Is Lampard what Chelsea are looking for?

Sarri was the 12th manager to take the realms at Chelsea during the Roman Abramovic era, delivering the Blues owner a 16th item of silverware in the form of the Europa League and Champions League football next season.

This was not enough to insure the Italian lasted the further two years he had in his contract. Now on the hunt for number 13, whoever that may be will be hoping it wont be an unlucky decision.

And the current favorite for the vacant position will be all too familiar to everyone connected with Chelsea. Frank Lampard, currently in charge at Championship side Derby,  is strongly linked with a nostalgic move back to Stamford Bridge.

Lampard guided the Rams to the final of the playoffs, loosing to Aston Villa, but has he done enough to prove he can coach at the elite level? Below is a comparison, based on statistics provided by, of Lampard's Derby and Sarri's Chelsea from last season.

Style of play

The most obvious change in style Sarri implemented was his desire for possession and and keeping the ball. Historically, Chelsea fell way short in terms passing numbers compared to their big six rivals, however this term only Manchester City could better the Blues for passes completed (City 26,581, Chelsea 25,070).

In fact, Chelsea were behind only City in every passing department: second most passes per game (659.8), second most short passes per game (616) and second most accurate short passes per game (549.1). 

Possession does not win you football matches, however Chelsea did manage to turn their control of the ball into something meaningful. They accumulated the second highest amount of key passes per game (13), whilst topping the chart for through balls per game (four). 

A midfield maestro himself, Lampard also wanted his team to dictate matches like he so often demonstrated. This might not have always been the case for Derby, but they still managed 461.2 passes per game and 326.2 accurate short passes per game, both ranked fifth in the Championship.

Unlike Chelsea, Derby utilised the long ball, making 30.8 accurate long passes per gane(fourth highest). Sarri preferred keeping the play short and incisive, making the lowest amount of long balls per game (46). 

Sarri and Lampard demanded their players had a creative spark going forward; Chelsea led the way for assists from through balls (10), Derby were second (five). 


A structured build up tended to end up extremely close to the goal, as apposed to a wild shot from 50 yards. 46 of Chelsea's 63 goals came inside the penalty area, 47 of Derby's 69 were the same. 

'Sarriball' accumulated 45 goals from open play, a similar stat for Lampard with 43. Unlike past campaigns, Chelsea's dominance of possession meant they rarely needed to sit back against opposition, scoring just once on the counter attack; in Antonio Conte's first spell, they scored seven on the break. Derby did not always have this bonus against the stronger sides, bagging the joint most from a counter (five). 

Despite being the sixth highest scorers in the Premier League, Chelsea's shooting stats offer a different story. Per game they were second for shots (16), shots  from the outside the box (six) and inside the 18-yard area (9.1). Derby on the other hand enjoyed attempts from range, with the third highest shots from outside the box per game (6.5). They only managed 0.7 shots from six yards per game (second lowest), with 6.3 from inside the penalty area. 

Chelsea's attacks generally formed down the left-hand side (39%), unsurprisingly where Eden Hazard was deployed during his final season as a Blue. Lampard on the other hand favored the opposite side, Derby's highest percentage of attacks coming down the right (40%), enabling the pace of Jaden Bogle and the ability of Harry Wilson.


Sarri also solidified the Chelsea back line during his short tenure, conceding just 39 goals in the league, keeping 15 clean sheets along the way. Derby's defence didn't do too badly either, with only five teams bettering their 54 goals against record, plus 11 clean sheets. 

Where the Rams appeared weakest was when they were caught on the counter, conceding on four occasions from these positions, the joint highest in the Championship. Chelsea allowed two goals from an opposing breakaway, their achilles heal being set pieces: 15 goals conceded was the second most in the division, the same figure that Derby accumulated and an area Lampard would have to look into.

Both sides had similar stats in terms of their defensive duties: 
Total tackles per game: 

(Chelsea 16.3, Derby 15.8)
Dribbled past per game: (Chelsea 7.9, Derby 8.1)
Attempted tackles per game: (Chelsea 24.2, Derby 23.9)

Lampard's men did show more willingness in denying a goal scoring opportunities, a desire that wouldn't go amiss in the current Chelsea crop:
Shots blocked per game: 

(Chelsea 1.9, Derby 3.7)
Crosses blocked per game: (Chelsea 1.7, Derby 2.3)
Passes blocked per game: (Chelsea 7.5, Derby 7)

A mild mannered man on the field, the former England internationals winning mentality must have rubbed off to well upon his Derby team, reflected in their disciplinary record. Only Nottingham Forest received more yellow cards than the Rams (Forest 101, Derby 98), nine of those for unprofessional fouls. In quite the opposite manner, Sarri's showed signs of pure anger and frustration on the sidelines which did not affect his players, gaining the second lowest amount of yellow cards for fouls (33), almost half of what Derby earned (62). 

Passing makes perfect

As previously mentioned, both managers demanded their teams maintain possession of the football, beginning with those at the back.

Chelsea and Derby's favored centre-back pairings were the personification of their keep ball DNA. Richard Keogh attempted 2760 passes (fourth highest in Championship), whilst Chelsea loanee Fikayo Tomori tried 2517 (seventh highest). David Luiz (2620) attempted the fourth highest in the Premier League, Antonio Rudiger in fifth (2537). 

And they weren't without fruition, as the fours accurate passing stats were strong in themselves: Keogh 2127 (fourth highest), Tomori 1940 (seventh), Luiz 2089 (sixth) and Rudiger 2172 (fourth). Confidence in your defenders is key, especially when they trust their own ability; Tomori made 17 successful dribbles (fifth highest for a centre-back), whilst Luiz made 10 (also fifth). If Lampard were to take over, he'd inherit just the combination he requires and could even recall Tomori back to the Bridge.

The glue that stuck Sarriball together was Jorginho, a favourite of Sarri during their time at Napoli. Every move went through the 27-year-old, attempting the second most passes per game in the league (84.3). Lampard did not have this luxury, sending play wide rather than through the middle, the closest comparison from midfield being Bradley Johnson, who made 49.4 passes pg. 

Eden shoulders above the rest

Hazards long awaited move to Real Madrid finally came around, his absence arguably the most significant of any team in Europe. 

The Belgian led the way for goals (16), assists (15), key passes (98), shots (93) at Chelsea and made more successful dribbles than anyone else in the division (137). Nobody in blue came close to any of his figures; Pedro was second top scorer with eight and made 44 successful dribbles, whilst Willian grabbed just six assists. Whoever is in charge next, they have a mammoth void to try and fill.

Derby had their own talismanic version of Hazard, in the form of the Welshman Wilson. He led the Rams scoring charts with 16 goals, shots (113) and through balls (six). Unlike Chelsea though, Lampard did not just rely on the services of one player, with full-back Bogle becoming a crucial cog during his first season in senior football.

The academy graduate was the assist and dribble king at Pride Park, setting up nine goals and beating opponents on 55 occasions. Bogle also made 110 tackles, no fullback in the division made more.  Another Chelsea-loanee, Mason Mount, led the way for key passes (71), whereas goals from Jack Marriot (10), Martyn Waghorn (9) and Mount (9) shared the scoring burden.

Lampard would need a striker that emulated the efforts of his players at Derby if he were to be reunited with Chelsea, because the Blues have very little to offer. Gonzalo Higuian scored just five goals in his 14 Premier League appearances since joining on loan from AC Milan in January, whilst Alvaro Morata managed the same tally, before his loan move to Athletico Madrid