Frank Lampard was handed a bumpy start to life as a premiership manager versus Manchester United yesterday as he saw his young Chelsea side thrashed 4-0 at Old Trafford. Despite dominating much of the first half of proceedings, a clumsy challenge from Kurt Zouma handed Marcus Rashford the chance to put his team in front from the spot, which the England forward duly took. Then a two minute defensive capitulation in the middle of the second half took the game well out of Chelsea’s reach. Leaving a somewhat stunned Lampard and co to wonder what might have been.
Unfortunately for the all-time record Chelsea goalscorer and his team, there was still time for new United recruit Daniel James to put the icing on a successful first day of the season cake for Ole Gunner Solksjaer. As despite being second best for the first half at least, United showed their lethal intent on the break as they cut Chelsea’s newly assembled back four to shreds in the second period. Two goals in the space of a minute ended the game as a contest with Rashford deftly getting his second of the game after Anthony Martial had snuck in at the back post to put his side two up.
Though the debuts of Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka at the back will please Solskjaer just as much as his team’s attacking efforts. Maguire and his central defensive partner Victor Lindelof kept Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham quiet for much of the game, while Wan-Bissaka hit the ground running in the right back slot. Though in truth, United could and perhaps should have been behind at half time and so Solskjaer will likely not get too carried away despite the eye opening scoreline his team carved out. Nevertheless, he will naturally be delighted to start the campaign in such a positive fashion after his sides’ arduous climax to last season. And with Romelu Lukaku now an Inter Milan player, three goals in a game from Rashford and Martial will encourage those around Old Trafford that they may well have just enough firepower after all this season.
As for Chelsea, the result was in many ways a strange one as if it weren’t for the woodwork and better decision making in the final third, then the game would have been completely different. Instead though they start the season with another hiding away from home (Sarri’s Chelsea suffered 4-0 and 6-0 defeats in this calender year also) leading some to already question’s Lampard’s ability to keep Chelsea at the right end of the table. There were plenty of positives in the first sixty minutes or so but Lampard will no doubt want to see Toni Rudiger back in centre of defence sooner rather later, as Chelsea’s defence simply didn’t look up to scratch on Sunday afternoon. And indeed Chelsea’s boss expressed in his post match interview that the look of his side will change significantly when more experienced members of his squad begin to fill out his first eleven once injuries clear up.
But with the Super Cup versus Liverpool up next on Wednesday night and then Leicester at home on Sunday afternoon, Lampard’s team do not have the time to lick their wounds or indeed sulk. And with Chelsea already three points behind all of their top six rivals, the Lampard experiment will have to find the right formula sooner rather than later if Chelsea are to compete anywhere near the levels they have been expected to in years gone by. With a transfer ban and a club legend still learning his trade as manager in place, expectations should be a degree or two lower than normal. However, Lampard will know that he will need to win a series of football matches in the near future to keep the questions over his position well away from his office door.
If you enjoyed this article or any others on thesixyardring feel free to like/share/RT them or alternatively mention them to friends as you all wonder if Lampard fancied throwing himself to show his team how to get it done in the final third.