The wait is over and the inevitable has been confirmed – Chelsea have appointed former midfielder and club legend Frank Lampard as their new manager, tying the 41-year old to a 3-year contract at Stamford Bridge.
Lampard leaves Championship side Derby County to take the reins at the club where he spent 13 successful years as a player, filling the void left by the recently departed Italian Coach Maurizio Sarri,
In his first season in management, the former England international led Derby to the Championship play-off final in 2018/19, where the Rams eventually lost to Aston Villa.
During his year at Pride Park, Lampard moulded a young County squad into a slick passing, easy on the eye outfit, and the ability he showed in developing players with potential is likely to have appealed to the decision makers at Chelsea, with the club in the midst of a two-window transfer ban.
“I am immensely proud to be returning to Chelsea as head coach,” said Lampard in an official statement.
“Everyone knows my love for this club and the history we have shared. However, my sole focus is on the job in hand and preparing for the season ahead.
“I am here to work hard, bring further success to the club and I cannot wait to get started.”
Lampard is the 10th full-time manager appointed by Roman Abramovich since the Russian bought the club in 2003, but how is Chelsea’s all-time leading goalscorer likely to fare in the dugout at Stamford Bridge?
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Chelsea to finish above Man Utd the 2019/20 Premier League – 8/11
Chelsea (3rd) finished above Manchester United (6th) in the 2018/19 Premier League with relative comfort under former boss Maurizio Sarri, though the final 6-point gap between the clubs is hardly insurmountable.
Understandably, plenty of parallels are being drawn between Chelsea’s decision to hire Lampard and United’s appointment of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – and it will be fascinating to see which of these former Premier League legends performs better next season.
Chelsea to be the top London club in the 2019/20 Premier League – 9/4
Even though Maurizio Sarri was virtually chased out of Stamford Bridge by the end of his short tenure there, the enigmatic Italian left Chelsea as Europa League champions and as the top performing London club in England’s top flight.
Frank Lampard would undoubtedly take finishing above Tottenham and Arsenal in his first season in charge if you offered it to him now, however, with the Blues shorn of Eden Hazard’s talismanic talents, replicating Sarri’s achievements could prove tricky.
Lampard/Chelsea to win a trophy in 2019/20 Season (EPL, FA Cup, EFL Cup, CL) – 4/1
While Lampard’s legendary status should ensure that he enjoys a little more leeway and patience than his long list of predecessors, Chelsea are club that demands success – and their former midfield superstar will have to deliver it.
Landing a trophy in his first season at Stamford Bridge would be a dream scenario for Lampard, and while Chelsea look ill-equipped to mount a genuine charge for the Premier or Champions League in 2019/20, winning either domestic cup certainly isn’t beyond them.
Chelsea last won the FA Cup as recently as 2017/18, while their last triumph in the League Cup came back in the 2014/15 season. Lampard won 4 FA Cups and 2 League Cups with the Blues as a player.
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Lampard/Chelsea to win the 2019/20 Premier League & FA Cup – 150/1
For the extreme optimists out there, Paddy Power are offering 150/1 odds on Chelsea winning the Premier League and FA Cup double next season.
The Blues won the domestic double just once before in the club’s history, when they lifted both of English football’s most prestigious trophies under Carlo Ancelotti in 2009/10.
Frank Lampard played a key role in helping Chelsea to their double dose of glory that year, by scoring a staggering 26 goals from midfield. Lampard also provided the assist for Didier Drogba’s crucial goal in Chelsea’s 2-1 Cup Final win over Liverpool.
Frank Lampard to leave Chelsea before May 17th 2020 – 5/6
If you think Lampard’s Chelsea tenure is doomed to fail and that his lack of experience will see him crumble under the pressure that comes with managing a top club, you can back Lampard to leave Stamford Bridge again before May 17th 2020 at 5/6 with Paddy Power.
The short price on offer suggests that the bookies think there is a distinct possibility that this will happen, and with Chelsea’s notorious trigger-happy reputation, this scenario doesn’t seem overly far-fetched.
Barring a complete disaster next season, Lampard will receive enormous backing from a Chelsea support that will be desperate for him to succeed. Roman Abramovich isn’t one to be swayed or pushed into making a democratic decision however, and if Lampard doesn’t’ impress him, he won’t hesitate to swing his infamous axe again.
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