Paul Merson believes Frank Lampard should have some time at Chelsea as the bizarre nature of the season means they’re still in the title chase.
Lampard’s Chelsea will travel to Fulham on Saturday Football Night, live on Sky Sports Premier League, having won just one of their last six Premier League games, leaving them out of the top six.
However, given the crowded nature of the Premier League season, Merson believes Chelsea are only a handful of wins before they are back in contention for the title, and believes the Blues must have a plan that includes giving Lampard some time.
Friday January 15 7:30 p.m.
After spending £ 226million this summer, Lampard is embarrassed by wealth in his attack line, and Merson believes he “still plays bingo” as far as selection is concerned, and that a manager more experienced may have trusted a consistent starting XI. now.
In his latest column, Merson also insists that Thiago is the key to Liverpool winning the title this season and is intrigued by the appointment of Sam Allardyce to West Bromwich Albion.
“Give Frank some time … Chelsea could easily come back to the race”
If Chelsea don’t beat Fulham, should they fire Frank Lampard? It depends on what Chelsea want this year. It’s good to say, “Let’s get rid of Frank” but who comes in? Are they returning for Rafa Benitez? If you want to bring in Andriy Shevchenko, what’s the difference? It’s the same as Lampard, he hasn’t handled world-class players and will need time.
It’s not like you can hire a Carlo Ancelotti for a quick fix. Sooner or later there has to be a plan in Chelsea. You can’t spend £ 200million and think you’re going to win the league, it doesn’t work that way.
Lampard did a great job last year, and this is the first time he’s worked with world-class players. Give it a chance.
One plan is to be realistic about where they expect to come this season: I probably would have said the plan was to stay in the top four – because they already made the top four without spending 200 million. pounds last season – and probably be in the title race.
Chelsea now have the full advantage on Saturday because Fulham is due to play midweek. It’s not really nice to Fulham because maybe their team has been different in the FA Cup against QPR.
But the season is rolling, if you can win three games on the trot, you’re back in the title race. Teams lose matches and lose points left, right and center. If you put together a five-game winning streak, you’re probably leading the league. This was not the case last year.
It’s a massive football game, and it’s a big local derby. But Chelsea expect to beat Fulham and should beat Fulham because they have better players. I expect them to win this game.
If it was Chelsea’s point total last season or the previous season, I would say Chelsea are in trouble. But not this season. They’re still in it, high time.
Manchester United have come out of nowhere, crumble, and all of a sudden they can spread the squad if they beat Liverpool. They just had that bit of luck, starting in November against West Brom, who had a penalty.
That’s why I still don’t think Chelsea is missing out. Whoever you are, collect five wins and you are there.
“ Choosing the men before Chelsea is like bingo ”
I still don’t think Lampard knows his best team – he’s got his back five, then N’Golo Kante and Mason Mount, and then it’s bingo. Put the names in the hat and whatever character you draw, any one of them can seemingly do a job, as they’re top players, but it’s about finding the right balance.
He has too many players and he has to find that balance because he doesn’t know his best team yet.
When you’re a new manager – and he’s a new manager, let’s be honest – you think about who your best team is, but when that ‘best team’ gets beaten you want to change four players for the next week. I think with experience you give your team a chance, give them time however you want. But does Frank know he has time? Chelsea need to build and get it right.
These players are not Frank Lampard. I’ve seen him play enough times, he would go all the way and go through a brick wall for you. I don’t remember seeing him play a game, leave the field and think, “He could have given a little more.
He must remember that these players are not him. When they were torn to shreds by Man City you could see the frustration on his face as he thought, ‘I wouldn’t allow that, show me something! ”
Some of my managers would say to me, “Stop being frustrated… you don’t play with Dennis Bergkamp here. You’re not playing with Ian Wright here. Frank must understand and understand this.
- Fulham (A) – January 16 – live on Sky Sports
- Leicester (A) – January 19 – live on Sky Sports
- wolves (H) – January 27
- Burnley (H) – January 30
- Tottenham (A) – February 3
- Sheff utd (A) – February 6
“ Thiago must play in every game ”
I feel the teams are approaching Liverpool now, leaving them no space and saying: ‘You have to break us. Liverpool are fighting without this ruse in midfield. They will need Thiago to play every week. He is the one who sees it happening.
I think Jurgen Klopp knows that now, because he even brings in Xherdan Shaqiri, someone you would have thought of before could not play another minute for Liverpool. But he can pass the bullet through the eye of a needle.
Without it, he eliminates the X factor Sadio Mane, Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino. Liverpool are still the best in the world without the ball, but when there’s no space there, it gets carried away.
Thiago has to play every week. He can see that go by, and we’ve seen evidence of that in a few games. It may not always happen, but he sees it.
Which team in the world will Jordan Henderson and Fabinho not miss in midfield? It’s hard to get these players out of the midfield.
The Liverpool midfielder has always made everything happen – they are the unsung heroes. Without them I think nothing happens in Liverpool.
They protect the full four, they let the full backs bomb and they let the top three do whatever they want.
“ Big Sam in West Brom does not make sense ”
It is now very difficult for clubs to recruit players in January. The teams that need players are at the bottom, and I think they’re going to be stuck with what they have overall.
I didn’t see Sam Allardyce’s interest in going to West Brom. He’s been brought in for rescue work, but unless you summon six or seven players, it’s no use. I don’t remember Slaven Bilic being run over left to right and center, so it’s an interesting decision.
A few teams need a center-half, and Steven Caulker is tearing him apart in Turkey. Has he lost his way? Of course he did, we all know that, but he got his life back on track. I think he’s doing a good job in a Premier League side down there, who have to stop conceding goals.
He went to Turkey, changed his life, he has experience and I think he comes and strengthens the defenses. He is 29 years old. These managers need players now, they don’t need 19-year-olds. You don’t stick the kids into struggling soccer teams because that doesn’t help. You have to gain experience.
Allardyce’s job was to get in and improve these players, which I thought was going to be tough. I didn’t see what Bilic was doing wrong. They made Arsenal and Leeds look like the Harlem Globetrotters. This was not happening when Bilic was there.