Three observations after Storm Bayern sweeps through Stamford Bridge

Photo by Stephanie Meek - CameraSport via Getty Images

Storm Bayern Munich visited London for the second time this Champions League season and left massive devastation in its wake, although not as much as last time.

Lampard went with the exact same 3-4-3 lineup that was quite successful against Spurs, but as expected, didn't succeed this time. The reasons for this are multi-fold and the entire blame doesn't lie with him, but a lot of it certainly does.

Targeting computer turned off

Giroud started up top but there were no tactical instructions to lob the ball to his head on the side where Alaba plays. Very rarely during the entire game did Willy, Alonso or anyone else kick the ball high such that Giroud had to contest for the header against Alaba and not Boateng. To be fair, Giroud did manage to win the first few headers and cushion them to a teammate, but Boateng came into his own and controlled Giroud for the rest of the game. Being bullied like this is certainly not what is expected of the target man, but his job could've been much easier had Lampard instructed the team to target Alaba — just like teams used to target Azpilicueta in our back-three under Conte.

(Not) suffering

Even though Lampard preached suffering™ in his press conferences, his team did not reflect that on the pitch. Chelsea pressed selectively in the first half to varying degrees of success and made it through to half-time unscathed, albeit with Müller hitting the post and Cabellero having to rescue the team several times. Lampard ignored the warning signs and the team came back out all guns blazing, and started pressing Bayern aggressively, all the way up to the goalkeeper Neuer.

This was extremely foolish since it left gaping holes in midfield with no Kanté to bail us out. Bayern promptly accepted this with open arms and easily took us apart. I'm sure Lampard would've watched their match versus Spurs and thus talked about suffering, but he got ahead of himself with his "style" of play. Even after conceding the first goal, Lampard didn't order the players to play calmly and Chelsea made a fool of themselves again by gifting possession in the final third and getting taken apart by a lightning counter. This could have been easily avoided with better tactics.

Why wing-backs?

The wing-backs were continually running up to support the offense, but Chelsea were repeatedly giving the ball away cheaply. Bayern's midfielders were easily bypassing the press and in the process our double pivot, and then passing the ball to Müller or their wingers. In these situations Alonso was never in the running to get back in time when they played on our left with Coman, while the speed and interplay of Gnabry and Davies were no match for James on our right. This resulted in repeated 4-v-3 attacks in their favour and the superior skills and silky passing of Müller, Lewandowski, Coman and Gnabry were too much for our three centre backs to handle, resulting in a multitude of chances for Bayern throughout the game. This problem should've been noticed by our coaches and resolved at halftime.

Bonus Barkley note

Barkley starting the game instead of Willian, when we were playing counters, and not getting hooked off at the half after a poor showing was flabbergasting. All he didn't do was gift the opponent a goal but that doesn't mean he should have been anywhere on the pitch playing like that. This should've been evident to Frank.

Now to the players:

Caballero: Had a brilliant first half. He's a good backup keeper but his distribution is awful.

Christensen: Made good tackles but is too timid for a sweeper in a back-three.

Azpilicueta: Slipped for the first goal but apart from that, he was having problems deciding where to position himself while defending with James getting bypassed so easily.

Rüdiger: The pace of their wingers was too much for him and it showed.

Alonso: Didn't play his best game and should've buried the chance he got because his attacking input is the only reason he should've started.

James: Had a poor night and needs to play better. Offered nothing going forward and was easily bypassed while defending. Not what is expected of him but he's still young and has lots of room to improve.

Jorginho: Bayern's pivot ran circles around him when he pressed and his passing was not as accurate as is expected from him.

Kovačić: Played a good game.

Barkley: Everyone knows he's not a top quality starter. He showed that again today. Hope Frank recognizes this soon.

Mount: He's a very limited No.10 at the moment and that showed throughout the game. He'll certainly learn a lot from this match and from teammates like Ziyech in the near future. He has lots of room to improve including his decision making and I am rooting for him.

Giroud: Couldn't showcase his target man skills with the poor service and tactics. But still he shouldn't have been pocketed by Boateng.

We were never expected to win this tie, but we should've know better than to do an Arsenal in the first leg. In the return leg, we should be playing like we've got nothing to lose.

Lampard had presided over quite an up-and-down campaign, and his decision-making has brought joy and frustration in equal measure. His trust and inclusion of the academy youth is admirable, but his somewhat baffling decisions to ostracize specific players and make certain tactical decisions can't be justified.

But he's still a very young coach, with lots of room to improve. Similarly, the squad is very young, too, and will improve with time and experience and have a good future ahead. I hope they do all improve.

With proper backing from the board in the market, a better support staff (looking at you, fitness coaches) and a good pre-season, Chelsea will be competing for trophies next season.


P.S: Frank's treatment of Kepa is really astonishing and he should be restored back to the lineup immediately.

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