Worst record in 118 years — Can Lampard end Chelsea’s free fall?

 Worst record in 118 years — Can Lampard end Chelsea’s free fall?

Another day, another nightmare. Chelsea football club’s free fall continues at an unimaginable dimension.

On Tuesday, the Blues suffered another defeat as they were dumped out of the UEFA Champions League (UCL) by Real Madrid.

The defeat makes it four in a row for the club under Frank Lampard. It also makes Lampard the first manager in the club’s 118-year history to lose his first four games in charge.

Chelsea were beaten 1-0 by Wolves in Lampard’s first game of his second stint in charge and that was followed by a 2-0 defeat by Real Madrid in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-finals.

Last weekend, the club lost 2-1 at home to Brighton in the league before their UCL elimination by Madrid on Tuesday.

It is difficult to understand what is wrong with Chelsea at the moment.

“Everything,” Oluchi Eze, a sports analyst, said when asked what she feels is Chelsea’s current problem.

Oluchi is not the only one disappointed by the club’s dip in form this season.

“I don’t recognise my club,” Didier Drogba, Chelsea legend, told Canal+ after the club’s UCL exit.

“It’s no longer the same club. There is a new owner and a new vision. Of course, we try to compare it with what happened during the [Roman] Abramovich era where a lot of players were brought in, but the decisions were very intelligent,” he added.

“Bringing in players like Petr Cech, Andriy Shevchenko, Herman Crespo, Michael Essien, Didier Drogba, Florent Malouda, and I go on. It was done to win titles. They are players with a certain experience. The strategy is now different; we bet on young players. But a dressing room of over 30 players is difficult [to manage] for a manager.”

CRISPNG had earlier examined why Lampard’s appointment will do little to salvage the team’s shambolic run.

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.

The UCL exit means no European football for the club next season while there are even doubts if the club can regain its form anytime soon.

This is a major reason many are not excited about Lampard’s return. There is no doubt that the former midfield maestro 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 guarantees 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.”

Lampard is going the way of Graham 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.

At this rate, Lampard will do more damage to the club than Potter.

Only time will tell when the club’s free fall will stop. Certainly, not anytime soon.

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