The Premier League run-in has big implications for all teams and managers alike, but for Frank Lampard, I believe it has more implications than most.
At the end of Matchday 30 in the Premier League, Chelsea are currently doing well, sitting in 4th position. But their season could go one of two ways.
On one hand, they are now just 3 points behind 3rd place Leicester City, who are starting to stutter. And on the other hand, they are just 5 points away from dropping out of the Top 5 altogether, never mind the Top 4.
Chelsea also have Manchester City on the horizon, meaning there is a strong possibility of dropping points this week.
By the end of Matchday 31 in the Premier League, they could either be challenging Leicester City for 3rd place, or in a dog fight with Man Utd and Wolves for 4th place.
A decent run of results for Chelsea, could see them overtake Leicester and finish 3rd. This would represent an outstanding season for Lampard and the Blues.
No one expected them to be above Man City and Liverpool, especially with the transfer ban Chelsea were under. So to finish 3rd behind City and Liverpool would be way beyond the expectations that anybody at the club had at the start of the season.
But things seem to be gradually changing at Stamford Bridge. The club has now backed Lampard in the transfer market, and the hierarchy will be expecting results on the pitch.
The signings of Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner are big statements. There are rumours that Ben Chilwell may follow, Chelsea are clearly rebuilding.
So why does this put Frank Lampard under pressure?
Chelsea have a history – shall we say – of being less than patient with managers.
If they have a bad end to this season, and fall out of the Top 4 – which is possible – and then get off to a bad start next season, given all the exciting new talent the club have signed, will they remain patient with Super Frank? I’m not so sure they will.
In Lampard’s defence, he is likely to lose the experience of Olivier Giroud, Willian, and Pedro. In reality the new signings are replacements, not additions to the squad.
These experienced players are also only being replaced with less experienced players, and with an already inexperienced squad at Chelsea, I do believe it would be unfair to expect too much again next season.
But again, would that be enough to keep Lampard in a job if things start to go wrong?
This is one of the reasons I believe the final 8 games of this season are huge in the future of Frank Lampard’s managerial career. I don’t believe next season will be any easier, so finishing this one strongly is imperative.
If Lampard can push on and finish 3rd, that’s an unbelievable achievement, he will have effectively won the second tier of the Premier League, for want of a better phrase.
Finish with a whimper, and drop out of the Top 4, and it will now be looked upon as a major set back.
Ziyech and Werner haven’t joined with a view to playing Europa League football, and I’m sure the club’s hierarchy have already pencilled in the Champions League for next season.
Chelsea’s Remaining Fixtures
- Chelsea V Man City – 25th June
- West Ham V Chelsea – 1st July
- Chelsea V Watford – 4th July
- Crystal Palace V Chelsea – 7th July
- Sheffield United V Chelsea – 11th July
- Chelsea V Norwich – 15th July
- Liverpool V Chelsea – 18th July
- Chelsea V Wolves 26th July