December 21, 2019. Frank Lampard’s record against top 6 Premier League sides as a Chelsea manager is not great. The Blues have lost 0-4 and 1-2 to Manchester United. They have lost 1-2 to both Liverpool and Manchester City. On the top of that, the Blues have also lost the UEFA Super Cup to Liverpool on penalties. Going into the game against Tottenham, Chelsea have lost 4 of the last 5 Premier League games.
On the other hand, Tottenham were having their worst start to a Premier League season in 5 years. They sacked Pochettino and hired Jose Mourinho to resurrect their form. Things were going quite well as Spurs reduced their deficit from 12 points to 3 points over Chelsea before the game and then madness happened.
In the lead up to the game, Frank Lampard provided a tactical analysis regarding how he plans to break Spurs using his 4-3-3 formation. When the line-ups were out, he actually set up the Blues in a 3-4-3. The latter is a formation in which many Chelsea players are comfortable playing in. Marcos Alonso, Willian, N’Golo Kante, Cesar Azpilicueta and Antonio Rudiger who are survivors from Antonio Conte’s last season in charge know this formation inside out. Furthermore, the addition of an extra CB gave Alonso the authority to make the surging run forward.
The game plan was clear from the first minute of the game. Alonso and Mount doubled up on Aurier whenever Chelsea had the ball on the left and Tammy Abraham kept the central defensive pairing busy to make sure the right back is isolated.
How the game progressed?
The first goal arrived from a corner as Sanchez and Alderweireld were caught napping. Chelsea grew into the fixture as time progressed and it was a matter of time before the Blues would find themselves 2 ahead. However the surprising fact was the way how the second goal was scored. Paulo Gazzaniga went out to clear a ball and ended up tackling Marcos Alonso with his boots high. Anthony Taylor, who was already having a shocking game, ruled in favour of a free kick only for VAR to overturn it. 4th minute into 2 minutes of added time and Willian put Chelsea 2-0 up going into the break.
VAR had to intervene again in the second half as Heung Min Son found himself sent off due to the gross misconduct of kicking Antonio Rudiger. It seemed like Spurs were spiralling in a dead end. Already 2-0 down, they now had to play with a man down for 30 minutes. With the game already in the bag, Lampard made a tactical switch to bring on Jorginho to rather control the game in the central of the park to wear Spurs out.
As the game ended, the passion of Frank Lampard was on display as the apprentice got the better of his master for the 2nd season in a row. However, it was a big moment as Chelsea won their first game against a Big 6 side this season. With the fixtures coming thick and fast, is this the turnaround Blues fans hoped for? Only time will tell us when Chelsea face Arsenal next week in The Emirates.