A change in role helped Frank Lampard back to form and inspire his side to a 3-0 victory over West Ham United at Upton Park yesterday evening.
Jose Mourinho has been questioned over some of his decisions so far this season, notably his team selection and omission of certain players, but on Saturday he definitely got things right and I’d argue it was probably the best performance since we went for the throat against Hull on the opening day.
There has been a lot of talk amongst fans about the change in shape yesterday as many mistakenly believed Mourinho reverted to a the 4-3-3 system he employed during his first stint at Stamford Bridge, but this is an overly simplistic way of looking at it as it was the roles played by certain individuals made the performance.
Of course, the most obvious change was the one that saw Lampard afforded a more advanced role that was freer from defensive responsibility than his previous job in the ‘pivot’. The England centurion was given a stable base by both Ramires and John Obi Mikel, who was excellent and should be in the side whatever the team formation, whilst Oscar and Eden Hazard pressed and harrassed their opponents.
Lampard bagged his brace and deservedly picked up the man of the match award but it makes me wonder if the side can be altered to suit him without putting others out then can Mourinho do more to utilise the quality of Juan Mata.
Anyway, Chelsea also created a fair amount of space which could have been difficult against a side that was playing 10 men behind the ball from the off and this was, in no small part, thanks to the diagonal running of Eden Hazard, Oscar and Andre Schurrle, whilst Samuel Eto’o made use of the wide space and probably deserved a goal for all his hard work.
There were a few hairy moments in defence but not enough to become a worry as John Terry and company. Cesar Azpilicueta was fantastic and despite playing on the wrong flank he ought to be keeping Ashley Cole out of the side with his performances. Defensively the Spaniard is sound whilst he is a lot more comfortable than Cole then it comes to joining the attack even though he’s playing off his weaker foot.
All in all it was a good day for the Blues.