Frank Lampard understands the anguish of Chelsea fans following their fifth consecutive loss
Just when Chelsea supporters believe that their team’s miserable season cannot get any worse, the Blues crash through the earth and sink to new depths.
The 2-0 loss to Brentford at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday represented the first time in 30 years that Chelsea have lost five consecutive games in all competitions.
All five defeats have occurred since club legend Frank Lampard returned as manager on 3 April for a second stint.
With last week’s Champions League loss to Real Madrid, the 44-year-old had already earned the dubious distinction of being the first Chelsea manager in the club’s 118-year history to lose his first four games in command.
This defeat, however, was against one of Europe’s finest teams. On Wednesday, they confronted a Brentford team that was winless in their previous six Premier League games prior to their trip to Stamford Bridge. Brentford are in their second season in the Premier League.
Lampard is Chelsea’s third manager this season, following Thomas Tuchel and Graham Potter, and the fans’ frustrations at an expensively assembled squad losing while again barely laying a glove on their opponent were evident as the few still in Stamford Bridge at the final whistle jeered Lampard.
Lampard told BBC Sport, in regards to Chelsea fans expressing their opinions, “I have no problem with that and completely understand it.”
“I am familiar with these followers, and they are loyal to their team. They are depressed because they are accustomed to success and want it constantly, just like the rest of us. I completely comprehend why we, as players and personnel, must take it on the chin because they demand results.
“I can now tell the supporters that the players are applying themselves. The fact that Brentford had one shot on goal and scored two goals speaks for itself.
Lampard clearly felt that called for changes in the second half, responding with a double substitution and a change of formation during the break. Azpilicueta and Gallagher both made way, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mykhailo Mudryk joining Sterling in a three-man attack as we took on a 4-3-3 shape.
It nearly paid off within minutes. We instantly started the second half with a much greater level of control, keeping the ball and moving it around while starting to find pockets of space out wide. That nearly produced a quick equaliser, as Chalobah’s cross was only headed out as far as Kante, who controlled and spun to drill a low shot across goal on the bounce, but it fizzed wide of the right-hand post.
We started to increase the pressure, Kante continuing to be at the centre of things, and then some of those inside Stamford Bridge thought one of our half-time introductions had levelled the scores. Thiago Silva faded a lovely pass towards Sterling at the back post and the winger rose well to get his head on it above the defender. Aubameyang was alert and beat the goalkeeper to the dropping ball, but stretching to reach it with Raya’s fist flying out he couldn’t get above the ball, with his header dropping just beyond the crossbar onto the roof of the net.
Shot-shy Chelsea pay the price again
There is no doubt that the away team’s first-half goal was more than a stroke of fate.
Brentford, always a threat from set-pieces, won a corner, which Mathias Jorgensen flicked on, and the ball deflected off the shoulder of Cesar Azpilicueta and into the back of the goal.
Bryan Mbeumo scored the second goal for the Bees late in the second half with their only shot on target.
Chelsea has played seven games in the month of April, but they have scored only one goal. Their adversaries will always have a good chance of claiming victory, given the lack of danger posed by their attacks.
“This is not a sob story, but everything is going against us,” Lampard, Chelsea’s all-time leading scorer, told BT Sport following the encounter.
“We desire a magic wand and a magical occasion. It does not occur because the Premier League is so fast-paced and competitive.”
The worst person at the worst time?
While Lampard has taken over a team that has been mired in mediocrity for some time, his poor start with the Blues continues his alarming decline as a manager.
Including his tenure with Everton, where he was fired on January 23, he has lost nine of his last ten league games, including each of the last six.
Since his February 2022 arrival at Everton, no manager has lost more games than his 24.
Lampard is under contract with Chelsea until the conclusion of the current season, and Mauricio Pochettino, the former manager of Tottenham, has been strongly linked to taking over at Stamford Bridge.
For former Premier League goalkeeper Shay Given, the unpredictability off the field cannot aid his performance on the field.
Given stated on BBC Radio 5 Live, “It seems a bit of a mess with what’s happening off the field and media speculation that Pochettino could be in by the end of the week.”
“What does this mean for Frank Lampard?” What does this mean for the players? It causes confusion and the participants are uncertain of their position. The proprietor is also partially responsible.”
Chelsea only needs to finish in the top half of the table; they are presently 11th, six points behind 10th-place Fulham with six games remaining.
The Blues must also face Manchester City, Manchester United, and Newcastle, and they must travel to Arsenal in their next match.
After that, whoever is entrusted with leading Chelsea forward will oversee a massive summer for the club as they attempt to once again challenge for the league’s top spots.