What next for Frank Lampard?

It is perhaps too early to put Super Frankie in the bracket of ‘Super player – mediocre manager’.

The illustrious club that has the likes of Gary Neville, Roy Keane, Tony Adams etc. cannot admit Frank Lampard yet. His reign at Chelsea can be best termed – ‘arrived early, left early’.

Lampard back in the labour market

We thought Roman Abramovich had turned a new leaf when he appointed Lampard in the first place. We thought Chelsea had found their ‘ride and die’ until Monday morning when the news hit like Dustin Poirier punches on Connor McGregor. Well, we were not supposed to be surprised, firing and hiring managers has become a culture at Chelsea. But as stated earlier, Lampard was not in the ilk of their type of managers when he was appointed. However, it had the potential of a Cinderella story. Lampard, a legend at the club, taking over the club and leading them to glory. It appeared like Lampard could be to Chelsea what Pep Guardiola was to Barcelona and Zinedine Zidane was to Real Madrid. It was also Chelsea joining the tradition of having former players at the helms. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is at Manchester United and Arsenal have also gone for Mikel Arteta. It also seemed like a marriage of convenience, at a time Chelsea were under a transfer ban and they needed someone that was their own to help them through the period.

Lampard joined a trend of young former players managing their former clubs

All those said, Lampard never looked like a well thought out plan at the outset. Though there were some glimpses at Derby County, it was not enough to trust him with a job as demanding and unforgiving like the Chelsea job. The safest option could have been keeping Maurizio Sarri on the job. Now that it is all done, what next for Lampard?

Lampard was always going to manage Chelsea at a point but it came too early. Even at that, never rule out a second coming. However, it could be a long and rough road to his second coming. Now is the time for Lampard to pay the dues he could have avoided paying if Chelsea had stuck with him. Reality is, Lampard will not get a top job in England, at least not anytime soon. He has to probably return to the Championship and work his way back to the top. Another option is to get a job outside England where he can prove that he has what it takes to be a top coach.

Lampard at Chelsea was a manager that didn’t instill any noticeable identity. It was difficult to define his style and notice his imprint on the team. Lampard has to work on that, almost all top coaches are synonymous with a style. Even when results are not going their way there is always the tendency to see the process and trust them. That did not happen with Lampard in his 18 months at Chelsea, probably the reason why he was sacked.

Lampard’s first sack might be a minor setback

Another option is to admit that he might not be cut out for coaching. Becoming a Pundit has become quite lucrative for retired footballers. Lampard could swap the dugout for the studio were he gets the job done on touch screens rather than on the field of play. The likes of Neville, Adams, Tim Sherwood etc. are making waves, winning matches on touch screens.

However, it will be too early for Lampard to give up on coaching, there are signs he could have something to offer. Lampard might have taken a bite at the cherry too early, hindering his chance for a second bite. But as stated earlier, he will have to earn his second bite. He will have to work for it, it will not be given on a platter. The disappointment at Chelsea could be just a blip but only he (Lampard) can prove that.

Written by Babatomiwa Ojo

@10qmedia on Twitter

Thoughts of a Lunatic: Pressure Mounts on Lampard, Record Breaker Messi and other Talking Points

This is football! Anything can happen. This is where heroes turn to villains and villains turn to heroes before you say Mesut Ozil. Arsenal finally got the back of Ozil. Frank Lampard is running out of legendary bias at Chelsea, just as Lionel Messi is bent on leaving Barcelona with no records left. On this edition of Thoughts of a Lunatic, we take a look at some of these talking points in the ever crazy world of football.

Goner Ozil

Mesut Ozil arrived at Arsenal in 2013 to fan fair but has left like a villain. Arsenal fans are divided, some are happy he is finally gone while some chastise the club for treating him badly. While the Lunatic is not taking sides, who gets badly treated by getting paid £350,000 every week for doing nothing? Who gets paid £350,000 for sitting in the stands with an umbrella protecting his delicate skin from the sunlight? Ozil should swap position with an average Nigerian graduate working in a factory in Nigeria owned by a Lebanese and know what ill treatment is.

Arsenal’s g-boy has gone.

There were some moments of brilliance, some assists and some impressive stats but Ozil at Arsenal did not turn out as expected. While he cannot be said to have been an outright flop, he did not have the desired effect either. Luckily for Arsenal, it is at a point when a certain Emile Smith-Rowe has started doing well in the number ten role, it helped the club take attention away from a ‘chasm’ Ozil’s departure might have created.

Like he said, he is happy to be at Fenerbahçe, maybe there is a little left to see or it is just another payday while engaging fans on Twitter, time will tell.

Messi’s Passion

In the past few months, we are beginning to see the side of Lionel Messi we didn’t see in the past. The Argentine showcased the Keane in him with a punch to the face of an opponent – the first time he gets sent off for Barcelona. It is no news Messi wanted to leave at the summer, Barcelona held on, so Messi can help win matches like the Super Cup final. Lo and behold Barcelona lost to Athletico Bilbao and also lost Messi to a two-match ban.

Messi is still breaking records

It is becoming clear that Messi may not belong to the Nou Camp anymore. At a time it seemed the goals scoring numbers has started getting better and we are not only limited to a Penalnel Messi, the man showed his other side. However, it seems Messi is bent on breaking all records before he leaves.

Pressure Mounts on Lampard

Not even Mason Mount will save Frank Lampard when the hammer falls on him. Mount seems to be Lampard’s greatest achievement as a football manager but if results don’t get better, Mount might be following Lampard back to the Championship soon.

Pressure continues to mount on Lampard.

The results and the performances are getting worse. Supposed title challengers are getting sucked into mid-table after splashing the cash on summer arrivals. Many Chelsea fans have brought out their daggers and are calling for Lampard’s head, they don’t even want to remember that he is a club legend. However, Chelsea fans should look at the positives, they longer concede 3 regularly like they used to do. It has been a while since they were bantered with their jersey. On a more serious note, Manchester United fans used to shout #oleout too before but they are top of the table now (not to say things can’t change again) but it is prove that stories can change very quickly in football.

Chelsea fans are not used to this, they don’t make agitations before their managers get fired, things seemed to have changed. They may be stuck to Lampard as Ugandans are stuck with their president, even invading the Stamford Bridge like the Capitol may not change anything.

That is all I wrote on this edition of Thoughts of a Lunatic, till next time, stay blessed.

Time Running Out For Lampard At Chelsea

Putting Chelsea’s season into context, they are just three points ahead of Arsenal – who are having a terrible season. The Blues are worse off than they were at this point last season. They have won just one of their last six matches. Talks of a potential title race has began to simmer as familiar defensive frailties under Frank Lampard have started surfacing once again. Edouard Mendy is now showing his kepabilities, he has started drinking goals like the legendary Kepa ‘Aribibizagba’, where does the problem really lie with Chelsea?

The appointment of Lampard looked more sentimental than deserved. Even if it was expected Lampard was going to manage Chelsea at a point, it kind of came early. Lampard was a manager yet to hone his style as a manager. His time at his first job – Derby County showed glimpses of quality but there was nothing substantive enough.

Lampard legendary status got him the job

Right from last season, his Chelsea team have appeared spineless, despite having Ngolo Kanye – one of the best defensive midfielders in the Premier League in the last five seasons. The team conceded more than 50 goals in the Premier League last season, a stat for relegation threatened teams. A fourth place finish in a season when they couldn’t bring in players was seen as a plausible success but all the excuses only papered the cracks of Lampard’s inadequacies.

Around £200m signings later, Lampard and Chelsea seemed to have made the wrong signings or Lampard does not just know how to manage his players. It is a combination of both, but more of the latter. Olivier Giroud looks like Lampard’s best center-forward but Lampard always seems reluctant to play him, quite mysteriously. There seems to be an effort to play the misfiring Kai Havertz and Timo Werner into form but both players confidence continues to drop with every passing poor performance. Hakim Ziyech has looked really good but has struggled with fitness. Regardless, without the aforementioned attacking trio, Chelsea have options to cover up. Lampard is just not using them right.

Lampard can’t seem to solve the defensive problem

Chelsea have been terrible defensively and it is not just down to the players. Thiago Silva has come into the defence and has performed creditably alongside Kurt Zouma, Ben Chilwell and Reece James are good at fullback – it is not for a lack of personnel, it is how Lampard sets the team up. The team is always susceptible to counter attacks and the defence seems unshielded most times. Against Wolves, Arsenal and Manchester City, we saw how the opposition practically strolled from one end to Chelsea’s goal. Like Kepa, Mendy seems to also be dropping in confidence after a good start.

Lampard cannot say he has not been backed enough. This Chelsea team should be competing for the title, just a top four should not be enough. They have one of the biggest squads in the league and after one full season in charge, he should have a better hang of the team. As is expected, there is no manager imprint on this Chelsea team. One can not say they are an attacking team or defensively solid team. They are a team struggling for an identity as Lampard has even struggled to identify his strongest eleven. It is looking obvious another manager will do better with the team. One thing has to change at Chelsea, it is becoming clearer it is the manager.

Thoughts of a Lunatic: Elder Pele, Penalty War and other Talking Points

Happy New Year to all lunatics and everyone else. This is the first Thoughts of a Lunatic for the year, it should be much more civil or maybe.

COVID-19 is threatening to truncate football calendars once again, football is battling hard to stay alive. We should not be having pandemic champions and or tainted achievements back-to-back. In the wake of Leeds United vs Pundit – Karen Carney, another induced break will take something away from achievements. For those that don’t know about Carney vs Leeds gist, you have to read it up somewhere, I don’t tell stories here but I will judge by saying Leeds were completely classless. Away from that I have some other matters to talk about.

Elder Pele

Edson Arantes do Nascimento, also known as Pele is a name that will forever remain indelible in the history of football. Pele is unarguably one of the greatest to ever play the game. But as expected, the throne of the greatest ever has not been surrendered to him. He was in a kind of battle for the GOAT with Diego Maradona till Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo came and started disgracing all known numbers.

Pele is in a battle to keep his records

Pele’s recorded official goals were so much that one thought it will take some robots to break it. There were even arguments that he scored more than the recorded numbers.

Just recently Messi broke his record for goals scored for one club. Santos, the club Pele achieved the feat with, came out to say Pele scored more than they recorded. Recently, Ronaldo also overtook Pele on the number of official goals, Pele’s social media bio was edited to say ‘leading goalscorer of all-time’ with over 1,000 goals.

As it stands, no one is allowed to surpass Elder Pele, his numbers will be adjusted as appropriate when needed. All the goals he scored when playing ‘monkey post’ in Brazil has to be included. Make Baba rest jare. At least his World Cup record is safe.

Kicking the flag

There is an idiom known as ‘kicking the bucket’. Another idiom has just been invented – kicking the flag.

So, let me tell you the meaning of kicking the flag, how it should be used and its origin.

You can your breath after kicking the flag

When a striker is bought for big money and he fails to score goals, he can be said to have kicked the flag. E.g Timo Werner is kicking the flag at Chelsea. The idiom is in honor of Werner who has had more embarrassing misses than goals at Chelsea. Werner has missed when it was easier to score than to miss.

It is however surprising that Lampard prefers a misfiring Werner upfront to an Olivier Giroud. The last time Werner scored was in the first week of November. It appears Chelsea have a German Alvaro Morata on their hands. Even Chelsea have kicked the flag.

Penalty War

A penalty war is brewing in the Premier League. Who gets awarded more penalties? So when a team struggles in a match, could hardly muster shots on target, the coach can come out to talk about the number penalties they get compared to other teams.

Kudos to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, he has gotten Manchester United into title conversations. Jurgen Klopp and his Liverpool side lose at Southampton and Klopp’s excuse was to compare Manchester United penalty numbers, really? Agreed some of the penalty calls may be questionable but hey Mr Klopp, that was not why you lost to Southampton.

Penalty shouts coming out loud

For Manchester United fans, they should be happy they have gotten into title conversations but we all know that they are semi-final champions under Solskjaer. Just yesterday, they lost another semi-final match to Manchester City in the Carabao Cup and will now play the third place match against Brentford. We won’t be surprised when they start battling for third again in the Premier League.

That’s all for today, once again welcome to the new year. Follow Goaldball across social media – goaldball on Facebook and Instagram, and @goaldbal on Twitter. Don’t follow the Lunatic anywhere, who follows a Lunatic by the way?

Arsenal’s Win or Saka’s Goal, Which Was The Fluke?

Arsenal returned to winning ways in the Premier League for the first time since November. In that time they have failed to win against the likes of Burnley, Aston Villa, Southampton, Wolves, including a run of not winning home matches, which included four straight defeats at home. A run that has seen them stuck in the relegation zone, closer to the bottom than to the top. However, they broke that duck when least expected with an impressive win against Chelsea. Have the Gunners turned the tides or have the win against Chelsea was just a flash in the pan?

Kudos to Mikel Arteta for making some big calls or calls he was forced to make. Youngsters Emile Smith-Rowe and Gabriel Martinelli started and added more spark to the attack. Would he have started them if Pierre- Emerick Aubameyang was hundred percent fit or if Willian was available? It was glaring it was the call Arteta should have made earlier but he stuck with the misfiring Aubameyang and Willian alongside the likes of Nicholas Pepe and Alex Lacazette. That it took Arteta long to make or be forced to make the bold calls should be a cause for worry.

There have been calls that the sidelined Mesut Ozil should be called back due to an inability of the team to create chances. Their goals and chances created stats are embarrassing and one that should not be associated with Arsenal of London, maybe Arsenal Tula. They scored three against Chelsea and could have scored more but they still struggled to create clear cut chances. This is easy to argue against. For their ‘dominance’ against Chelsea, two of the goals came from set pieces and the third was a speculative shot many have argued was not intentional, even if it was intentional, it won’t be successful nine out of ten times. The young players played with more energy and pressed Chelsea impressively but is it sustainable?

As we have seen in some of their wins and in some of their struggles, they tend to always move the ball out wide due to an inability to break down teams through the center. The first penalty came as a result of coming in from the flanks. While coming in from the flanks may not be bad, most times their final balls are always poor. We saw that against Chelsea, until Chelsea gave them the breakthrough with the penalty. The second goal was also Saka trying to run in from the flank before he was hacked down for the freekick that led to the second. It was a game in which Edouard Mendy in goals for Chelsea made numerous saves. Apart from scoring the penalty, Lacazette barely touched the ball in the opposition’s box as he regularly dropped deep to link up play. It worked against Chelsea but in truth, we have seen it all before and many teams have set up to nullify it. It was not a tactical ingenuity that Arsenal fans can get overly excited about.

Three goals up and seemingly comfortable, Arsenal found a way to be Arsenal still, they allowed Chelsea back into the match. It was almost three- two and an edgy finale had Bernd Leno not pull up a penalty stop. Their next two matches are against fellow relegation strugglers Brighton and Hove Albion and West Brom. If they are able able to get maximum six points in those matches, Arsenal fans can bring out the sticks of the drums, not the drums yet. But very few Arsenal fans are confident going into the matches still. Brighton have become a sort of a boogey team, they did the double against Arsenal last season. Sam Allardyce is in charge at West Brom, he has a good record against Arsenal.

Arsenal should still see this as a crisis period and do good business in January instead of waiting till the summer, since they have decided to stick with Arteta. Like they did in 2011 after an 8-2 defeat against Manchester United, when they went into the transfer market to do emergency business – that brought Arteta to Arsenal, they should do same in January. The team needs lots of quality. The quality of the players can cover up for some of Arteta’s flaws while he continues to learn the ropes. The win against Chelsea might just be a flash in the pan, there is still lots of work to be done.

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Pundits Roundtable: Joseph Bassey, Edwin Onyebolise and Patrick Echatah Joins Us To Preview Chelsea vs. Tottenham

Chelsea taking on Tottenham at the Stamford Bridge has a lot riding on it. It is looking like a potential title six-pointer based on the forms of both teams. Jose Mourinho takes on his former player Frank Lampard, against his former team – Chelsea.

We are joined by Joseph, Patrick and Edwin

Top class Pundits – Joseph Bassey, Edwin Onyebolise and Patrick Echatah joins us for a comprehensive preview.

GB: How do you expect the tie to shape up tactically?

Joseph: The dynamics of this game is a bit hard to predict because Mourinho places emphasis on defensive structure especially in big games while Lampard’s defensive line is finally looks right with six clean sheets in eight games. Both managers could adopt a more pragmatic line-up.

Patrick: This season, Mourinho has found a way to galvanize this Spurs side with so much tactical flexibility (depending on the game) and two of his preferred formations have been 4-4-2 and 4-3-3, while Lampard has stuck with 4-3-3 which gives his midfielders more leeway to stamp their authority in the middle of the park.

Edwin: It’s clearly contrasting styles from both managers. Jose’s teams sits deep and hits you on the counter.

Lampard can mix it. Possession, playing between the lines and hitting on the counter-attack.

Another Lampard-Mourinho reunion

GB: Both sides have had good starts. Do you think they are both in the title race?

Joseph: Hard to come up with any reason why they are not title contenders; the season has been anything but straightforward. Liverpool’s injury crisis has automatically opened up a title race.

Patrick: Of course, Chelsea have been all guns blazing while Spurs look absolutely unstoppable. Early days yet, but these two sides are arguably the best teams in the league on current form.

Edwin: Yes both are. They’ve built momentum with some very good wins. It breeds confidence. Also, there’s quality in both teams.

GB: Lampard has had the better of Mourinho on head-to-head. Do you think this will be playing out on Mourinho’s mind?

Joseph: Not just playing in his mind, probably giving Mourinho sleepless nights. Jose Mourinho is the most competitive manager in the game, winning is all that is important to him and a bad head-to-head against a player he coached would be an unbearable pain.

Patrick: No, Mourinho is a top manager who knows that it’s only a matter of time before he gets one over Lampard.

Edwin: It will. There was a fallout between both managers during the League Cup match earlier in the season. There’s a subtle feud brewing. Lampard did the double last season and Jose will want his revenge.

Mourinho will be looking to get one over his former player and team.

GB: Key battles

Joseph: Timo Werner and Harry Kane is an interesting battle- arguably the most important piece of both teams’ attack, playing like a de-facto number 10, dropping deep to create spaces for the other forwards. How well both players execute that role will be a big determinant of the result.

Patrick: Werner Vs Aurier, Hojberg Vs. Kante, Kane Vs. Zouma, Ziyech Vs. Reguilon and Son Vs. Chilwell.

Edwin: The real battle is in the midfield. Spurs have grit and power. Chelsea have technique and finesse. The team that controls the midfield controls the game.

GB: Call it

Joseph: This looks like a draw written all over it.

Patrick: Two-nil in favor of Spurs.

Edwin: Chelsea to win. They have extra depth in attack than Spurs

Boald Codes: Betting Tips for the Weekend

So you have selected those games. Your bet slip as long as a roll of tissue paper. They will take. You have selected what you believe are the sure games. You have already gone to price a car. You are already planning on how to spoil that babe silly. Dirty December on your mind. Now, calm down. Na so you stake last week, the week before, the week before then… wetin you win?

Well, nobody be Professor for this business. Everybody just dey try. That is why we always advice that you bet responsibly. Don’t stake people’s thrift kept with you.

We have selected some games as usual. The Bankers, the Banana Peels and the Boald Calls, just to guide you. Remember, we self just dey forecast, na the footballers dey play. If you lose money, hold the players responsible. However, we have a 70% average success rate, check our previous editions to confirm.

Bankers

Norwich are at home against Coventry in the English Championship. The Canaries are in good form and are top of the table. They come at around 1.6 for a win. Though they will be without Emiliano Buendia, who is out suspended, they still have enough to get a win.

Bayern did Amaka last week, expect hem to atone this week. They come at around 1.3 to win away at Stuttgart. Trust them to win. You could also include Robert Lewandowski on your goals scorer ticket.

Borussia Monchengladbach are at home against struggling Schalke 04. They are valued at around 1.3. Gladbach are in good form, off the back of another impressive win in the Champions League. Trust them for a win.

Atalanta are back to winning ways. They should beat Verona at home. It comes at around 1.3.

Juventus away to Benevento is also around 1.3 for a Juve win. This are the sort of matches were Cristiano Ronaldo shows. A Juventus win should come and also Ronaldo to score.

Ronaldo should have a filled day

Lyon to win at home against Reims is around 1.4. Lyon should do enough to win against a Reims side that have struggled.

In South Africa, defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns host Stellenbosch FC. Sundowns are valued at 1.4 for a win. Too good to ignore.

The likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona should also win their home matches against Alaves and Osasuna respectively.

Banana Peels

Brighton and Hove Albion host Liverpool at the Amex. Be careful. Not just because Liverpool lost in midweek against Atalanta, but because Brighton know how to be difficult in this sort of matches. They could be very organised and deny Liverpool the spaces.

Real Sociedad host Villareal at the Anoeta. Sociedad are top of the table and have been impressive. However Villareal have not been bad either. Sociedad are without David Silva, who is out injured. If you must, play an Under 3.5. Both teams will likely cancel each other out and struggle for goals.

Sassuolo have had a good start to the season, they host Inter Milan this weekend. Antonio Conte is under some pressure at Inter Milan and Sassuolo have proven to be difficult opponents in the past.

AC Milan host Fiorentina at the San Siro. AC Milan are top of the table, Fiorentina have struggled. AC Milan to win comes at around 1.7, avoid it. Fiorentina have a knack of showing up in big matches are Milan are without talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Boald Calls

If you get mind, back Atletico Madrid to win away at Valencia. Atletico Madrid are unbeaten and in good form, Valencia defeated the other Madrid side Real Madrid some weeks back. Regardless, they will find Atletico Madrid a more difficult proposition.

Chelsea vs Tottenham is the big match of the weekend, both teams are in good form. If you are Boald go for a Chelsea win. Lampard has a good record against Jose Mourinho and Chelsea have the players to expose Tottenham’s defence. It comes at around 2.0.

Lampard versus Mourinho once again.

That’s all on these edition. If you win, don’t forget to send your tithe here. If you don’t win, hold the players responsible. Bet responsibly.

Joe Cole Names Chelsea Star The Most Underrated Player In The Premier League

Former Chelsea player Joe Cole has described current Chelsea player Olivier Giroud as the most underrated player in the Premier League. Joe Cole was full of praise for Giroud after the match and believes the World Cup winner doesn’t get the credit he deserves. The Frenchman scored the winner for the Blues against Rennes in the Champions League to help Lampard’s men qualify for the second round with two matches left.

With just a couple of minutes of injury time left on the clock, Giroud made his telling contribution after he leaped high in the air to head in a last-gasp winner.

‘I think he’s (Giroud) one of the Premier League’s most underrated players, he consistently performs whether it be for Arsenal or Chelsea,’ Cole said on BT Sport.

‘It’s not just moments like today such as getting the winning goal, it’s his general demeanour around the place, he’s a good player in the dressing room.

‘There’s a reason why Didier Deschamps relies on him for France. Frank will not want Giroud walking out of the door in January.

‘It was a great header from Giroud. That was amazing.’

The goal comes after Giroud has once again found himself on the fringes of Lampard’s plans, leaving him to think about a move away from Stamford Bridge in January to get regular minutes in order to secure selection for France at next summer’s Euros.