Monday, December 4News That Matters

Lampard rates Chelsea’s chances of overtaking Arsenal next season

Frank Lampard claims Chelsea will need ‘a lot of time’ to replicate Arsenal’s transformation into Premier League title challengers ahead of next season.

Arsenal host Chelsea at the Emirates on Tuesday with both team on different paths this campaign as the Gunners remain in the race with Man City for the title, while Lampard is attempting to prevent his side from recording their lowest points tally in Premier League history.

Chelsea are expected to appoint Mauricio Pochettino as their next permanent coach and he faces a tough task of trimming the squad at Stamford Bridge while improving performances on the pitch next campaign.

Lampard, who has lost all five matches since being brought in as caretaker manager last month, is adamant that the West London team can recover from this season.

When asked if he believes Chelsea already have a squad that can become title challengers like Arsenal, Lampard said: ‘I think it’s interesting to compare the Arsenal story because we all had a little insight into Arsenal with the Amazon series and I think when you see what they are producing now, looking myself as a football person, the interesting thing about watching the series and seeing before that when I went up against Mikel when I was the Chelsea manager in that first year, was that there’s a long process to get to where you want to get to.

‘I remember playing against Mikel’s teams in that early stage which were sometimes five at the back, sometimes four, sometimes they build with a four and defend with a five, and all these things, and now they have a very, very clear identity and they have a clear, through recruitment, change of squad, pretty much the team completely, other than maybe the players who have come through, and obviously you always need academy players to come through of a high level and they’ve had that.

‘But there’s been a lot of work to that through Mikel, through the team, through alignment, through good recruitment.

‘If we talk about it as just having this season has come overnight, I think you have to go back to the beginning and all those the tougher periods.

‘I think do we have the possibility to do that? Yes. Will it take a lot of time and good decisions along the way? Absolutely, yes – but you can get there.

‘But of course, those things have been a credit to Arsenal because I saw, and you remember the times the manager was being questioned quite a few times, the owners were being questioned, the players were being questioned.

‘And that process can take two or three years, which it has done. And within that two or three years you’ve got to make a lot of right decisions and keep working in a good way.

‘From a coaching side, I think it’s a great thing to see a club stick with a manager when maybe at another club they may have changed manager two or three times. I think they’re a great example of that done well. It’s part of the answer as to why they are where they are now, alongside very good coaching and good players.’

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