?It’s safe to say that this season has come as a pleasant surprise for Chelsea fans. The doom and gloom around Stamford Bridge has quickly evaporated, and life is good once more.
A top-four finish seems comfortably within reach, while nobody thought Chelsea would find themselves hanging on in the race for the Premier League title by this point.
Having said that, not everything has been rosy for the Blues, so let’s take a look at three positives and three negatives from the season so far.
Positive – Frank Lampard’s Performance
Coming into this season, even the most optimistic of ?Chelsea fans had doubts over whether Frank Lampard was ready to be manager of this club. With just one season of experience with ?Derby County under his belt, did this appointment come too soon?
Not even slightly.
Any doubts about Lampard’s ability have been thrown out the window. The boss has proven to be passionate, intelligent and versatile, while simultaneously setting up his side to play some fantastic football. The feel-good factor is back at Stamford Bridge, and that’s all down to Super Frank.
Negative – Inconsistent Defence
Lampard’s tactics certainly favour attacking, because his side’s defensive play has been questionable, to say the least.
Chelsea have kept just four clean sheets in their 19 games in all competitions this season, conceding several? sloppy goals. Defending from set pieces has been nonexistent at times, costing the Blues too many points.
Fortunately, they have outscored the majority of their opponents this season, but you get the feeling that that can’t go on forever.
Positive – Youth Emergence
Chelsea’s transfer ban could have been a death sentence for the Blues, who looked destined to fall into mid-table obscurity. Lampard had to turn to the club’s academy for reinforcements, and every single recruit has been outstanding.
Tammy Abraham, Fikayo Tomori and Mason Mount are already stars. Reece James is well on his way. Billy Gilmour has impressed during his brief cameos. Marc Guehi is a valuable reserve right now. The list goes on.
Nobody could have foreseen this level of success for Chelsea. Their academy stars have stepped up to the ?Premier League with frightening ease, and the future looks incredibly bright.?
Negative – Injury Struggles
It’s amazing that Chelsea have even had 11 players to field this season, given the amount of injuries which have plagued Lampard’s first campaign in charge.
Both ?Antonio Rüdiger and ?N’Golo Kanté have effectively been non-factors this season. Reece James, Andreas Christensen, Emerson, ?Willian and Callum Hudson-Odoi have all struggled, while ?Ruben Loftus-Cheek is still yet to return from his Achilles injury.
Positive – Coping Without Eden Hazard
Chelsea were supposed to be doomed without ?Eden Hazard. The Belgian, who had carried them far too often in recent years, left for ?Real Madrid during the summer and Chelsea weren’t even allowed to replace him.
Fortunately, Christian Pulisic has come into his own in recent weeks, while Willian is in the form of his life. The Brazilian has won over the fans who have criticised him for years. Everyone’s a winner.?
That’s not to say that Chelsea wouldn’t be a better side with Hazard still wearing blue, but they were supposed to be so much worse than they actually are.
Negative – Callum Hudson-Odoi’s Lack of Minutes
One youngster who is still battling for a spot in the team is Hudson-Odoi. With Pulisic and Willian both shining on the wings, the 19-year-old has had to settle for minutes off the bench, which isn’t ideal.
Nobody is worried about Lampard’s opinion of Hudson-Odoi. In fact, it’s obvious that the boss sees him as a vital part of the future but, in an ideal world, most fans wanted the teenager to be a core part of the team already.
With Willian now 31 years old, Hudson-Odoi will get his chance to shine somewhere down the line, but fans might have to continue to be patient.? He is still getting games, but just not at the rate many expected him to.
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