Chelsea take HUGE Lampard gamble — will it pay off or backfire?

 Chelsea take HUGE Lampard gamble — will it pay off or backfire?

Few, if any, saw it coming. The appointment of Frank Lampard to replace Graham Potter has continued to generate ripples among football pundits as well fans, and understandably so.

It is difficult to come to terms with the rationale behind Lampard’s choice from an economic and football point of view.

There are many questions begging for answers. But decisions are there to be made and risks to be taken.

Chelsea have called the shots. The conversation now is over the likely impact of Lampard’s appointment as caretaker manager on Chelsea’s already shambolic season.

In a statement announcing his appointment, the club’s owners — Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali — said: “We are delighted to welcome Frank back to Stamford Bridge. Frank is a Premier League Hall of Famer and a legend at this club.

“As we continue our thorough and exhaustive process for a permanent head coach, we want to provide the club and our fans with a clear and stable plan for the remainder of the season.

“We want to give ourselves every chance of success and Frank has all of the characteristics and qualities we need to drive us to the finish line.

‘We have an important game against Wolves on Saturday and then we will turn our attention to our Champions League quarter-final in Madrid next week. We are all going to give Frank our full backing as we aim to get the best possible outcome from all our remaining games.”

Chelsea are enduring one of their most difficult seasons in history. Currently out of the top 10 on the English Premier League (EPL) log, the club appeared clueless and bereft of ideas to salvage their wobbling run.

And this is a major reason many are not excited about Lampard’s return. There is no doubt Lampard remains one of Chelsea’s greatest players in history. A leader on and off the pitch, he led the club to many titles and dazzled fans with his mesmerising dribbles and surreal goal-scoring ability as a player.

However, the same cannot be said of him as a coach. His failed stint as Chelsea’s manager between 2019 and 2021 is still fresh in the memories of many.

Lampard is far from a top coach at the moment. He still has a long way to go to become a coach to be reckoned with. That Everton fired him amid relegation fears not long after he was appointed showed he is no quick fix for Chelsea at the moment.

He may be loved by many Chelsea fans — one of the major factors that influenced his appointment amid growing anger among the fans — but he offers no quality, at least on paper, that guarantee Chelsea will end the season on a high note.

“In truth, Lampard’s managerial career has been on a downward trajectory since he guided a youthful Chelsea squad to a top-four finish at the end of the 2019-20 campaign, despite a transfer embargo,” Goal’s Krishan Davis wrote.

“It is a nice story, and the best outcome would be for him to pick up some decent results, haul the Blues out of mid-table and leave after a job well done and with his reputation restored.

“But there are huge question marks over whether he has the experience or quality as coach to do what Potter and Thomas Tuchel before him failed to.”

Chelsea will face Wolves on Saturday before their crucial clash with Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League.

Lampard must justify the trust reposed in him by ensuring that the team fare better under him and end the season on a good note, especially to boost his own reputation as a coach.

He cannot afford to fumble again or go the way of Potter.

Appointed in September 2022 shortly after Boehly took over the club, many considered Potter as the man to revamp an unconvincing Chelsea side that drew ire in the last days of Thomas Tuchel in charge.

But he was a sharp contrast to expectations. After a relatively bright start, the club has nosedived dramatically and became a shadow of itself under him.

CRISPNG had earlier examined his performance as Chelsea’s coach and eventual sack by the club.

Will Chelsea’s Lampard gamble pay off or backfire?

In the wake of reactions trailing his appointment, CRISPNG engaged some football enthusiasts and pundits to get their views.

Below is what they have to say:

Israel Igiri, Sports analyst

Bringing Lampard back is not a good move if you ask me. For Chelsea, what they need to do at this point is to finish as high as possible this season and then prepare for next season.

So what is the essence of sacking Potter and hiring Lampard when the season is almost over? Potter should have been allowed to prosecute the remaining games of the season before sacking him.

On second thought, the board thought it would be easy for them to get a top manager after sacking Potter. I think they had to get Frank Lampard because the likes of Enrique and Nagelsmann that they have been in contact with want to take charge at the end of the season. So it is understandable. I think the fact that he’s loved by the fans also influenced the decision to bring him back on an interim basis.

Now that Super Frankie is back, let us see if he can emulate the likes of Roberto Di Matteo and Thomas Tuchel who created magic in 2012 and 2021 when they brought European glory to Stamford Bridge.

It is another opportunity for him (Lampard) to impress and then convince a lot of clubs that he still has what it takes to be a top manager. It looks like redemption time for him. He just has to impress.

Oluchi Eze, sports analyst

I think what Todd Boehly is trying to avoid is running into decision making which may produce another Potter. So, giving him (Lampard) this appointment till the end of the season will help the board make to proper decision. The players on their part are ready to play for themselves, so, it may not be a bad decision after all.

Pelumi Bolawa, sports analyst

Since he was sacked by Chelsea and subsequently by Everton, what has been Lampard’s sign of improvement?

At least the management has said his appointment is till the end of the season.

But from another angle, I think he might do well considering the ‘job stake’.

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