Five Chelsea players will be dreading the shock return of Frank Lampard

Will Ford
Silva Kepa Chelsea

Good Lord, he’s back. Frank Lampard rides in as Chelsea’s white knight in their hour of need.

Eighteen of Chelsea’s current squad haven’t had the pleasure of working under the club legend, and while these five will be singing his praises, this lot will be dreading his return…


Ruben Loftus-Cheek
Loftus-Cheek was injured for most of Lampard’s first season, but the few brief appearances he made at the back end led only to his exit from Stamford Bridge.

He returned after a loan season at Fulham and featured prominently under both Thomas Tuchel and then Graham Potter. He’s been used as something of a stick to beat the latter with by the fans, who can’t understand why Loftus-Cheek has played so frequently after the club spent £600m in the last two transfer windows. With Lampard presumably keen to keep the fans onside, combined with the return of N’Golo Kante, Loftus-Cheek’s Chelsea career looks as good as over.


Kepa Arrizabalaga
The £72m goalkeeper is thought to be one of the big reasons for the breakdown in relationship between Lampard and the Chelsea board.

In the end, Marina Granovskaia agreed to sign Edouard Mendy – which turned out to be exactly the right call – but the club weren’t happy with Lampard dropping Kepa at the end of the 2019-20 season and urged the manager to put his arm round the goalkeeper instead of pushing for a new recruit.

Kepa was reportedly unhappy with how Lampard dealt with the situation and felt that he did not provide sufficient support, which as his current form suggests, would have gone a long way to improving his state of mind and performances. He also described the football under Lampard as “not so elaborate” with “less control” than under Tuchel.


Cesar Azpilicueta
“Now with Tuchel everything has improved,” Azpilcueta said less than a month after the German boss had replaced Lampard. “The solidity has recovered, fewer opportunities are granted and that speaks of the work of the group, from the first attacker to the last defender. With the new coach we try to control the games with and without the ball.”

Azpilicueta started just seven of 18 Premier League games in Lampard’s second season, with James coming to the fore at right-back and no space for the club captain in a back four. It’s not hugely surprising then that Azpilicueta was singing Tuchel’s praises given the new manager changed to a back three to accommodate him.


Kai Havertz
“Before Covid he was playing very well as the right-sided eight,” Lampard said as he defended Havertz three months into his Premier League career.

A box-to-box role for Havertz would actually be nice to see. He’s been getting stick for what has been some pretty rotten finishing, but he does excellent work before he reaches the crucial moment, knitting the play together with his neat touches and ability to drive past players.

His problem will be getting in the team ahead of Kante, Mateo Kovacic, Enzo Fernandez and Mason Mount, all of whom will be vying for those central midfield slots in what will most likely be a 4-3-3. He’s not a winger and he’s not a No.9, so there doesn’t look as though there’s a place for him in a Lampard XI.

Lampard Havertz Chelsea


Thiago Silva
Like pretty much all of the recruits made in the summer of 2020, Silva said Lampard was a huge influence on his decision to move to Chelsea. The Brazil legend cited Lampard’s winning mentality and vision for the club as keys to his arrival at Stamford Bridge.

But the centre-back spent a lot of that season looking awfully lonely at the back, as Lampard’s tactics looked set to curtail a career that we now know was far from over. Not only did Lampard play Chilwell and James as two very attacking full-backs, he also quite frequently fielded Kante as the sole protector of the back four. Give the old man a chance.

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