Chelsea are preparing to take on Everton in the Premier League on Sunday in the early afternoon kick off, and they will be welcoming back former manager Carlo Ancelotti.
The current Toffees boss is one of the most loved previous Chelsea managers amongst the fan base after the glory he achieved at the club during his tenure. Many believed he should never have been sacked, and I’m inclined to agree.
But fast-forward to the current day, and it is Frank Lampard who has the Chelsea reigns and Sky Sports Analyst Nick Wright believes that he deserves more credit for the work he has already done at the club, as he’s written in his latest Sky Sports column.
When you think about the facts, it’s surely impossible to argue that? He got them out of a tough group in the Champions League qualifying for the knockout stages, he is in the Quarter Finals of the FA Cup, and he is in prime position to take 4th place in the league, qualifying for next seasons Champions League.
After being banned from signing players and losing match winner Eden Hazard, this must be considered over-achieving.
“Any talk of a potential title challenge was grossly premature, and while Lampard still has something to prove in the dugout, in what is only his second season as a manager, it is also fair to say that he deserves more credit for the work he has done at Stamford Bridge so far.
“It probably doesn’t get mentioned enough just how big a blow it was to lose Eden Hazard in the summer – and that’s before even considering that Chelsea’s transfer ban made it impossible to replace him. The Belgian, a match-winner and talisman, was responsible for scoring or setting up almost half of their 63 Premier League goals under Maurizio Sarri.
“Lampard has had to lean on young players unproven at the top level to fill that void, and even in January – after the transfer ban had been lifted – there were no reinforcements. Chelsea are the only Premier League side not to have spent a penny on signings this season. The average outlay of the other clubs competing for a top-four finish is £126m. Manchester United, three points below them in the table, have spent £216m.
“And yet it’s Chelsea who are on track for Champions League qualification, not just ahead of Manchester United but ahead of Tottenham, who have spent £156m, and Arsenal, who have spent £138m. Much has been made of challenges inherited by Jose Mourinho and Mikel Arteta in those jobs, but at least they were backed to bring in their own players in January. Lampard did not get that luxury.
“There is plenty more of the season to get through before then, of course. Plenty more hurdles to clear if Chelsea are to keep their place in the top four. But perhaps the glory days evoked by Ancelotti’s return to Stamford Bridge are not so far away after all. And perhaps Frank Lampard deserves a little more credit than he is getting.”