Frank Lampard’s tenure as Chelsea boss is firmly underway following a brace of pre-season friendlies in Ireland. They began with a 1-1 draw with Bohemians last week before demolishing St Patrick’s Athletic 4-0 over the weekend. It may not be the greatest measure of quality and competition in the world but it is a first look towards the Lampard era at Stamford Bridge. So what did we learn before they head off to Japan for another pre-season double?
Derby duo destined for opportunity
Lampard was able to call upon his old club whilst manager of Derby County last season so has familiarity with some of his new squad already. Both Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori enjoyed successful season-long loans in the Championship last term. Mason mounted his name as one of the best in the league by scoring 11 and assisting six in 44 appearances from a midfield position. He has continued to impress under the wing of Lampard, even allowing for set-piece duties despite some elite names sharing the field with him. His energy was faultless and at the very least he should continue to be given a chance next week in Japan. Tomori lined-up next to likely first-choice David Luiz and the pair of them kept a first-half clean sheet together – that spot is open to be filled with Antonio Rudiger out through injury currently. He did his chances no harm but let’s see if he can do the same against Barcelona.
Michy Batshuayi could become first-choice
Batshuayi started up front alongside Tammy Abraham in the first-half, with both men competing for the same spot it was a bold move if not a tactical one. It was the Belgian’s goal against West Brom which secured the Premier League title in 2017 but he has had a sporadic spell at the club since then, going out on loan three times to Borussia Dortmund, Valencia and Crystal Palace. He looked the more composed of the two and clearly wants a decent crack at cementing a spot in Lampard’s side this season. The 25-year-old bagged six goals in 13 appearances for Palace suggesting he still has a lot to offer in the Premier League. He will certainly be a more dynamic option than Olivier Giroud.
Diamond vs 4-3-3
Lampard tested out a few options but the best two formations looked to be the diamond which he operated in the first-half and the usual 4-3-3 system they closed the game with. The first-half was some of the best stuff they’ve played in a long while – albeit against poor quality opposition but it’s only pre-season. The diamond allowed Jorginho to impress in a familiar defensive midfield role while Barkley and Mount were given quite a lot of freedom. Whether that becomes a long-term option or not is unlikely considering the decent options out wide they can utilise – Callum Hudson-Odoi, Christian Pulisic, Pedro and Willian. It’s worth keeping an eye on in Japan that’s for sure.