Bengaluru, Feb 5: A two-week winter break could not have come at a better time for Frank Lampard and Chelsea.
The Blues are having a mixed season this campaign and despite a bright start, now sit in fourth place but with a four-point difference between them and Tottenham Hotspur in fifth.
The gap could have been bigger however Lampard's men managed just one in last month while ahead of what promises to be an extremely tough month of football.
After Chelsea's 2-2 draw with Leicester City on Saturday they now have an FA Cup clash with Liverpool and a Champions League tie with Bayern Munich to come before facing Manchester United in the next game week in Premier League.
Certainly, suggesting these couple of fixtures would define the rest of the Blues' season wouldn't be overstating. Lampard would surely be keen on getting maximum points from the remaining league matches, however, there are a couple of areas he needs to fix in the meantime to have the best possible result.
These are the three things that Lampard should do after the break if he wants his side to qualify for the top four.
Decide his best midfield option
Frank Lampard has tried with a number of different midfield combinations so far this season and continues to shuffle the lineup based on the opponent. He has mixed between a 3-4-3, 4-2-3-1 and a 4-3-3 all season. N'Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic, Ross Barkley and Jorginho are his main choices currently with Loftus-Cheek also waiting on the selection line. But shuffling his options frequently may have disrupted the connection with the backline and defence with players often leaving spaces between the lines. They're often far too open in the middle of the park and Lampard must ensure a specific gameplan which would allow the players either commit to this pressing style fully or not do it at all.
Bringing back Giroud in the line-up
Abraham was one of the brightest sparks in the Chelsea side at the start of the season but lately, the English forward seem to have begun to show some wear and tear while Lampard's other option, Michy Batshuayi has been far from his best whenever called upon off the bench. At such a moment providing chances would offer a different dimension to the lineup and it could turn out to be an excellent last-ditch option for the rest of this season.
Integrating Pulisic and Loftus-Cheek faster in the side
The losses of Christian Pulisic and Ruben Loftus-Cheek haven't helped Lampard either and they are likely to be fit after the break. Lampard must ensure their fitness as soon as possible to integrate into the line-up and their returns could turn out as massive steps in the right direction.
Pulisic was having a decent run of games and performing well, with five goals to his name just before his injury and Chelsea since looked to have missed his incision, extra pace and skill while the return of Ruben Loftus-Cheek will hand Lampard an extra option in the midfield with a new dynamics.