Chelsea’s trip to Fulham might not offer the respite Frank Lampard seeks
Chelsea fans who chose not to spend their Sunday afternoon watching their side take on the Ligue 2 opposition breathed a collective sigh of relief as they saw Callum Hudson-Odoi, Kai Havertz and Timo Werner among the goals and the assists in an outright victory.
But while the 4-0 score against Morecambe suggests a professional and efficient working day with a surprisingly strong Blues roster, it was by no means easy to watch. In fact, all signs are that a faltering Chelsea will continue to struggle against Fulham on Saturday.
Frank Lampard’s side looked like a struggling Premier League side forcing a win over lower league opposition in the cup, perhaps rightly wanting the ball in the back of the net rather than playing with. any verve or real freedom until the game is already beyond the minnows – or shrimp in this case.
This subconscious approach meant that the reinvention of Chelsea as a side of the crossover – intentional or not – was laid bare, with Hakim Ziyech throwing approx. 156 of his left-footed mark whipped into Morecambe’s box with varying degrees of success, while Mason Mount and even Toni Rüdiger resorted to long-range efforts even before the 20-minute mark, the former eventually opening the score with one of them. .
While the players clearly have the ability to play through the low block of a Ligue 2 side, Frank Lampard’s charges seemed to very quickly give up any attempt to dissect Morecambe with the ball on the bridge and returned to the type with their recent over-reliance on crossing.
Obviously that worked, as well as against a play-off chasing a fourth-place team, and while the quality of deliveries was excellent, it’s hard to get too carried away on goals and overall presentation, including those by Werner and Havertz.
To be fair to the latter, he used the ball effectively, showed composure to assist his compatriot with a padded header, and finished well with his own towering leap late, but even against lower league opposition. , the swagger, the tips and hits that made it. such an exciting acquisition was still lacking in his game as he continues to return to his prime after a nasty bout of COVID-19.
Werner was more moderate, despite ending his 13-game drought. It wasn’t the strike to make you believe he’s about to regain his deadly confidence in front of goal; while Chelsea fans would have hoped for a slalom run and finish, or an emphatic explosion from inside or around the penalty area, the reality was a tap-in from every two yards – the result of the one of those Ziyech whips and the above. Havertz tee-up.
Back-to-back encounters against Morecambe and Fulham were meant to give Lampard a respite from a stinky one-in-seven win streak over the holiday season, but the oddly unconvincing performance against Morecambe means the short trip across the west London remains a daunting prospect for supporters.
After looking like absolute no-hopes in the opening weeks of the season, Fulham found pace and steel, winning five league games on the rebound, including honorable points against Liverpool, Southampton, Tottenham and, despite having played 30 minutes with ten men against them. , Newcastle.
Four points from safety, the Cottagers have every chance of surviving – especially with two relegation spots already booked at Sheffield United and West Brom.
In their last surprise at Spurs on Wednesday night, Scott Parker arguably deserved to take all three points against his former coach, and his side will be supported by their impressive second half before his former teammate’s visit for the late kick-off of Saturday.
With a team in great shape at his disposal – apart from the suspended N’Golo Kanté – Lampard must choose his team well. Recent insistence on breaking through football and Olivier Giroud’s form (three out of four league games) may be calling on the Frenchman to start, with Werner’s tap-in last weekend possibly a false dawn with another Premier League low block looming.
Nothing less than a win will leave the head coach submerged in hot water, but a springboard victory building on the momentum of the FA Cup victory could prepared Chelsea well for the next more difficult tests against Leicester and Wolves.
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