Chelsea were left humiliated after a 1-0 defeat to J-League outfit Kawasaki Frontale on Friday with new boss Frank Lampard hoping they put things right against Barcelona. More of The Blues’ first-team stars are expected to feature for lengthy spells though they will be without N’Golo Kante who returned to England to continue rehabilitation on his knee problem. Kepa and Tammy Abraham could return from their respective illness’ to feature.
As a midfielder Lampard never found it a problem finding the net – he did score 209 for Chelsea in 642 appearances. Some return. However, as a manger, under the restraints of a transfer ban, scoring goals may be his biggest worry. Through no fault of his own, he only has three forwards at the club for this upcoming season – Olivier Giroud, Michy Batshuayi and Tammy Abraham. Having lost the goals of Eden Hazard and lost options in both Gonzalo Higuain and Alvaro Morata, this is where Lampard may struggle in his first season in charge at Stamford Bridge. He isn’t blessed with the 30-goal striker that the other sides in the top six have at their disposal. Giroud only netted 13 times last season, two of which in the Premier League and there will be a big reliance on new signing (snuck in before the ban) Christian Pulisic to impress on the left where Hazard netted 21 times in all competitions. The game against Barcelona will give more of an indication to see who the boss favours and if he wants to try and more partnerships up top.
According to the Evening Standard, Lampard favours the 4-2-3-1 formation as it will restore N’Golo Kante to the heart of the team after being played out of position by Maurizio Sarri for most of last season. Though, he won’t feature against Barcelona it will be interesting to see who does. Jorginho is probably a guarantee but who next to him? Being such an anchor, the player next to him has more freedom so maybe Ross Barkley drops slightly deeper and allows Mason Mount to be the number ten. The formation also answers some of the aforementioned striker worries – who will get that sole spot up top? Neither of the three would get into the Barcelona side if we’re honest – or many of the top four, five clubs in the Premier League. We’ll also see more of Kurt Zouma battling Andreas Christensen for that final centre-back spot with Antonio Rudiger out from injury.
More of Pulisic
We’ll get to see much more of Pulisic who a lot of fans have their hopes tied up with. The USA winger barely featured for more than 25 minutes against Kawasaki as he was eased back into playing. He’s hardly had any time off after the Gold Cup so Lampard will have to be careful with him. He did catch the eye in the short cameo, being lively along the left-flank and was always willing to take on his man which Chelsea fans will love. Pulisic should get more game time before flying back to England to continue their pre-season schedule.