Frank Lampard’s Chelsea Tactics Explained

Frank Lampard’s Chelsea Tactics Explained

Frank Lampard’s tenure at Chelsea has begun
with some good football but less than great results. A high-scoring pre-season, which
saw plenty of goals scored and conceded while using Lampard’s preferred 4-2-3-1, has given
way to a less successful start to competitive football and a return, of sorts, to Maurizio
Sarri’s 4-3-3 with Jorginho anchoring midfield. That Lampard should like the 4-2-3-1 is no
surprise – it was the preferred set-up of the man he probably absorbed most from tactically,
Jose Mourinho, and it empowers the sort of energetic pressing style that Lampard seems
keen to encourage. This is no doubt part of the reason that Mason Mount, who is familiar
with Lampard’s ideals after his time at Derby County, is starting – Mount is a dedicated
and smart presser who injects energy from midfield and his role, either as a 10 in the
4-2-3-1 or as an 8/10 hybrid in the 4-3-3 helps set Chelsea’s pressing tone. In attack, Chelsea have a clear plan and execute
it well. Jorginho drops back to provide a passing option to the centre backs, while
the advanced midfielders and wide attackers try to find a position between the lines in
the final third, with the centre forward, either Olivier Giroud or Tammy Abraham, a
longer out ball. Jorginho or the centre backs look to effect progressive passes to players
who’ve found space. The wide players tend to tuck in, which is
Pedro’s natural approach anyway, which means that the full backs need to push forwards
to provide overlaps and width. The wide players look to progress the ball to the overlapping
full backs and then push inside – the aim seems to be to generate whipped, low crosses
from these positions, although Chelsea will also play it back through the nearest midfielder
should a chance not be generated at the right pace to cause the opposition issues. The outer midfielders vary in role, to a degree
– Mount pushes up more and looks to profit from Giroud’s ability to hold up the ball
and play players in with flicks and touches, while Kante has a slightly deeper position
to protect Chelsea on the counter. However, Kante will also push up a lot and there are
similarities to Sarri’s style in how Lampard looks to use his two outer central midfielders
to offer pass and move options in the half space. Chelsea are more direct and quicker under
Lampard, while the use of a more traditional centre forward as a focal point makes sense. Defence is where Chelsea have issues, and
this is partly because Lampard’s attacking, energetic approach leaves them open. The defensive
system is extremely demanding, both physically and mentally, and it’s no surprise to see
Chelsea falling off in games once opposition substitutes have refreshed their attack, and
Chelsea’s own players are tiring or new to the dynamic of the game. Chelsea look to
press from the front quite narrowly, sometimes with Mount the most advanced player and the
centre forward slightly behind him, while the full backs or wider central midfielders
are supposed to push up or cover across if this first line of the press is bypassed. Chelsea then defend mostly in 4-4-2 or 4-1-4-1
when they drop off and form a mid or low block, happy to let the opposition pass the ball
around in their own defensive third. The wide attackers, the advanced side players in this
block, do respond to pressing triggers when the ball is moved wide or mis-controlled,
and the central midfielders will also push up and press if Chelsea start to compress
the space. While all these triggers make sense, they
leave gaps that need to be filled, especially when the full backs follow their man inside.
What is clear from watching Chelsea so far this season, especially in the defeat to Manchester
United, is that space appearing in the midfield area, or in the wide channels as full backs
tuck in and wide players press, has been Chelsea’s Achilles heel defensively. The exploitation
of this space, either on the counter as Chelsea attack aggressively, or from bypassing the
press effectively and isolating the Chelsea back line, has proved fertile for opposition
teams and is something that Lampard needs to sort out quickly. It’s why many teams
that use a high press do so with the front players leading it and three players back,
compact across midfield, because there must be solidity if the press is bypassed. The complexity and physically demanding nature
of Chelsea’s attacking, transitional, and pressing game mean that it will take time
to adjust. Jorginho just isn’t the right fit for the fulcrum in an intense pressing
side, either, however good Kante is alongside him. At the moment, Cheslea’s players seem
to be struggling with the aggressive nature of the press and the gaps it leaves – if
the coach doesn’t adjust, expect more high scoring games. Lampard’s style in build-up and attack is
good – there’s a pretty clear intent and Chelsea have some exciting attacking players.
Kante will alleviate some of the defensive issues simply by being the best in the world
at his role, while the other players will adapt and learn. The use of Mount is not to
be underestimated either – it shows not only that Lampard is willing to use young
players, but is also doing it because of what they bring to the team and his style of play
– this isn’t simply pandering to the crowd’s desire to see one of their own in the club’s
colours. But, Jorginho is still flawed defensively
in this system, and Lampard needs to achieve a balance in his preferred style and how the
team need to defend. If Lampard can continue to coax attacking intent from his team, while
introducing more youngsters and tightening Chelsea’s defensive shape, he could prove
a good appointment, but it’s currently a big “if”.

100 thoughts on “Frank Lampard’s Chelsea Tactics Explained

  1. Hit the nail on the head. As a fan of football and Chelsea in particular, I get an idea of what you are describing when I watch the games but I am not as eloquent as pinpointing the exact nature of tge tactics and the key flaws. Jorginho has shown his desire to improve but I agree that he might not be the best fit in that position as our anchor. Definitely got a sub from me.

  2. Stop scapegoating Jorginho. The issue is not solely down to him, our defensive line do not push up with the midfield so we are not compact enough, the understanding is not yet there between our CB. It will come with time.

  3. New fan and really enjoying your videos. I'm a huge Newcastle United fan. Can you please do a video on Steve Bruce and his chances of creating a legacy like sir Bobby Robson did?

  4. I believe the defense will get better not only with the return of Rudiger and addition of James but with time Zouma and Christensen will get comfortable playing with each other and will read each other's game better to cover for each other. I keep telling my friends only Azpilicuetta was the starter the last few years the other 3 guys have just come in as regular. Give it time for them to sort themselves out and the defensive mistakes will subside.

  5. Great video, but Jorginho really does offer so much to this Chelsea side. He reads the game very well and is an important character on the pitch. Lampard rates him incredibly highly.

  6. I think this video is prematurely made. It would have been best in end of September or October after more games.

  7. Not even a mention of Kovacic, especially after the Norwich game, and overemphasizing Jorginho and Mount is just wrong. You obviously didn't put enough time to make a proper analysis. To someone who watched just a game against United your points could seem reasonable and correct. But to someone watched all three games in Premierleague + one against Liverpool in Supercup, this analysis is just apsurd. Not mentioning players like Emerson and Kovacic as clear strengths of this team, Azpi and Zouma as weakness, just says enough. Maybe I'm biased, but I've definitely seen better analysis on Tifo.

  8. Good analysis. From being at the Leicester game and watching all the games thus far I’d say that Kante is not actually as deep as you have alluded to and hardly sits next to Jorginho. Also Jorginho is starting to prove he has what it takes to play in the fulcrum, perhaps not as efficiently as Fernandinho but still to a high level. I’d also say the main problem with the Defense is that the midfield is being bypassed due to the high press lamapard operates and when you have Kante back, Rudiger back, Reece James, you will see a much better unit. Great piece though guys.

  9. high-scoring games are fun and just wait how the team will improve one RLC, CHO and rüdiger come back from injury.
    I'm very excited

  10. The criticism of Jorginho in this video is uncalled for given that we've only seen 3 competitive games this season. Also, Jorginho is gonna play more games than others (bar Kante), because Lampard rates him highly. We've seen Jorginho change his game quite a bit over the last 6 months. His reading of the game is exceptional and though he may not be good at tackling, he is quite good at interceptions and setting up attacking plays/ recycling possession. The shortcomings of his game can be fixed by adjusting the players that play alongside him in the midfield three. imo Jorginho Kante and RLC would be the most stable midfield from both attacking and defensive point.

  11. In the 433 mount has played as an inside forward to the left of abraham not the 8 role that Barkley or Kovacic has played. This is super clear in the victory over norwich.

  12. one thing i have never understood is why jorginho is playing a role he cant fulfill, why not let kante play in the deeper role in the midfielder and let jorginho be further forward, because kante would provide much needed cover in front of the defense especially now that he is coming from an injury, it would benefit him not to make too many forward runs and just keep it simple, yes he is an engine in midfield but you also got to take care of that engine, it cant run at full speed every game, some times you gotta take it easy. I also think it would be better for jorginho to play further forward similar to iniesta and david silva, or maybe even just in front of kante (and not kante in front of him because that does not work) he wont be required to press like the players in front of him, and he wont have to defend like the players behind him, but he will still have defensive responsibility as much as anyone since he will be the link from defense to attack and vise versa, it will also free him up to pick out those inch perfect final passes which which the likes of de bruyne and silva do for city, and are able to do because they have less defensive responsibility…

    but thats what i think, basically let kante and jorginho swap places

  13. Lampards style the team haven't adapted to yet. They're attaching issues are breaking the line in the last 3rd. Time and training that will get sharper.

  14. jorginho is a good player but stubborn and stuck in his ways like sarri. his role is to hold the midfield defensively (fails) and provide swift passes over the field. if you cant develop a proper partnership with kante (one of best midfielders in the world) you cant be in the team. Bakayoko would be an even better fit or reece james an option to cover holes in midfield faster with kante as prime holding midfielder.

  15. I think the issues of Chelsea's defence is the lack of experience at the back. David Luiz had controlled the high defensive line and organised the Defence really well last season (which is why Sarri didn't have massive gaps in the defence compared to Lampard) and that's one of the main reasons Sarri kept him as No1 choice even though defensive Luiz was sometimes a liability.

  16. After a long time, Chelsea are playing some daring and original football. As a chelsea fan, I hate that the results aren't going our way but the play is too good. I love watching the matches now. Every moment is exciting. WE COULD SCORE OR CONCEDE at any time. Looking forward to the rest of the season.

  17. ffs just play Kante in place of Jorginho. Jorginho offers simple links for the CB's, which Kante is more than capable of doing, but also providing 10x the defensive solidity.

  18. Jorginho is really good in possession with his ability to progress the ball and direct play however out of possession he’s a complete liability. He offers zero protection to the back 4 because he’s constantly being bypassed. Also this team looks a lot better in A 433 shape with midfielders either side of Jorginho but chelsea are gonna have to buy a new defensively midfielder

  19. You need to watch more than 4 Chelsea games… Jorginho is probably the most used to an aggressive pressing system out of all the players in our squad, and yet, he's the one who doesn't suit the system? He's an incredible smart footballer, and he knows when to press and when to hold. The issue isn't him, it's that right now we've not quite found that balance in our pressing, and we don't quite press effectively enough as a unit. That leaves him exposed, not him being inept at pressing.

  20. Would love to see a deep dive video on Ajax's youth system. How they are able to consistently churn out world class players and prospects almost like an assembly line of talent.

  21. This is soooo true. On counters we are vulnerable and the midfield is wide open. At times we allow players to run at us until they get to our third of the field which is always dangerous. With kante and rudgier back we will be more solid defensively and when CHO comes back then an added threat going forward. I can see us actually improving as the season goes on

  22. Kante is great, but I can’t help but think how much better they would be with a dedicated defensive midfielder sitting in front of the back line. Kovacic and jorginho don’t give nearly enough and Kante can’t cover the whole pitch himself

  23. Tactics stupid and stupidity and Mount make mistakes and ill tactically defend u at presser
    LAMPARD is a fool and Mount is English overrated trash
    All facts

  24. Jorginho is left to hang because mount is always being abused bye the opposition especially after manager points out how stup Mount really is and that’s mostly because frank is dumb and is always telling Mount to try and score and he DOESNT 2 goals in this many minutes is pathetic and in that high advance roll he’s pathetic
    Mount is killing Chelsea but LAMPARD is all about mounts tight shorts

  25. you r completely wrong man. Only reason chelsea r suffering at back is due to the fact that individual character of cb are not that high.
    jorginho and kovasic along with emerson are the best , consistance player in this year,s matches.

  26. I would play a 4-2-1-3
    GK Kepa
    LB Emerson
    CB Christensen
    CB Rudiger
    RB Azpilicueta
    LDM Kante
    RDM Jorginho
    CAM Kovacic
    LW Pulisic
    RW Willian
    ST Giroud

  27. Kovacic should start over Jorginho every game I don’t care what these Twitter virgins say they don’t understand football

  28. Is 4-2-3-1 better than 4-3-3 for overall match? 4-3-3 looks like its better for going forward than 4-2-3-1 which looks to single striker out. There are many formations, how formations are integrated into tactics of each manager?

  29. Lots of good points, but your points of Jorginho are completely off. He’s arguably the most important player in the team purely from his leadership. He is our most reliable passer, constantly directs the team around, and always knows where everyone should be. He’s a future captain and praised by Lampard (and sarri) for a reason. He was the most scapegoated player last season because of his friendship with sarri, and now even the chelsea fans are chanting his name. Hes put in shift after shift, and if he was playing for man city like he was originally going to be, he’d be regarded as one of the worlds best midfielders. Not to mention, he had the most interceptions in the prem last season, so the idea that he can’t defend is nonsense. I really suggest you pay more attention to what he offers, rather than what he lacks. It’s vastly outweighed.

  30. Nothing about Kovacic and Emerson who has been playing brilliantly and a little harsh on Jorginho. I think he's adapting to his new role quite well.

  31. How i wish fabregas still played for us.
    Jorginho is great.But fabregas would have suited much better for franks style of play in Chelsea

  32. I like Lampard's pragmatic approach. Seeing Chelsea play is a joy as I am also a big fan of high pressing marking if needs be. He will get it right in due time and I fear once that happens, Chelsea would be seemingly impossible to stop. I am an Arsenal fan by the way.

  33. Am not happy with my club, after scoring 2goals, nd draw 2-2 that poor for me .my question is,can Frank lampard manage chelsea with this kind of poor performance in the midle fielders?

  34. i believe you are massively wrong on Jorginho, He is a hard working brilliant tackling defensive mid. Coming from Italy is a problem where you can do things with lots of time

  35. I have one other worrisome thought… I hope that Zouma gets his mind back at the game, he was brilliant 2 seasons back before the injury right before the end of the season, a true masterclass of a defender. Now, while he still shoes signs of who he is, he makes a lot and i mean a lot of mistakes in covering attackers, positioning etc. I love Zouma, but he will need to get better to stay in the st 11.

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