THE HONEYMOON period is well and truly over for Frank Lampard.
He may be a Blues legend but three points from four games against some of the worst teams in the Premier League is nowhere near good enough no matter how many goals you scored as a player.
Today’s 1-0 defeat to Bournemouth was the third in a worrying run of results against some seriously out of form teams.
It also made it just one win in five Prem games for the Blues and the 11th of 12 in which they have failed to keep a clean sheet.
Dan Gosling’s 84th minute winner was one of few clear cut chances the Cherries had today and while a defeat as opposed to a draw maybe harsh on Lampard’s men, no one in the stadium could argue Chelsea deserved to win the game.
Based on the last ten games, Eddie Howe’s men were 18th in the form table going into today’s game.
That’s just one spot above West Ham who Chelsea also managed to lose 1-0 to here just two weeks ago in similar sucker-punch fashion.
The Blues’ 3-1 defeat at Everton last weekend may be excused by the new manager bounce the Toffees were given by Duncan Ferguson.
But nonetheless, a team of Chelsea’s calibre should be getting something against a team 15th in the table regardless of the opposition manager.
After today’s defeat, Lampard admitted his team his team played with fear and called on them to show their personalities against teams like this.
He described West Ham, Everton and Bournemouth as teams who are organised and wanted to stop his team from playing.
Well lots of teams are like that.
And worryingly for Lampard, today’s performance is rapidly becoming a trademark of his team when up against so called weaker sides.
Swift to transition the ball out from the back, nice tidy football to feed their quick wingers but alarmingly blunt and devoid of ideas in the final third when space is at a premium.
Asked if the crowd were flat and if they could have done more to help his risk averse team today, Lampard was blunt in his rebuttal.
He said: “If I was in the crowd I wouldn’t want to watch that. Too slow. Passing the ball between centre-back to full-back and back to centre-back without taking any risks.”
Lampard also demanded more of Christian Pulisic in the build up to this game and he certainly did not get the response he was after from the American today who he hauled off just after the hour mark.
Early season wonder Mason Mount was also miles short of his dazzling best as he showed once again why he has been dropped to the bench on occasion recently.
Granted Emerson should have scored the absolute sitter of a header he fluffed in the second-half but you can’t rely on your left-back getting on the end of a deflected cross to win you games week in week out.
Because let’s face it, Bournemouth are not the first and will not be the last “well organised team who want to stop Chelsea playing” – as Lampard put it – to come and defend well at Stamford Bridge this season.
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Lampard cut a frustrated figure in the dugout as the afternoon wore on.
And while he will likely tell his players they did not deserve to lose, he needs to find a formula that sees his team exploiting the quality they clearly have going forward.
It’s Spurs away next up, and having become the first Chelsea manager to lose at home to West Ham since 2002 last month – a bitter pill for ex-Hammer Lampard to swallow – he will be desperate for his team to bounce back with a bang against their other bitter London rivals.