This was a London derby against a side that had won just one of their last 10 Premier League games. This was also supposed to be an encounter between a team in the ascendency and another sinking into the abyss.
However, at full-time, it was the Gunners who emerged winners and they did it by humiliating Chelsea. The scoreline read 3-1 and it could have been worse for Chelsea had the Gunners taken all their chances.
Despite having the larger share of possession, the Blues rarely threatened Mikel Arteta’s side, who looked very sharp, composed and totally focused on the day. Despite struggling to win games and score from open play in recent months, Arsenal put three past Chelsea.
Goals from Alexandre Lacazette, Granit Xhaka and Bukayo Saka ensured Tammy Abraham’s late strike could serve as a consolation for Lampard and his underwhelming Chelsea side.
Poor team selection costs Chelsea
Lampard was very critical of his Chelsea players after the defeat, describing their approach to the game as lazy as he sought to shift the blame onto his charges.
“You get what you deserve. We were lazy to give away a penalty, lazy in terms of giving away a free-kick that he [Xhaka] puts in the top corner. I’m very, very disappointed in the way we approached the first half because some things in football are basics,” the Chelsea manager said, as quoted by the Metro.
“It’s not tactics or systems, it’s: do you want to run? Do you want to back your teammate up? Do you want to sprint or do you want to jog? Or maybe you want to say, 'Oh maybe I don’t have to run.' We took that decision rather than the right one.”
However, the Chelsea boss deserves some of the blame. For starters, his poor team selection set the Blues up for a tough afternoon at the Emirates. Lampard named two unfit players in defence when he opted to start with Reece James and Ben Chilwell.
Bad substitutions in the second half
Despite weeks of inconsistent performances from Timo Werner, Lampard played the German striker ahead of Olivier Giroud against Arsenal. It is no secret that Werner is currently struggling and short of confidence, and he didn’t deserve to start against the Gunners.
Meanwhile, Lampard’s substitutions didn’t help his side as he took off N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic for Kai Havertz and Jorginho respectively. Of his three changes in the second half, only Callum Hudson-Odoi made an impact.
While the players deserve to be criticised for their attitude towards the game, their manager cannot be completely exonerated. Lampard's poor team selection was the genesis of Chelsea’s disappointing loss to Arsenal on Saturday.Published 27 Dec 2020, 22:41 IST