What can we expect from Lampard’s Chelsea?
Frank Lampard is set to take charge of his first competitive game as Chelsea manager, when he brings his Blues to Old Trafford on Sunday.
Manchester United fans know all about Lampard's playing career, after he became Chelsea's all-time leading scorer by netting 211 goals for the Stamford Bridge club.
He also helped them to win 11 major trophies, including three Premier League titles and the UEFA Champions League.
But how much do you know about Lampard the boss? Here, we delve deeper...
LAMPARD THE MANAGER
The new Blues boss has only experienced a single season in management, with Derby County in the Championship. The 41-year-old led the Rams to within a whisker of Premier League promotion, too, reaching the play-off final before suffering a 2-1 loss to Aston Villa at Wembley Stadium.
As you may remember, Lampard also oversaw a shock win at Old Trafford in 2018/19 - when his Derby team beat United in the Carabao Cup third round. While the Reds were clearly disappointing that evening, the occasion demonstrated the tactical mind of Lampard as a coach.
HIS PREFERRED SYSTEM
During his campaign at Derby, the former England international regularly operated with a 4-2-3-1 formation and enjoyed working with fast, direct, attacking players such as Harry Wilson, Mason Mount and Tom Lawrence.
Lampard appears to have maintained that tactical approach at Stamford Bridge and from the early signs in pre-season, he will persist with a five-man midfield. However, over the summer, Chelsea often adapted their set-up depending on the opposition’s formation and switched to a 4-4-2 diamond at various points in their seven friendlies.
Like at Derby, Lampard also wants his side to press high and attack the opposition with speed and width.
A FOCUS ON YOUTH
One player who has definitely benefited from Lampard’s appointment at Chelsea is Mason Mount. The midfielder enjoyed a superb campaign under his guidance at Derby in 2018/19 and registered 11 goals in 44 appearances.
Mount received lots of game time in pre-season and is expected to compete with Ross Barkley for a starting berth in the no.10 role. The 20-year-old could make his first-team debut for Chelsea at Old Trafford.
Mount is not the only youngster at Chelsea hoping to be given a chance by Lampard.
Reece James, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Fikayo Tomori are also vying to impress and Lampard hinted earlier this summer that he plans to hand more first-team opportunities to the club’s youngsters.
“I know we’ve got a good squad and a lot of really good young talent,” said Lampard when he was unveiled as Chelsea manager in July.
“That’s certainly become a big focus of the year. First is to be competitive but second, can we put some faith in the young players and see if they can get into the first team and show what they can do? I believe there are some there.”
SPOTLIGHT ON THE FORWARDS
Tammy Abraham is another young prospect hoping to establish himself as a Premier League star under Lampard.
The striker spent the 2018/19 season on loan at Aston Villa and scored 26 goals in 40 appearances, one of which was against Lampard's Derby in the play-off final.
Lampard seemingly feels like Abraham can compete with Olivier Giroud and Michy Batshuayi to be first-choice striker at the Bridge. The homegrown player has even been handed the club's no.9 shirt, after an impressive pre-season in which he scored against Barcelona and Borussia Monchengladbach.
New recruit Christian Pulisic could also feature on Sunday. The winger signed for Chelsea in January but was sent back on loan to Borussia Dortmund for the remainder of the 2018/19 campaign.
Pulisic has looked hugely promising in pre-season, particularly in the game against Red Bull Salzburg when he bagged a brace. The attacker has been brought in as a direct replacement for Eden Hazard, who moved to Real Madrid this summer, and there are plenty of similarities between Chelsea's new signing and the Belgian.
Pulisic loves driving at opposition full-backs and regularly cuts inside from the left flank with devastating affect. He must be watched closely on Sunday.
SUNDAY'S POTENTIAL STARTING XI
Lampard is expected to start goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga at Old Trafford, while the back four is likely to be Cesar Azpilicueta and Emerson at full-back with Kurt Zouma and Andreas Christensen at centre-back.
With N’Golo Kante a doubt for the clash, the new Chelsea boss could start with Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic in the centre of the park.
Based on recent pre-season line-ups, Pedro should start on the right of an attacking four, with Mount or Barkley in the no.10 role, Pulisic out wide on the left and Abraham up front.
The match against the Chelsea kicks off at 16:30 BST on Sunday, and you can guarantee a seat to this game with a Matchday VIP Experience.
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