How Chelsea have changed since  their opening day defeat to Manchester United
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So much has transpired since Frank Lampard and Chelsea tasted defeat to Ole Gunna Solskjaer’s Manchester United on the opening day of the Premier League adventure, yet both managers trajectory has gone in similar directions.

Both are newly appointed after taking over from a senior figure, both are attempting to rebuild a club once of great stature, both favour young, British talent and both are battling to achieve Champions League football next term.

Chelsea are currently six points clear of their Manchester counterparts before the pair lock horns on Monday night, so here's a look at how the Blues have adapted since the 4-0 loss at Old Trafford in early August.

Emerging English talent

Only two Chelsea players (Gary Cahill and Ruben Loftus-Cheek) appeared in Gareth Southgate's 23-man squad for the World Cup in Russia two years ago- now that number will surely be ramped up for the upcoming European Championships after the emergence of Lampard's bolts from the Blue. 

Where better to start than the terrific form of Tammy Abraham during his first full season in the top flight. 13 goals to the good has placed him amongst the finest forwards of 2019/20, this feat made even more impressive when many doubted he could cut it with the best, following a tough time against United many moons ago.

Now, he is in pole position to board the plane with the England, and with Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford both side-lined, is Abraham the man to lead the line for the Lions? 

Mason Mount is another off the Chelsea academy conveyor belt who is earning his managers trust with an impressive debut campaign in the top flight beyond his young years. Five goals and assists from midfield are numbers Lampard himself would be proud of and the 21-year-old is making a strong claim for the Euros selection, especially after scoring for England during the qualifiers.

Last, but certainly not least, is Reece James, who has only recently made his way into the Chelsea side and what a revelation he has turned out to be. Pace, power and great delivery has, on occasion, placed him higher in the pecking order at right-back than club captain Cesar Azpilicueta. The only negative against James' claim for England is the strength in depth already in show in his position, the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Kieran Trippier and the potential of Kyle Walker all in the running. 

Fikayo Tomori and Callum Hudson-Odoi deserve a mention also, the former unlikely to receive a call up; if you add the five mentioned, Barkley and RLC, then Chelsea have a strong chance of bolstering the Lions roster. 

Free scoring and never boring

Lampard has not led a quiet life since taking over from Maurizio Sarri in the summer, producing some memorable performances in his short tenure at the helm.

Impressive victories over London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspurs, a stunning 4-4 draw with Ajax in the Champions League, and going toe-to-toe with the top three in the league, Chelsea have become tantalising, if not unpredictable, to watch at times. 

They have only failed to score in five games since they lost to United on match day one, therefore goals have clearly not been the issue- it's down the other end where Lampard should be concerned, having conceded the joint most goals from any team inside the top ten. 

Chelsea have also only kept five clean sheets in the league, thanks to an inconstant back line, containing of goalkeeper Kepa Arrizbalaga, who has had question marks over his displays, leading to him being replaced by his back up, Willy Caballero, in the last league fixture against Leicester City.

Another negativity is their failure to see out games, a trait Lampard has alluded to himself, and four of those five games where they drew a blank were against opposition they should be steam rolling. Three losses at Stamford Bridge to West Ham United, Bournemouth and Southampton accompanied a failure to get past Newcastle away; turn those L's into W's and Chelsea's place inside the top four could have been heavily cemented. 

Change in shape

Despite only being in management for 18 months, Lampard has proved he is an adaptable coach, demonstrated by his usage of various formations and squad rotations.

His first competitive line-up saw a 4-2-3-1 shape, with Ross Barkley and Pedro deployed either side of Mount in the attacking role, spear headed by Abraham and guarded by Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho at the base of the midfield. A back four of Emerson, Andreas Christensen, Kurt Zouma and Azpilicueta, with Kepa in goal, looked far from convincing and were opened up at every opportunity handed to United. 

Since then, only really the two young Englishmen leading the line have kept the place frequently, however Kovacic is beginning to show is world class ability after signing permanently from Real Madrid at the beginning of the campaign. 

Pedro and Barkley have lost out to Willian and the reformed Callum Hudson-Odoi, as new boy Christian Pulisic has dropped off the pace following a promising start to his new life in the capital. A defensive re-shuffle has seen rotation of both full-backs, Marcos Alonso and James the supplements, as the timely return of Antonio Rudiger has seen Zouma lose his spot to the German at centre-half. 

Lampard has trialled a 4-3-3 and 3-4-3 alongside the trusted 4-2-3-1, the three-man defence and wing backs particularly effective in the 2-0 win over Spurs and a tough 2-1 victory away to Lille in the Champions League. 

 

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