The dust has now settled. Chelsea Football Club have secured Champions League football for next season. The win 2-0 over Wolverhampton Wanderers meant Frank Lampard enjoyed a debut season to remember.
Despite winning against Wolves, a loss would still place Chelsea fourth due to Manchester United beating Leicester City. The real highlight of the game was the applaudable performance from Mason Mount. Scoring a freekick and grabbing an assist was the perfect way to sign off, he had played the most games for Lampard all season.
Things could get better on August 1st as the Blues have an F.A. Cup final against Arsenal. This could go down as a very successful season if Lampard can overcome Mikel Arteta at Wembley.
There were many highs and lows during the season. The opening day 4-0 defeat to Manchester United meant it started off in the worst way possible but qualifying for the latter stages of the Champions League meant there were joys.
It has come to the part of the season when we reflect over the 38 matchdays. Let's look at five Premier League fixtures that shaped Lampard’s debut campaign.
First look at the back three
Molineux was the destination for Lampard in the second away game of the season. He had played a back four all season but this time it was a different approach.
Wolves had always played a back three, in the Championship, the debut Premier League season, nothing changed in this campaign.
Lampard tried to combat their attacking wingbacks and fluid midfield by matching the system. Ultimately it was a success. The 5-2 win shown that Chelsea could successfully play two formations. If It wasn’t for this win, top four may not have been achieved. Lampard played this way on numerous occasions post lockdown, including the return fixture against Wolves at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
A wake-up call
Chelsea hosted Liverpool on matchday six after only winning two games in the season. Only eight points were picked up from a possible 15.
Liverpool arrived in West London unbeaten and they kept this record intact. Chelsea played well in the game, having more shots and possession than Liverpool, but the important stat was a 2-1 loss.
This was a wakeup call because of what followed. The next six games saw maximum points. They achieved 18 points from six games, which sat Chelsea nicely in the top four, and ultimately, this streak was a huge helping hand on why the overall top four goal was achieved.
A win over an old friend
Christmas was around the corner and the form had dropped for Lampard. Recent losses against Manchester City, West Ham, Everton and Bournemouth meant Chelsea could lose their place in the top four if they did not improve.
Tottenham Hotspur were the opponents and it was a massive game for the boss. He was matching up against Jose Mourinho for the first time in the Premier League.
A back three was selected and it turned out to be a masterclass from Lampard. The 2-0 win at Chelsea’s first visit to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium meant they were back on top in the top four driving seat, behind Leicester who were increasing the gap to 5th.
The double from Willian meant Lampard had beaten Mourinho in the two fixtures they had matched up against each other, the first one being the Carabao Cup win in the 2018/19 season for Derby County.
The jury was still out to see whether this young Chelsea side had the steel, and bottle against the top sides.
They were unbeaten since the Spurs game, three fixtures ago, this one away at The Emirates shown this side could be the real deal due to how it played out.
Chelsea went one nil down in the first 15 minutes after Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang netted, Arsenal were in control. 34 minutes in, Lampard made a switch. Jorginho was introduced to the field which completely switched the game.
The Italian came on and had a huge say on who got all three points. He got on the scoresheet in this game too, after scoring a penalty in the 2-1 win.
No one gave them a chance
Manchester City were in town after thrashing Burnley 5-0 in their last game. Chelsea had recently lost to West Ham and they needed to win this to keep fate in their own hands.
Christian Pulisic had been magnificent since the restart of football and he shown up in this one. He scored the opener after a superb solo run. The eventual 2-1 win meant Chelsea beat one of the best sides in the league, meaning this young side could really compete with the best.
If Chelsea had not of won this game at Stamford Bridge, the momentum and belief to finish fourth may not have been achieved.