What a win! What a performance! Chelsea are back baby!
Not many were confident going into this game against Wolves, who despite struggling so far this season, remain a decent team with really decent players.
In fact on the Love Sport show last Friday (which you can listen to here) Jonathan and I couldn’t back a Chelsea win and Sam from the Wolves 77 podcast declared Wolves would win 3-1!
But we were shit hot.
I was a bit concerned we were potentially heading towards a Lampard cliff edge. 1 win in 5 and a tricky game against Wolves, followed by a trip to Anfield to take on Liverpool to come could have left us at 1 win in 7.
Then all of a sudden we’ve lost a third of the season, making it so much harder to mount the challenge for the top four.
But fear not.
What happened is what we’ve spoke about, Chelsea have to score lots of goals and score them early and that’s exactly what they did taking a 3-0 lead into half time.
They had plenty of opportunities against Leicester City in the opening 25 minutes, but only scored once, allowing them to earn a point at Stamford Bridge.
And it was a similar story in the other games this season, with Chelsea being made to pay for not taking enough of their chances and being let down defensively.
The return of Antonio Rudiger to the defence certainly seemed to help things, but I also think switching to a back three had a bigger impact.
It provided the full backs with cover when they pushed forward and allowed Chelsea an extra body in midfield when one of them stepped out, as is what happened when Fikayo Tomori scored his wonder goal.
The performance and the formation will provide Frank Lampard with the best kind of headache.
Does he switch back to 4 at the back? Does Emerson come straight back into the team? Who makes way for N’Golo Kante?
The way Lampard has instructed the full backs to get further forward has made us vulnerable defensively, especially on the counter attack.
Playing Kante in the midfield two could solve some of this issue, with his ability to cover the whole pitch allowing more defensive cover than Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic provide.
But at the same time, Jorginho and Kovacic have been excellent this season and don’t deserve to lose their place, but you have to pick a world class talent like Kante.
A midfield 3 is the only way to fit them in, but going 3-5-2 with three central midfielders means having no wide players.
And that’s without mentioning what will happen when Ruben Loftus-Cheek returns from injury.
Lampard could go straight back to his preferred 4, but as we saw with Marcos Alonso’s inch perfect cross for Tammy Abraham’s second goal, he’s got so much to offer going forward.
Emerson’s been one of the best full backs in Europe so far this season and he also deserves a place in the team, but as a wing back, you’ve got to favour Alonso.
One thing in Lampard’s favour is the amount of games coming up will allow him to chop and change the team.
But these kind of selection dilemmas will be a real test of his man management skills and his ability to keep players happy even if they’re not playing.
Everything about Lampard as a person suggests he’ll be able to do that, and if you’re winning, things always seem rosier.
Up the Chels!
Dean is the author of ‘Cult Fiction- how a year under Sarri almost tore Chelsea apart’ available on Amazon now amzn.to/2T7v5Tu