Chelsea manager Frank Lampard’s decision to stick with three at the back against Southampton was a key reason why the Blues suffered a shock home defeat to Southampton, according to pundit Tony Cottee.
Lampard had some success with the 3-4-3 system in the 2-0 win over Tottenham, but it was ill-suited to breaking down a stubborn Saints defence. Cottee feels it left striker Tammy Abraham too isolated:
“I don’t want to be too critical of Frank Lampard. He’s a young manager learning his job. But I think he’ll think ‘On reflection, maybe I shouldn’t have played three at the back’ – especially against Southampton, who were really only playing with Che Adams up there. It was three against one.”
“The three centre-halves are not what you’d call passing centre-halves anyway, so I think it limited their options and as a result of that it meant Tammy Abraham was playing pretty much on his own up front.”
Chelsea have now lost to West Ham, Bournemouth and Southampton at home over the last month; all matches they were expected to win. With more points picked up away from Stamford Bridge this season, Lampard will need to find a quick solution to their travails at home.
The Blues boss will have some time to work out what’s going wrong, with their next two league games away against Arsenal and Brighton. They don’t play in front of their own fans until the FA Cup third round tie against Nottingham Forest on the 5th January.