The Frank Lampard Discussion

Pic: Peter Byrne/PA

Frank Lampard, a Premier League legend as a player, has been struggling as a manager in the top flight. Despite his knowledge of the game and his status as a premier league & footballing icon of sorts, Lampard has not been able to replicate his success on the pitch in the dugout. As a result, it’s becoming increasingly clear that Lampard may need to rebuild his coaching career abroad or in the lower English divisions, as he has struggled at Everton & managerial reputation has taken yet another blow.

Frank Lampard took over the blues in January 2022, after a disastrous spell in charge for surprise appointment Rafa Benitez in summer 2021. Lampard arrived late January and found a club struggling for form with a group of players low on confidence sitting in the lower section of the bottom half of the premier league table. Everton struggled, despite the new manager appointment, and in the PL lost 7 of his first 10 PL fixtures, putting Everton right amongst a serious relegation battle. Everton would survive by the skin of their teeth after finding some form & luck playing a wingback system, making them tougher to beat & scraping 3 wins & 2 draws from their final 8 PL games of the 21/22 season. Lampard would end the 21/22 season with Everton, managing 18 fixtures, averaging 1.11 PPM.

Not too bad, there was alarm bells on frank Lampard’s general managerial style in those first 18 games, but staying up was the only expectation given to him really and he achieved that, so in fairness deserved the chance to be the man to rebuild Everton football club. After losing Richarlison in the summer (huge loss) and signing 8 new faces in the summer however, Everton have only gotten worse. Having managed 19 fixtures in the PL this season, FL is averaging a 0.79PPM and Everton look one of the certainties to be going down to the championship come the seasons end.

First and foremost, Lampard’s tactical approach has been found wanting in the Premier League. He has struggled to come up with a cohesive game plan, and his teams have often been outclassed by their opponents. Lampard’s lack of real midfield/team set up has caused his side serious issues, with opposition sides beating Everton’s disfigured press easily & baring down on goal. Everton’s inability to hold on to 1-0 leads have also caused the manager issues, pointing to in game management skills being below par to say the least. Lampard has been flexible tactically however in trying to fix his side, once again falling back to his wingback system in recent weeks, however even that now isn’t bringing him the results needed.

Everton added experienced Centre halves James Tarkowski & Conor Coady in the summer, much to the happiness of Frank Lampard as he finally wanted some ‘durable’ central defender options, however Everton’s defensive frailties aren’t fixed and do not look secure. Everton early in the season were on paper one of the best sides defensively in the league, not conceding too many goals, but the cracks were starting to show on the underlying stats as the xG Everton were conceding was high, and not sustainable in keeping score lines low. many teams hit the woodwork etc against Everton & the heorics of Jordan Pickford in goal have saved FL’s side. The defensive weaknesses aren’t down to the new additions really, Tarkowski leads the league in clearences & blocks, whilst Conor Coady has done ok. The problems Everton are facing defensively aren’t down to the two new centre backs & GK, but the actual set up & security of the sides set up as a whole, in football you defend & attack as a team. Everton’s centre backs & goalkeeper are performing best as they can, but the tactical set up is so easy for teams to cut through that it’s meaning CB’s & GK’s must have near perfect games every week to keep Everton in it. Gana Gueye is left isolated middle of the park which means teams are finding their way to Everton’s backline far too easily.

Additionally, Lampard’s  struggled to get the best out of his players available, and struggled to get the best out of summer signings brought in to the club during the summer window (under his watch). Everton’s players don’t seem to be improving & seem to be in different roles week upon week. The sheer lack of idea’s is telling, when Lampard actually seems to not know where his players seem to play best, with wingers regularly starting different sides, and the 3 preferred midfielders in Onana, Iwobi & Gana Gueye seemingly playing different roles in midfield week by week as he tries to stumble on the antidote to his sides poor form. The Everton fan base acknowledges that this squad of players is pretty poor, however 3 wins in 19 games poor? I don’t think so.

Lampard was thrusted in to PL management rather quickly, raising eyebrows as he got the Chelsea job after only a year in Derby where the Promotion favourites lost in the playoff final, and underperformed in the underlying metrics. Lampard done well as Chelsea manager first season, but then second seemed to struggle with new additions & getting them to gel, as well as same old structural & tactical decisions/set ups (shown below by a tweet from twitter user @EBL2017 showing Lampard’s similar problems resurfacing at Everton this season)

For Everton at this stage in their timeline, for me, changing manager is so important. As mentioned previous, the squad is bad, but it’s not 3 wins in 19 bad & I think most managers out there could have mustered up better than that with the tools at their disposal. There are a lot of issues off the pitch right now which I won’t go in to here, but the manager is a huge one on it, as he will only take Everton football club to the championship as it stands. The question often flipped back is ‘we can’t keep sacking managers!’ we have to with this one as it’s clearly not working, and Everton are instead of giving themselves a fighting chance with 17 games remaining, are sleeping walking in to certain relegation just hoping/praying Lampard can turn it round. Maybe no manager can be a success with this owner & boardroom, but keeping FL hurts Everton in the long-term purely as even if the chance of a new boardroom/owner surfaces, their jobs will be difficult anyway, let alone trying to make it work with an Everton side pushing FFP boundaries and now in England’s  second division.

Frank Lampard’s tenure as a Premier League coach has not gone as planned. His tactical approach, man-management skills, and limited experience have all contributed to his struggles. If Lampard wants to have a successful career as a coach, he may need to rebuild his career abroad or in the lower divisions, where he can gain more experience and develop his skills as a coach before taking on another top-flight job. Despite certain successes at Chelsea & Everton in terms of ‘doing what it said on the tin’ and achieving the goal set out for him, it was quickly followed by showings of poor tactical output.

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