Despite the noise, Frank Lampard was able to secure a professional pair of squad-rotated wins for Chelsea against Morecambe and Fulham in recent weeks.
Don’t worry dear readers, I’m back. I know what you’ve all been thinking during this time: how could they take away the pubs, social lives and Tactics and Transfers all at once? I apologize, but it had nothing to do with me. That’s not to say I haven’t enjoyed the strange, almost alien perspective of watching football without needing to think of opinions for several months. Alas, though cometh the hour and cometh the man, and there truly are too many things to talk about.
If you feel that Frank Lampard should have been fired in recent weeks, you’re wrong—it’s really quite simple. To lose patience with a man who overachieved in his first year and has had to deal with a plethora of complicating issues during this season would be foolhardy. The strange fixture pile ups that leave teams playing three matches in a week and then one in 14 days don’t allow form or fitness to maintain or teams to build momentum or cohesion. It’s a nightmare. Lampard has dealt with it professionally and honorably, keeping his chin up without throwing his toys out of the pram, like some managers of German descent from Liverpool have decided to this season. He has been a decent and admirable chap throughout.
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The strangeness of COVID testing and all of the things around it that throw the general cycle of daily life in a football club out of sorts certainly hasn’t helped either. Lampard has made mistakes, of course he has. His team selections are sometimes beyond bizarre and for all his talk of meritocracy being the deciding factor in playing time, the prince that is Tammy Abraham has played too little. In recent weeks, the same could be said of the quickly-maturing Hudson-Odoi, as well. He also appears to have gaps in his ability to communicate with players.
Lampard has been far from perfect, but that doesn’t mean the sack is the right choice.
All of that said though, that’s to be expected, isn’t it? His squad is massively too large, and this is something we’ll touch on later. He’s an inexperienced manager who’s success at Derby County was middling at best—we inflated it with favorable loans anyway. Derby couldn’t afford both Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori, one of whom is Chelsea’s best midfielder now and the other won player of the season at the time. The Blues gave them to Lampard’s Derby because he is a favored son. We inflated his success there and he still didn’t win promotion. You know what, though? That’s fine.
Lampard is in his third year of professional management and his second at the top level. He still has not managed a season in the top flight that wasn’t impacted by Coronavirus and had an opportunity to just work on football without the litany of political, health and social issues that the disease has brought into the periphery of football managers around the country.
Other than that, it would be unreasonable to fire Lampard because it simply wouldn’t be good business. It’s not as if there are that many managers in the world who we are certain are available, willing and better than him for the job that Chelsea need done at the moment. Klopp? Guardiola? Simeone? Enrique? Nagelsmann? Zidane? All gainfully employed by clubs in more stable and rational situations than the Blues. The only consideration you could give is Massimiliano Allegri, who is available and a wonderful manager, but not exactly the right fit at the moment for the state of the Blues’ current project.
Is the suggestion that Chelsea fire a club legend during one of the most turbulent times in the sport’s history, simply to take a flyer on a random manager who isn’t a guaranteed improvement and doesn’t know the club, the players or the fan base? Forgive me, but that’s just not on, is it?