obvious. And Giroud was offside.”

Even Giroud’s “offside” goal persists with the myth that video replay can correctly determine such marginal calls that are literally impossible to actually determine with any significant degree of accuracy given our current technology.

So where does that leave us? Nowhere good. Momentum’s gone; the table is as tight as ever. Spurs are up next on Saturday.

“We are fourth so it’s in our hands. The gap has closed but I don’t think many expected us to be fourth at this stage of the season. The fight starts now. We can’t affect the Man City situation much. We’re in fourth place by a point, so the season starts here to that effect.”

-Frank Lampard; source: Chelsea FC

Twelve games to save our season.