Chelsea opinion: What Lampard can bring to the Blues tactically
The good news has arrived for Chelsea fans. Derby County have given Frank Lampard the permission to talk to Chelsea ahead of his potential return to Stamford Bridge, this time as a manager (h/t Mirror).
This must be music to the Blues’ fans ears, as it was fairly evident that the legendary midfielder was on their wishlist to take over the managerial role from Maurizio Sarri this summer.
Now, provided that the final details of the deal are ironed out, we could witness Lampard taking over the helm as soon as possible.
His first challenge will be to work with the squad of players present at the club, rather than dipping into the transfer market. After all, the club has a transfer ban imposed, meaning no incoming dealings can be done by them.
Truth be told, from what we saw of Lampard in his first senior managerial role at Derby last season, he might not be too unhappy to work with a tight squad with the prospect of installing young players into the team.
Below, let’s analyse his tactics and also look at the possibility of him handing regular starts to quite a lot of young players:
Lampard’s philosophy and the young brigade
If we look back at his time at Derby County, Frank Lampard preferred to play with either a 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 formation with a lot of flexibility for the attacking midfielders/wingers.
In the former (4-2-3-1), he preferred having two sitting midfielders, who just act as ball-winners in the midfield. That was followed by a floating number 10 behind the striker and two wingers holding the width high and wide. Full-backs have an option to cut in or overlap, given the situation.
The latter (4-3-3) is more flexible in the midfield and the attack. There is one sitting midfielder and two box-to-box midfielders, who can exchange positions and cover every inch of the ground.
In this system, the three front players are allowed to interchange and give headaches to the defenders, often confusing them as to who they are marking. Full-backs are required to be wide wingers in possession.
Now, knowing the strengths of the current Chelsea squad and harnessing the fact that they have one of best defensive midfielders in the world in N’Golo Kante, Lampard could be tempted to use the 4-3-3 formation to start the season.
In front of the Frenchman, Mason Mount, who was one of the best players for Derby in the number 8 position, can play along with Ross Barkley or Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
The front three is pretty much fixed, with Christian Pulisic coming in from the left, Willian/Pedro from the right and Tammy Abraham or Olivier Giroud leading the line.
Of course, when Callum Hudson-Odoi returns to full fitness, expect him to replace Willian/Pedro.
The back four picks itself in either system, with Cesar Azpilicueta at right-back, Emerson/Marcos Alonso at left-back and the combination of David Luiz and Antonio Rudger in central defence.
Furthermore, given that Lampard doesn’t mind handing starts to young players, we could actually see Mount and Abraham getting a lot of game time next season. Now that should excite the Chelsea fans!
Whether Frank Lampard’s acquisition would work for Chelsea or not is a different issue but the fact that he will be gladly accepted by the fans and he is certain to hand young players first-team opportunities does provide a lot of early promise.