Bengaluru, Aug 6: Chelsea welcomed home one of their favourite sons in Frank Lampard as he was replaced Sarri as the new Blues manager.
The former Derby manager is now just a couple of days away from making his Premier League debut after a packed month of learning on the job about his squad. Chelsea face Manchester United at Old Trafford on August 11 in what guarantees to be a major test for Lampard and his backroom staff.
However, Lampard's dream management job has come with a heavy package where he is unable to sign any players during his first year in the job with Chelsea forbidden by FIFA from buying anyone. The former English midfielder, however, gave every member of his squad the chance to make a claim for a place in his plans, the boss and his coaching staff are now finalising their team and tactics ahead of the big kick-off.
After four wins out of seven pre-season matches so far, these are the things the Blues could look into in a positive way:
Selection headache for Lampard
In most of the games, Lampard has tried two formations. One with 4-2-3-1 and another one in 4-3-3. And in both systems, two players have emerged up heavily - Ross Barkley and youngster Mason Mount. Having worked with Mount throughout last season at Derby, there is a possibility he will be given a big role in the coming season. The 20-year-old looked more than comfortable playing the creative midfielder role throughout pre-season, scoring three goals in the process. He has settled in well with the big boys and with every passing match, shows he has the game and the temperament to thrive.
However, his selection could be strongly challenged by Barkley as well who too has had an outstanding pre-season. The English player since his transfer two seasons back has not had a bright time. But playing just off the forward, the former Everton man has been impressive and is expected to be the prime attacker under Lampard.
Kante again could be the key
Due to injury issues, Kante came back to England in mid-season. However he appeared in the last friendly game against Gladbach. One of the negatives of the pre-season has been the number of goals being shipped so far, eleven in the seven matches played. One of the reasons can be the absence of N'Golo Kante.
Sarri used Kante as the box to box midfielder last season with a view to moving forward but Lampard who likes to make a double pivot in the midfield placed Kante in his usual position in the defensive zone, and he looked sharp promptly. Chelsea was 2-0 behind in the half time but after Kante's arrival, the team looked defensively strong and they went on to level the game 2-2.
Pulisic knows how to score
Arriving at a club like Chelsea for £60million as a 20-year-old that too as a replacement of Eden hazard, the budding pressure on him is certainly enormous. However, if we go by his performance in the pre-season, the fans should be really excited. Joined up with the squad for the first time in Japan he looked a really good prospect. Against RB Salzburg he really showed what he could do with a magnificent brace, showing pace and a couple of neat finishes.
Definitely, he is still going to need time to adapt to the Premier League, but surely Lampard has got the hint that the speedy winger can be a real gem from the left-hand side. He should claim a starting place straight away, with Willian and Pedro set to battle it out on the other flank - Callum Hudson-Odoi will no doubt be looking for a spot though when he returns from his long-term injury.