A Blue Up North previews Chelsea’s home fixture against Leicester City.
This Sunday will see a very special moment for all Chelsea fans and one of their most idolised players. Just before 16:30 local time, Frank Lampard will make his way along the tunnel at Stamford Bridge and emerge to a cauldron of admiration from the entire home support. There won’t be a dry eye as he acknowledges his support and then takes his place in the home dugout for the first time as Chelsea manager.
But then almost immediately afterward, his side will have the serious issue of taking on Brendan Rodgers’s Leicester City side in their Premier League clash.
Chelsea have had an unsuccessful start to this season. They played well for most of the match but eventually were thrashed away to rivals Manchester United and then generally outplayed the Champions League holders, but lost on penalties.
Despite their losses, most Chelsea fans will be optimistic going in to their first home match of the season. They had enjoyed plenty of possession and played with purpose at Old Trafford, and then improved on all their positives in The Super Cup tie in Istanbul on Wednesday.
The inclusion of N’Golo Kante in particular had energised the team to outplay a Liverpool side who had finished 26 points above them in the league last season and who had swept newly promoted Norwich City aside in their opening match.
Chelsea had generated 18 chances at Old Trafford and then had another 20 attempts at the Liverpool goal in the sticky conditions midweek. And if the frame of the goal they were aiming at had been more forgiving, both results might have been very different.
The Blues’s defence had looked very fragile last weekend. However, the same back 5 all had improved performances, both individually and as a unit, on Wednesday. Despite the top quality that Liverpool have in their attack, Kepa and his defenders remained far more resolute than they had been last weekend.
And now Frank may be able to call upon Antonio Rudiger and Willian to further strengthen his side as more of his players return from injury. If deemed fit enough, arguably Chelsea’s best defender may replace Andreas Christensen, who had limped of the pitch on Wednesday.
Willian’s pace and guile, not to mention his free kick ability, may be what The Blues require against a tough opponent this Sunday. The Foxes may have sold Harry Maguire but they are still a team aiming to break into the top 6 in the Premier League on a regular basis.
Brendan Rodgers may have started his coaching career at Chelsea, but he has not managed to beat us yet as a manager. Meanwhile, The Blues have failed to score in their last 3 matches against Leicester and a Jamie Vardy goal inflicted Chelsea’s first home defeat of last season.
But while Leicester will be a tough opponent to break down and beat, this is a Chelsea team that is showing plenty of signs of becoming a good team. The end results for the season might be determined by their weaknesses, but there are many positives throughout this squad.
If Kepa, Emerson, Jorginho, Kante and Pulisic can continue with the outstanding performances they displayed in the energy sapping heat during a European Final, then surely Frank Lampard will be enjoying yet another proud moment in his illustrious Chelsea career and win his first match as their manager.
Written by Jon Ellis, home and away season ticket holder. Follow him on Twitter @ClitheroeBlue