Date: 19th January 2020 at 8:27am
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Another weekend, another defeat. This one seeming to carry more gravitas than the others. It’s mid-January, there appears to be no signings in the near future and we’ve all said goodbye to those halcyon days of asking for the transfer ban to be extended.

Our eighth defeat after just 23 Premier League games. The same number of defeats suffered by Maurizio Sarri in the whole of last season, and we’ve still got 15 games to go.

We could quite easily be looking at 15 defeats, which would be worse than the 2015/2016 season where we finished 10th.

The good news on that though, is that we’ve already matched the number of wins (12).

I hate to say it, but if our manager wasn’t our greatest ever player, and just another coach from Europe, I’d be calling for them to be sacked.

But, our manager is Frank Lampard and our squad is considerably worse off than last season, thanks largely to the departure of Eden Hazard, which thanks to a transfer ban Chelsea haven’t been able to replace.

And even if they could, how do you replaced the 3rd best player in world football?

Much like last season our position in the table is inflated thanks to the form of our rivals. Spurs, Arsenal and Manchester United are currently as useful as a pair of see through Speedo’s at the local swimming baths.

But, that could change. Any one of those three could potential make a couple of signings that could change the complex of their season. Arsenal need a defender, Spurs need a striker and United, well they need a new manager, but they’ve got previous of paying over the odds to bring in players.

And then there’s us. Having spent a lot of time and a lot of money fighting UEFA over our transfer ban, we seem content enough to wait until the summer to bring in some preferred targets.

Which in some ways is a positive sign that the club have learned some lessons of the past and repeats of signings with Danny Drinkwater will be avoided in the future.

However, there’s no point focusing on the light at the end of the tunnel when the ground is giving way beneath your feet.

In a piece on the Athletic, by Fancast regular Liam Twomey, the financial implications of Chelsea’s failure to maintain Champions League football were laid bare.

We simply cannot afford to miss out on a top four spot this year, which is a real possibility.

And don’t get me wrong, I think Frank has done a decent job so far, given his inexperience managing and the inexperience of most of his squad, but we need to strengthen.

Frank’s focus in press conferences has been on our need to put chances away. Tammy Abraham has exceeded expectations already, but he needs someone else to produce as well.

That striker will also need service, and with the fluctuating fitness of new signing Christian Pulisic and the indifferent form of Callum Hudson-Odoi and Willian, this too could be an area that could have a positive impact on the rest of our season.

Then you’ve got the problem at left back, where Frank can’t seem to make up his mind between who plays. I think for the rest of the season it’ll be César Azpilicueta, as Reece James needs to be in the team.

That can be one of the summer, as can a top level centre half. I like Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen, Kurt Zouma and Fikayo Tomori, but they all need that John Terry like figure beside them.

We need a signing that can have the same effect that Virgil van Dyke has had at Liverpool.

Our first half of the season has been up and down to say the least, we’ve had periods where supporters have been asking to increase the transfer ban, but the final third of the season makes or breaks you.

And if missing out on Champions League football is as devastating as the figures suggest then Chelsea might need to spend some money to make some money.

But remember, we’ve got Frankie Lampard, we knows exactly what we need.

Dean is the author of ‘Cult Fiction- how a year under Sarri almost tore Chelsea apart’ available on Amazon now amzn.to/2T7v5Tu