EPL

Lampard has faith in misfiring Chelsea forwards after Batshuayi makes goalscoring return

By Sports Desk August 23, 2019

Frank Lampard is confident Chelsea's forwards will start to come good in the Premier League after Michy Batshuayi made a goalscoring return to action on Monday.

The Belgium striker scored twice against Liverpool for the Chelsea Under-23 side in a match in which Antonio Rudiger managed 90 minutes for the first time since suffering a knee injury in April.

Batshuayi's goals were a boost to head coach Lampard, who has yet to see any of his recognised strikers score in a Premier League fixture since he took charge before the start of the season.

Lampard now hopes to see Batshuayi, Olivier Giroud and Tammy Abraham get off the mark as soon as possible as his side prepare to face Norwich City on Saturday.

"Michy got the fitness work he needed out of the game. He scored two good goals, two very good finishes. I thought he worked hard and that's exactly what the game was there to do for him," Lampard said.

"As I've said here and I've said on the training pitch, we need Michy, we need the competition up front with the three strikers we have. I used to love practicing my finishing in training, it's what I felt made me lucky at the weekend, and gave me an edge in front of goal.

"What I have got is great attitude in the three strikers particularly, but others in the squad also always want to stay out, want to work harder. The reality is that moments come when things don't quite go for you. [If] Tammy's goal goes in off the post against United, [it's a] different story for him, different story for the game.

"But you can't get too down about that. I don't think we need to go negative about it. It's about positivity, working hard and the belief that it will come, and I believe it will come. We're talking about quality players in terms of our attacking players, so it will come."

Chelsea lost 4-0 to Manchester United on the opening day and were held 1-1 by Leicester City at Stamford Bridge last time out, having failed to capitalise on encouraging spells in each of those matches.

Lampard says it would not be fair on Norwich to describe the meeting as Carrow Road as "must-win" for his side, but he is taking encouragement from the Blues' performances so far.

"This is the Premier League and you can't disrespect any team to say, 'it's must-win' or 'we'll turn up to win' because every game is difficult," he said.

"I was clear with the players: the performance [against Leicester] spoke for itself. The first half was fantastic. Normally that first half would be two or three-nil, and from then on very comfortable.

"We've shown some really good bits, but we've still got work to do. We're not where we want to be, and it would be impossible to say that three games into the season. It's not easy in pre-season with players coming back late to try and change everything in one go. You can't. You just have to work hard and keep trying to deliver messages throughout.

"We'll get better and the good times are good, but we also know there's a lot to improve on. We're not there yet."

N'Golo Kante faces a fitness test for the match, while Rudiger and Callum Hudson-Odoi are not likely to return until after the international break.

"Kante has got an injury he has carried all week, so we'll assess that over the next 24 hours over whether he is [available]," Lampard added. "Rudiger's not fit yet, hopefully for next week. That's the only changes from where we were last week.

"Callum is training, looking bright and sharp but now we're in the zone where it's about protecting him, giving him conditioning with fitness, especially in the area of his injury. He has had quite a long time out.

"The international break comes at quite a good time for us with both of those and for Reece James. They're all in a position where, I hope, two or three weeks of strong training puts them back in the frame for the squad."

Related items

  • Leno: Arsenal must stick with risky style despite Watford draw Leno: Arsenal must stick with risky style despite Watford draw

    Bernd Leno believes Arsenal must continue to take risks at the back despite that approach contributing to a disappointing collapse at Watford at the weekend.

    The Gunners gave up a two-goal lead in an error-strewn second half to draw 2-2 at Vicarage Road on Sunday.

    The most egregious gaffe was the misplaced pass from Sokratis Papastathopoulos that gifted Tom Cleverley a goal and the hosts a way back into the game.

    Centre-back Sokratis attempted the pass from inside his own penalty area but goalkeeper Leno, signed last year in part for his ball-playing ability, does not think Arsenal should discard their tactics.

    "That's our style to play," Leno told reporters.

    "We try to take the risk because if we beat the press of Watford, then there is a lot of space for our strikers.

    "In the first half we did it very well but in the second we didn't create too many chances from playing out from the back. It is still a process we have to work on. Everybody was angry and disappointed after this game.

    "The manager is a very positive guy. He wants to be positive and he said we will analyse this game with time. Now everybody was with emotions, very mad and crazy.

    "But that is normal after the game. He said 'calm down and then on Tuesday we analyse this game and then on Thursday we have another game'."

    Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's quickfire brace had given Arsenal a comfortable buffer but David Luiz's late foul on Roberto Pereyra enabled the Watford winger to seal a share of the points from the spot.

    Leno said: "It was very frustrating because we controlled the game but also in the first half, you could see that we made two easy mistakes and then at the end we conceded two goals from these kinds of mistakes and we were lucky we didn't lose this game.

    "I think in the second half we completely lost the control of the game. The distance from the midfield to the strikers and all the distances from the players were too big.

    "Watford deserved at least the draw."

    Arsenal, now seventh in the Premier League, are winless in three games.

  • Messi eyes Raul record, Mane out to go level with Drogba - Champions League in Opta numbers Messi eyes Raul record, Mane out to go level with Drogba - Champions League in Opta numbers

    Lionel Messi has his sights on a record set by Real Madrid great Raul when Barcelona face Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday, as the Champions League proper gets started for the 2019-20 season.

    Barca's talisman is back in their squad for the trip to Germany after missing the start of the campaign with a calf injury and, while he is unlikely to start, few would bet against him having a decisive impact if he does make an appearance.

    Reigning champions Liverpool begin their title defence at Napoli in what will surely prove to be a tricky test, although Sadio Mane will be aiming to equal a record set by Didier Drogba.

    There will also be Champions League bows in the dugout for Frank Lampard and Sylvinho.

    Below, we examine the key data for Tuesday's encounters...

    Salzburg v Genk

    0 - Salzburg have not lost any of their last 18 home matches in European competition (W14 D4 – including qualifiers), with their most recent defeat at home coming in October 2016 against Nice in the Europa League.

    1 - Genk forward Mbwana Samatta scored nine goals in 12 appearances in European competition last season and he also finished with 23 goals in the Belgian top flight in 2018-19. Should he play in this match, he will be the first Tanzanian player to make an appearance in the Champions League.

     

    Napoli v Liverpool

    5 - Napoli have won just one of their past six European meetings with English clubs, losing the other five in this run and failing to score in the most recent three. That one victory was against Liverpool last season, though.

    15 - Liverpool forward Sadio Mane has scored 14 goals in 24 Champions League appearances. Should he score in his next outing, he will equal Didier Drogba's record of needing just 25 appearances to score his first 15 goals in the competition, a record for any African player.

     

    Inter v Slavia Prague

    20 - Inter will be making their 20th appearance in the Champions League/European Cup – only Juventus (34) and AC Milan (28) have had more among Italian sides (including 2019-20).

    24 - Inter forward Alexis Sanchez has been involved in 24 goals (12 goals, 12 assists) in his 52 Champions League appearances, but none of these involvements came in six games in the competition for Manchester United, the club he left on loan last month.

     

    Borussia Dortmund v Barcelona

    33 - Lionel Messi has scored against 32 of the 37 different opponents he has faced in the Champions League. Should he score against Dortmund, the Barcelona star will equal the competition's record for different teams scored against, set by Raul (33 clubs).

    2 - Borussia Dortmund have won just two of their past eight Champions League home matches (D2 L4), losing their most recent match 1-0 against Tottenham in the last 16 in 2018-19.

     

    Lyon v Zenit

    1 - Lyon boss Sylvinho will manage in the Champions League for the first time, also becoming the first non-Frenchman to take charge of the club in Europe's elite competition. The Brazilian made 32 Champions League appearances as a player for Barcelona, Celta Vigo and Arsenal, scoring three goals.

    58 - Zenit captain Branislav Ivanovic could make his first Champions League appearance since March 2016 (for Chelsea) in this match. He has made 58 appearances in the competition; only Dejan Stankovic (87) and Predrag Djordjevic (62) have made more among Serbian players.

     

    Benfica v RB Leipzig

    10 - Benfica are Portugal's sole representative in the 2019-20 Champions League, making it the first time in a decade that there is only one Portuguese club in the competition.

    3 - Timo Werner scored three goals from just seven shots on target in the Champions League back in 2017-18, more than any other RB Leipzig player. He went on to net seven times in European competition that term, the highest total by an RB Leipzig player in a single season.

     

    Ajax v Lille

    6 - Ajax won six games in the 2018-19 Champions League, as many as they did in their previous four participations in the competition.

    11 - Including qualifiers, Lille have not won any of their past 11 European matches in all competitions (D6 L5) and scored only five goals in these games.

     

    Chelsea v Valencia

    102 - Frank Lampard will take charge of a Champions League game for the first time in his managerial career. As a Chelsea player, he made 102 appearances in the competition and is one of only 22 players to have played 100 games or more in the tournament with the same club.

    2 - Valencia have reached the Champions League in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2012-13 (three in a row), which was also the last time they made it to the knockout stages of the competition, before being beaten by Paris Saint-Germain in the last 16.

  • Rumour Has It: Maddison and Sancho lead Solskjaer's transfer hit list Rumour Has It: Maddison and Sancho lead Solskjaer's transfer hit list

    Ole Gunnar Solskjaer appears set on his determination to bring young British talent to Manchester United.

    There are four English names on the United manager's radar, apparently, as he looks to rebuild the team into a title-winning force once more.

    The end of the season could potentially see a spend of a similar magnitude to the £150million, more or less, that he spent on Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James this year.

     

    TOP STORY - MADDISON AND SANCHO TOP SOLSKJAER'S WISH LIST

    As per ESPN, Manchester United will pursue deals for Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho and Leicester City's James Maddison in 2020.

    Manager Solskjaer is set on his policy of recruiting young, hungry British talent and remains keen on signing Sancho, who was reportedly a target this year.

    United believe Leicester could sell Maddison for around £70m and are also interested in Newcastle United's Sean Longstaff, Bournemouth striker Callum Wilson and Stoke City's Nathan Collins.

     

    ROUND-UP

    - Barcelona have been ordered by a judge to pay a €300 fine or play a match behind closed doors as part of Atletico Madrid's complaint against the transfer of Antoine Griezmann, Marca say. Atleti believe they are owed more than the €120m Barca paid to activate his release clause.

    - The Daily Mail report Napoli are interested in Celtic forward Odsonne Edouard, a player they value at around €34m (£30.1m). 

    - A handful of reports in Italy suggest Bernard Arnault, the billionaire owner of Louis Vuitton, is interested in buying Serie A giants AC Milan

    - Back with Manchester United, and Calciomercato say JuventusInter, Milan and Borussia Dortmund are all keeping an eye on Nemanja Matic, who has grown frustrated at his reduced role in Solskjaer's plans.

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.