Frank Lampard accepts Chelsea were taught "serious lessons" by Manchester City on Sunday but insists people must be patient as he tries to build a stronger team.

Pep Guardiola's side ran out 3-1 winners at Stamford Bridge, with Ilkay Gundogan, Phil Foden and Kevin De Bruyne all scoring in the first half for a side left depleted by a coronavirus outbreak.

Chelsea, who scored a consolation goal through Callum Hudson-Odoi in second-half injury time, only managed two shots on target throughout the contest as Premier League debutant Zack Steffen went largely untroubled.

The Blues have now lost four times in six league games, as many as they did in their previous 23.

They have taken 26 points from their first 17 league matches of 2020-21, three fewer than they managed at the same stage last term, and they have never finished higher than sixth after failing to amass more than 26 points at this stage of a campaign.

With top-two Liverpool and Manchester United seven points ahead of them with a game in hand, pressure is growing on Lampard, whose squad was bolstered by a net spend of more than £220million in the previous transfer window.

While accepting his side were not good enough in the first half, Lampard believes he needs time to bring Chelsea closer to the level of City and champions Liverpool.

"For 10 minutes, we were good, then they started to play and we conceded two poor goals, really poor goals. I felt it knocked us and I felt we didn't react as well as I'd want," he told Sky Sports.

"We knew they'd play without a real striker so we had to make sure that space wasn't there. We allowed the space for De Bruyne to get into the game, and [Bernardo] Silva, and Gundogan, when he gets the opportunity to shoot for the first one.

"So, yeah, serious lessons in the first half, good character in the second half, but the damage was done. The level of play, you're talking De Bruyne, I know he was here when he was a kid and credit to him, he went away and came back and now he's prime Kevin De Bruyne.

"Then you can go through their team and talk about that and the reality is for us, and it's why I spoke earlier in the season, one month ago everyone was saying, 'we can win the league', I was pretty sure in the fact that, where we're at, in terms of the [transfer] ban, in terms of the rebuild and where we're at as a team, in terms of the youth, that there are periods of pain we're going to go through as a club and individuals.

"It was a painful first half. We've got to get better at receiving the ball in tight areas, we've got to understand that, when a press comes, you've got to accept it, or miss the press out. When a team gives you a problem on the pitch, which we talked about before the game, it has to be dealt with in-game. In the first half, we didn't; in the second half, we were better, but the damage was done."

Lampard pointed to his own experience as a player as proof that things can change quickly in football when it comes to teams being successful.

"I'm not leaning on the youth [as an excuse] because I think some of the younger players really came to the fore," he said. "I thought Mason Mount showed second half, Billy Gilmour when he came on, Callum comes on and gets his goal, so it's not about the youth in the squad being the issue. It's just a reality, as I said before. 

"At the minute, we're in a little period, a five, six-game period that none of us like. I think if you probably go back to the first year of City in this regime or Liverpool, you have to fight through that. That comes with reviewing this game and looking at how you can be better.

"If you've been in football this long - and I said this to the players at half-time - I've had those days. I've sat there and had those days and lifted a trophy at the end of the year. I remember getting beaten at Middlesbrough, two or three-nil, [Mark] Viduka and Yakubu [Ayegbeni] up front, and we were sat in the dressing room pretty demoralised. We bounced back because we had a spirit in the dressing room and a quality of player.

"We're in a different period now but any player in football is going to have moments like that. Some of the results we've seen this season for other teams, Man City, Liverpool, et cetera, have been harsh for them. Now, because we're in a bit of a period, it becomes even harsher for us, I won't hide away from that.

"But the players, myself, have to take it on the chin and react. This is football."

When asked if his Chelsea players have the character to get out of their bad run, Lampard replied: "Without a doubt we have that.

"We went 16 games unbeaten and month ago, everyone's asking me, am I going to go, when's the new contract? Now people will be saying the opposite. I can't control that. We can't control that. What we can control is what we do tonight, tomorrow, the next day, what we do against Morecambe, what we do against Fulham, and then I have belief in this group.

"I hope this doesn't sound like I'm criticising players. I'll be the first to look at myself today. But when I look at the squad, I know there is uplift in this team, but I know where we're at because I see it and I know the work it takes to be at the level Manchester City showed today because that's been a lot of years in the making, a lot of players playing in the prime of their careers, showing confidence and character.

"It's normal that, as a squad, we take little knocks along the way. Now is a test."

Even by this season's standards, it was a strange start at Stamford Bridge. 

Manchester City went 4-4-2 despite the notable handicap of having no strikers. Stand-in goalkeeper Zack Steffen seemed to forget the back-pass rule. Chelsea started without Olivier Giroud or Tammy Abraham but felt looping Hakim Ziyech crosses was still the best Plan A. Kevin De Bruyne, for the 34th time in a row in the Premier League, failed to score with a shot from open play. 

When City suddenly, imperiously took control as Chelsea froze in the bitter London cold, you wondered if those bizarre but competitive first 18 minutes had been conjured up by broadcasters to throw the stay-at-home viewer off the scent, a Premier League narrative directed by the Coen brothers. 

All at once, City were City again. Passes were fizzed into feet, Phil Foden killed the ball softly to Ilkay Gundogan, and it was beyond Thiago Silva's foot and Edouard Mendy's left fingers in a flash.

Two minutes and 37 seconds later, Foden had convinced the watching Gary Neville that he was Marc Overmars reborn: one driving left-wing run pulled Chelsea's defence out of position so badly that, by the time De Bruyne finally slipped him the ball to score, he looked like he'd been standing in the penalty area so long he was trying to remember where he'd buried the suitcase of money. 

There was so much to unpack about the third goal, an assembly of ill-conceived plans at the mercy of a maelstrom, like that tornado at the end of A Serious Man. It also prompted all manner of questions: why did Chelsea have every outfield player in the City half for a free-kick? Why did N'Golo Kante hoof a loose ball straight at De Bruyne's head? Why did Raheem Sterling not score after rounding Mendy - and why did nobody try to take the ball off him once he hadn't? It was such an implausible turn of events that, when Sterling's eventual shot came off the post and nestled at De Bruyne's feet for a tap-in, you had to wonder if that had been the plan all along.

Of course, what City's emphatic 3-1 win over Chelsea tells us is actually not that strange at all. A visiting team with preparations and line-up ruined by a coronavirus outbreak still, at every turn, looked like they were following a plan. Frank Lampard's men looked every bit a team that had managed just one win in their previous five league outings coming into the contest. 

If there was thinking behind his selection, Lampard's methods seemed less precise with every hopeful ball aimed towards every uncertain Timo Werner run. The disconnect between midfield and defence was so stark that Kurt Zouma tried to play in both positions at once and managed to be successful in neither. They were picked apart with the same ease as they were at Arsenal a week ago, by the same City set-up that destroyed Manchester United in an EFL Cup first half last January, but Chelsea didn't look as though they had learned a thing.

Perhaps the real enduring strangeness of 2020-21 is the hasty assessment of these teams' trajectories. When Chelsea moved top of the table by beating Leeds United 3-1 on December 5, many of the 2,000 home fans allowed into the stands must have thought Lampard's £230milllion-plus investment had created a team of title challengers.  

When an unadventurous City were held in the Manchester derby and then by West Brom last month, even Pep Guardiola talked of "the gap between this year and previous years". 

Yet the fact remains City are the strongest challengers to Liverpool's supremacy. Until Callum Hudson-Odoi's injury-time consolation, they had conceded once - an own goal - since losing at Tottenham 11 matches ago. They are four points behind leaders Liverpool and United with a game in hand, having lost once since September. And they are now three points above Chelsea, who have played twice more and who in turn are only three ahead of an Arsenal team tipped for a relegation fight three weeks ago. 

It would be odd indeed to see Chelsea as true title contenders now, or to pretend that Lampard, for all his enduring credit among players, fans and directors, would not be right in thinking: 'Damn, we're in a tight spot.'

Manchester City impressively overcame the absence of key first-team players due to coronavirus as they eased to a 3-1 victory over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. 

Pep Guardiola's side had their game at Everton postponed earlier this week due to a COVID-19 outbreak at the club, one that left them without six squad members for their first match of 2021. 

But City, who handed a league debut to goalkeeper Zack Steffen, were three up inside 34 minutes thanks to strikes from Ilkay Gundogan, Phil Foden and star of the show Kevin De Bruyne.

Callum Hudson-Odoi scored a late consolation for Chelsea but that was the only disappointment for the visitors, who made it three league wins in a row to move up to fifth in the table, within four points of top spot with a game in hand. Chelsea, meanwhile, remain down in eighth position. 

City started without a recognised striker and it was Gundogan who was in the most advanced position when turning away from Thiago Silva to fire past Edouard Mendy for the opener. 

A second goal followed for Guardiola's side 157 seconds later, Foden sweeping home De Bruyne's low cross at the front post following a poor sliding clearance from Thiago Silva in the build-up. 

De Bruyne rounded off a swift counter that he started near his own box for City's third, the playmaker converting from close range after Raheem Sterling's shot came back off the post. 

Gundogan went close to doubling his tally with a smart flick that drifted inches wide of the far post and Rodri's header was well saved by Mendy after half-time as City pushed for a fourth. 

They could not quite hold on for a sixth clean sheet in seven league outings, however, as Hudson-Odoi converted fellow substitute Kai Havertz's delivery at the back post from the final meaningful act of the match.

Only Wayne Rooney has had a longer gap between Premier League goals for the same club than Andy Carroll, who netted for the first time of his second Newcastle United spell in a 2-1 loss to Leicester City.

Carroll, who turns 32 on Wednesday, made his ninth top-flight appearance of the season on Sunday, coming on as a 79th-minute substitute with Steve Bruce's side 2-0 down to goals from James Maddison and Youri Tielemans.

He scored within three minutes, thumping in a well-timed volley to haul Newcastle back into the contest, though the Foxes ultimately held firm to secure their seventh away win of the season.

Leicester are the 19th different top-flight side to win at least seven of their first nine away games of a season – none of the previous 18 have finished outside of the top four.

Carroll's goal was his first for Newcastle since he re-joined the club in 2019-20.

The former Liverpool and West Ham forward had last netted for the Magpies on Boxing Day 2010, in a 3-1 defeat to Manchester City.

Coincidentally, his only two league goals for Liverpool in 2010-11 – following a reported £35million move – also came against City.

With a gap of 10 years and eight days between his strikes for Newcastle, Carroll is behind only Rooney for the longest length of time between two goals for the same club in the Premier League.

Rooney scored on the opening day of the 2017-18 season for Everton, 13 years and 121 days after his last goal for the Toffees in the 2003-04 season.

Zack Steffen will make his Premier League debut for depleted Manchester City as their clash with Chelsea goes ahead despite a coronavirus outbreak.

Pep Guardiola is without six players for Sunday's trip to Stamford Bridge, with the club's squad badly affected by COVID-19.

Eric Garcia was the latest to test positive on the day of the game, though the Spaniard was due to miss out through injury anyway.

Kyle Walker and Gabriel Jesus were confirmed to have the virus on Christmas Day, though Guardiola did not reveal the identities of the others to have returned positive tests.

But goalkeeper Ederson did confirm he is self-isolating, meaning 25-year-old United States international Steffen was picked to start between the posts, wirth Scott Carson as back-up.

Steffen signed for City in 2019 but spent last season on loan at Fortuna Dusseldorf, meaning the game at Stamford Bridge is to be his Premier League bow, his four previous appearances this term coming in the EFL Cup and Champions League.

Benjamin Mendy has been picked among the substitutes despite being found in breach of social distancing rules on New Year's Eve, while Ferran Torres is absent from the visitors' travelling party.

Although Frank Lampard revealed on Friday that two Chelsea staff members had contracted coronavirus, their squad remains unaffected.

Lampard also played down the idea of Hakim Ziyech starting against City after an injury absence, however, the Morocco star was named in Chelsea's line-up.

Timo Werner also returns to the starting XI after being dropped for the 1-1 draw with Aston Villa.

Kai Havertz remains among the substitutes.

Manchester City have confirmed defender Eric Garcia and a member of staff have tested positive for coronavirus.

The club made the announcement less than four hours before Sunday's scheduled Premier League match with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

"Both personnel will now observe a period of self-isolation in accordance with Premier League and UK Government protocol on quarantine," City said in a statement.

"Everyone at the club wishes our colleagues a speedy recovery ahead of their return to work, training and competition."

Manager Pep Guardiola confirmed on Friday that there had been three further positive tests for COVID-19 within his squad after an outbreak earlier in the week.

City's league game at Everton on Monday was called off and the Etihad Campus training centre closed after Gabriel Jesus, Kyle Walker and two further members of staff had returned positive tests.

Everton requested "full disclosure" of the information City provided to the Premier League, with the match being postponed four hours before it was due to start.

City resumed training on Wednesday, calming fears the game with Chelsea could also be rescheduled.

Earlier on Sunday, City said they were investigating after defender Benjamin Mendy was reported to have held a New Year's Eve party that included guests from outside his household, in breach of COVID-19 protocols.

Manchester City will conduct an internal investigation after being left "disappointed" by Benjamin Mendy's breach of COVID-19 protocols. 

France international Mendy - who has made nine appearances in all competitions this season - is reported to have staged a party on New Year's Eve that included guests from outside his household. 

In a statement, the Premier League club confirmed they are aware of the situation involving the player, who has since apologised for his error amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

City are without a number of first-team players following an outbreak of the virus that forced their game away at Everton on December 28 to be postponed. 

"The club is aware of a New Year's Eve Covid-19 breach involving Benjamin Mendy and the subsequent media reporting of it," City said in a widely reported statement. 

"While it is understood that elements of this incident have been misinterpreted in the reports, and that the player has publicly apologised for his error, the club is disappointed to learn of the transgression and will be conducting an internal investigation." 

Pep Guardiola confirmed on Friday that three more "important" members of the first team had tested positive, following on from confirmed cases for Gabriel Jesus and Kyle Walker, as well as two members of staff. 

City closed the training facility due to the situation within the club, though the squad were able to return to work on Wednesday ahead of Sunday's trip to Chelsea. 

They are not the only top-flight team to be dealing with a coronavirus outbreak, though. Fulham have had festive fixtures against Tottenham and Burnley cancelled. 

Ilkay Gundogan suggests it is "quite normal" for Timo Werner and Kai Havertz to be struggling at Chelsea after moving to the Premier League amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Werner and Havertz were high-profile recruits from the Bundesliga prior to the 2020-21 season as Chelsea looked to turn a team that scraped Champions League football into genuine title contenders.

Other signings, such as Edouard Mendy, Thiago Silva and Ben Chilwell, have quickly had an impact, but the Germany internationals have found life a little more difficult.

Werner did not score in his first three Blues appearances in all competitions but then netted eight times in nine games, before enduring an 11-match goalless run that takes him up to Sunday's meeting with Manchester City.

The former RB Leipzig forward, who has netted with just 10.3 per cent of his 39 Premier League shots, missing eight big chances, lost his place for the first time for the draw with Aston Villa last time out, albeit Chelsea had played Arsenal just two days earlier.

Werner - involved in eight league goals - has still fared better than Havertz, who has had an underwhelming eight attempts and created 10 chances across 14 games, scoring one and assisting another.

The misfiring pair will meet international colleague Gundogan on Sunday in a crunch clash in the top half of the Premier League.

The City midfielder expects the pair to come good, though, pointing to the difficulty of relocating to a new country under the strange conditions of a global health crisis.

"They have two new German players who have tried to adapt as well as possible," Gundogan told Sky Sports.

"In general, I think it's not easy to adapt quickly to the Premier League when you come from a different country, and now with the situation going on, I think it's just even harder.

"So I think it's quite normal that they are struggling a little bit, but they both have incredible talent and I'm sure they will both be able to prove it in this league."

Chelsea, in sixth, and eighth-placed City are level on points ahead of the game at Stamford Bridge, seven points adrift of co-leaders Liverpool and Manchester United.

Frank Lampard's side have won just one of their past five league matches to quell title talk, but Gundogan is still wary of the threat of opponents who have won their past two home games against City.

"Like every year, Chelsea have a great squad with incredible players," Gundogan said.

"They are a great team and they have a really ambitious manager so I feel like they will really challenge us - not just this weekend but also generally in the league.

"They got some really talented, young recruits in the summer, spent a lot of money and got some really good players, so I think they will do well.

"They've done well; of course, they are also a team that struggles like everyone does, but they have a lot of quality and it's going to be a great game."

Jadon Sancho was once top of Manchester United 's wish list but now Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants to move for the Borussia Dortmund star's teammate  Erling Haaland .

Solskjaer had solidified his position at United heading into the January window following a 10-match unbeaten run and the Norwegian manager is determined to recruit his countryman.

After tracking ex-Manchester City youth product Sancho before the season, United are ready to switch their attention to Haaland, with reports suggesting he has a £70million release clause.


TOP STORY – UNITED TO SWITCH ATTENTION TO HAALAND AND CASH IN ON POGBA

The Mirror report Solskjaer is so keen on Haaland, he flew to Salzburg and attempted to hijak the goalscoring sensation’s move to Dortmund last January.

Tottenham got their title push back on track with a first win in five outings and Arsenal maintained their recent revival with a third win on the bounce in Saturday's Premier League action.

Harry Kane and Son Heung-min were again among the scorers for Spurs in their victory over Leeds United, while Alexandre Lacazette helped himself to a double in the Gunners' even more straightforward success at West Brom.

Crystal Palace also picked up three valuable points with what is a now-customary victory over doomed Sheffield United, who set an unwanted record with their latest setback, but there was nothing to separate Brighton and Hove Albion and Wolves in the day's other game.

Here is the pick of the Opta facts from Saturday's Premier League fixtures.

Tottenham 3-0 Leeds: Son and Kane combine again in convincing victory

Son scored his 100th goal for Tottenham in all competitions to help his side on their way to a routine victory over Leeds in the early kick-off.

The South Korea international swept in Kane's pass to become the 18th Spurs player to reach the milestone figure on what was his 253rd appearance.

Kane has now assisted 17 goals for Son in all competitions, while the pair have combined 13 times in the Premier League alone in 2020-21 - no two players have linked up more in a single season in the competition.

Prolific striker Kane had earlier given Tottenham the lead and in doing so he became the first player to reach double figures for both goals (10) and assists (11) in Europe's top five leagues this season.

Kane has also now scored against all 30 opponents he has faced in the Premier League - the best 100 per cent record in the competition among players to have faced more than one team.

Toby Alderweireld added a third goal early in the second half and Leeds were unable to respond - the first time they have failed to score in an away league game this term, leaving Aston Villa and Manchester United as the only perfect sides in that regard.

The only blemish for Spurs was the stoppage-time dismissal of Matt Doherty for a second yellow card, meaning they have already had more top-flight red cards in 2021 than they had in the whole of 2020.

Palace 2-0 Sheffield United: Eze does it for Eagles as visitors lose again

Bottom club United have now officially set the record for the longest ever winless run from the start of a Premier League campaign after going down 2-0 to Palace.

The Blades' 17-match winless run to begin a season is the worst in the English top flight since Bolton Wanderers' run of 22 without a victory in 1902-03.

Stretching back into 2019-20, Chris Wilder's men are winless in 20 Premier League games - failing to keep a clean sheet in any of those - making them the fifth side to reach that figure and the first since West Brom between August 2017-January 2018.

Jeffrey Schlupp opened the scoring at Selhurst Park with just 188 seconds on the clock, which was Palace's earliest goal in the division since James McArthur's strike against Everton after 51 seconds in November 2017. 

The versatile wideman hobbled off injured and it was his replacement, Eberechi Eze, who added a second goal with a wonderful solo effort as he became the fourth Palace player to score his first two goals for the club from outside the box - the others being Ricky Newman, Gareth Southgate and Simon Rodger.

United, who saw 16-year-old Antwoine Hackford become their youngest ever Premier League player in the second half, could not find a response as the Eagles kept a first clean sheet in the competition in 16 matches since September.

Brighton 3-3 Wolves: Seagulls battle back after Burn horror shown

Dan Burn endured a first half to forget but Brighton recovered from two goals down to claim a point against Wolves at the Amex Stadium.

The centre-back put into his own net and brought down Adama Traore for a penalty that Ruben Neves converted, having earlier conceded a corner in the build-up to Romain Saiss' opener - the Wolves defender's second goal in three league games, which is as many as he managed in his previous 40.

In doing so, Burn became the first player to score an own goal and give away a penalty in the same Premier League game since Eliaquim Mangala for Man City against Hull City in September 2014.

Brighton refused to roll over and had a lifeline when Neal Maupay converted from the spot 50 seconds after the restart - the earliest penalty scored in the second half of a Premier League game since Opta records began in 2006-07.

Lewis Dunk then nodded in to snatch a draw - the fourth occasion Albion have rescued a point in a Premier League game in which they have been two goals behind.

West Brom 0-4 Arsenal: Lacazette at the double for revived Gunners

Arsenal turned on the style with a runaway victory over a struggling West Brom side as they made it three wins in a row in the Premier League, following a previous run of two victories in 12.

Kieran Tierney scored a sublime opener for the visitors, becoming the first Scottish player to score an away goal for the north London side in the competition since Charlie Nicholas against Ipswich Town in March 1986.

The strike itself was impressive and it came at the end of a 20-pass move that pulled West Brom apart. Indeed, since Mikel Arteta's first game in charge on Boxing Day 2019, the Gunners have scored more goals following a sequence of 20 or more passes (three) than any other Premier League side.

The impressive Bukayo Saka scored the second at the end of another flowing team move - the 22nd league goal he has been involved in since the start of last season (seven goals, 15 assists), which is the second most by a teenager currently playing in the division after Manchester United's Mason Greenwood (25).

West Brom had a goal ruled out for offside and their heads dropped from that point on as Lacazette netted a quickfire brace, taking his tally for the season to five away goals in the Premier League - already his best seasonal tally since joining Arsenal.

It was another damaging defeat for West Brom, who are the first side to lose consecutive Premier League home games by at least four goals since Wigan Athletic in August 2010.

The size of the task at hand for Sam Allardyce has now become even clearer, meanwhile - at no club has he won fewer points (one, level with Crystal Palace) or conceded more goals (13) after his first four Premier League games in charge of a club.

Mikel Arteta believes Arsenal can play with freedom now they have turned the corner on their dismal run of form.

The Gunners made it three Premier League wins in the space of eight days with a 4-0 triumph against struggling West Bromwich Albion at a snow-covered Hawthorns.

Alexandre Lacazette hit a second-half double in the space of four minutes to send Arsenal 11th in the table, after Kieran Tierney and Bukayo Saka had opened up a half-time lead.

The three-win streak puts an end to a run of seven matches without a victory and Arteta hopes he has seen the back of his team's miserable stretch of results.

"I hope so, at least the energy and the convincing momentum that you get from everybody that is involved, it's much more positive," Arteta said.

"At the end of the day, I wasn't that concerned with the performances.

"I think we lost games when we were really unlucky and most of them it was our own fault because we made some errors and we lack some discipline in certain moments.

"But you need to win football matches and now this brings a different momentum, a different energy, and now the players get the handbrake off and you can see that they are more free to play."

Mikel Arteta believes Arsenal can play with freedom now they have turned the corner on their dismal run of form.

The Gunners made it three Premier League wins in the space of eight days with a 4-0 triumph against struggling West Bromwich Albion at a snow-covered Hawthorns.

Alexandre Lacazette hit a second-half double in the space of four minutes to send Arsenal 11th in the table, after Kieran Tierney and Bukayo Saka had opened up a half-time lead.

The three-win streak puts an end to a run of seven matches without a victory and Arteta hopes he has seen the back of his team's miserable stretch of results.

"I hope so, at least the energy and the convincing momentum that you get from everybody that is involved, it's much more positive," Arteta said.

"At the end of the day, I wasn't that concerned with the performances.

"I think we lost games when we were really unlucky and most of them it was our own fault because we made some errors and we lack some discipline in certain moments.

"But you need to win football matches and now this brings a different momentum, a different energy, and now the players get the handbrake off and you can see that they are more free to play."

Frank Lampard says some context is needed over Kai Havertz's early struggles at Chelsea as he backed the attacking midfielder to show his "undoubted talent" once he fully settles.

The Germany international has struggled to transfer the form he showed at Bayer Leverkusen since joining Chelsea in a reported £72million (€80m) deal in September.

Havertz has just one goal and one assist in 14 Premier League appearances and has been named among the substitutes for the Blues' last three outings.

However, Lampard insists the 21-year-old is still finding his feet after moving to a new country, a period of adaption not helped after being laid low by coronavirus earlier in the season.

"Just as Kai was just coming to terms with the Premier League and he had some really good performances with us he got COVID and he had it quite severely as I think people are really starting to open up about now," Lampard said.

"I have read a few things recently about how much people can suffer with it now. Some people are asymptomatic.

"He definitely has had a bit of a fallout with that physically and I speak with him a lot and we know that. It is something we are trying to help him to deal with.

"The expectation around him, you have to put context into the story. Kai's talent is undoubted. I see that every day. Giving him the time to adapt to the Premier League and to our team is crucial.

"We have seen players come here in the past, didn't really adapt, went elsewhere and come back to the Premier League and absolutely lit it up to unbelievable levels.

"I am not trying to compare Kai directly with that but there are so many stories across the Premier League, not just Chelsea.

"I have full belief in him. We need to give him that time, particularly because of the COVID situation, that is a problem. That is not a non-issue - it is an issue that is related beyond his illness."

Havertz has created 10 chances in his 14 top-flight appearances this term at a rate of 1.1 every 90 minutes, placing him behind fellow attackers Mason Mount (2.4), Callum Hudson-Odoi (2.7) and Hakim Ziyech (2.8).

He averages just 0.9 shots per 90 minutes, meanwhile, which is 14th on the list of Chelsea players, behind even holding midfielder Jorginho (1.1) and full-back Reece James (1.3).

That is in stark contrast to his impressive figures in the Bundesliga when scoring a record-breaking 17 goals - the most in a single season for a teenager - in 2018-19 and following that up with 12 more last term, on top of six assists.

And Lampard is aware of the demands that come with making a high-profile move, having taken time to get going at Chelsea following an £11m switch from rivals West Ham in the early part of his playing career.

"Transferring leagues to a game that is fast and physical week in, week out, every three days is a big ask and not something that should be expected just because we paid this amount for you or you are an international or your age or how many goals and assists you made," he said.

"You can't take anything as a given in that sense. I thought that with Kai anyway and I was there to help him, I am there to help him when he came. I was excited to take on that challenge with him of how this league is going to be different.

"Let's see how you can adapt because your talents are going to be different in a really positive way and help us. The one thing I certainly know as a coach is that I can rely on is my personal experience when it mirrors up slightly.

"I know I had to do extra work myself. Kai is different to me. Particularly with the knockback of COVID. Now we have to give him time to do the extra work now and it will make him stronger in the end. And remember, he is a young player and he needs time."

Mikel Arteta gave a more positive outlook on Arsenal's season after victory over West Brom secured a third straight win and moved his side to within six points of the top four.

Just 10 days after West Brom coach Sam Allardyce claimed Arsenal were "absolutely" in a relegation battle, the Gunners swept the former England manager's struggling outfit aside to climb 12 points clear of the drop zone.

The Baggies were no match for the team Allardyce had considered their rivals to beat the drop, conceding sublime first-half strikes to Kieran Tierney and Bukayo Saka and then a clumsy second-half brace to Alexandre Lacazette.

While West Brom became the first team to lose consecutive Premier League home games by at least four goals since Wigan Athletic in 2010, Arsenal claimed a third straight victory, having won just two of their prior 12 matches.

Wins over Chelsea, Brighton and Hove Albion and now West Brom have come in quick succession over the festive period, lifting spirits at Emirates Stadium.

"I'm so happy that we were able to achieve the target that we had," Arteta told BT Sport.

"The table looks completely different, the energy around the place is much better, and wins bring a lot of confidence. You can see that today in the performance and the way the team played."

The game was played on a snow-covered pitch at The Hawthorns, which Arteta felt caused Arsenal problems even as they monopolised 61.6 per cent of the possession and had 21 attempts to West Brom's seven.

Arteta said: "It was a very convincing win. To win the last three games in the Christmas period in the Premier League is not easy.

"I think today, in phases when the weather was better and the conditions to play were better, we played some great football.

"At the end, we had to manage in certain moments as well the conditions and the way we played because the pitch was really difficult."

Tierney was a standout performer from left-back, covering 10.56 kilometres, and had no such concerns about the conditions.

"It is what it is," he said. "Playing in Scotland my full career, I'm kind of used to that. It's a bit of cold weather, so it hurts nobody."

Of the former Celtic defender, who finished with an assist to go with his goal, creating a game-high four chances, Arteta added: "He's been fantastic since I've been here.

"From the moment he got back from his shoulder injury, he's been terrific. He's a lad that gives you absolutely everything.

"He's improving, he's willing to get better and better, and he brings a great energy and quality to the team."

Arsenal claimed a stylish 4-0 win over West Brom at a snow-covered Hawthorns to continue their Premier League resurgence on Saturday.

After a seven-match winless run in the top flight prior to Christmas, the Gunners defeated Chelsea at home and Brighton and Hove Albion away and were full of confidence against Sam Allardyce's struggling side.

Fine first-half goals five minutes apart from Kieran Tierney and Bukayo Saka - the first a sublime solo strike, the second a flowing team move - made a mockery of tricky conditions and moved Arsenal out of sight.

Alexandre Lacazette added a comical clincher and later doubled his tally as a third straight victory boosted Mikel Arteta's men up to 11th, now suddenly looking up the table rather than back towards the relegation scrap in which West Brom remain mired.

Arsenal had quickly assumed control in the falling snow, although Matt Phillips might have done better than shoot straight at Bernd Leno from a rare West Brom opening.

The visitors heeded that warning and soon led when Tierney pushed the ball past Darnell Furlong on the left flank, then checked back inside to beat his opponent again and finally beat Sam Johnstone with a curling right-footed effort.

The swift second was equally impressive, albeit an entirely different kind of goal as Emile Smith Rowe moved the ball on to Saka and continued his run while Alexandre Lacazette took possession and fed a pass back into his path. Through on goal, Smith Rowe unselfishly squared to find Saka once more for a simple finish.

A flag denied West Brom an early second-half response as Matheus Pereira ran offside before his drive against the post landed back at the feet of Callum Robinson with the goal gaping.

Instead, a bizarre third went Arsenal's way when Semi Ajayi awkwardly volleyed against his own post and recovered to block Smith Rowe's follow-up but watched Lacazette lash in the rebound - the Frenchman netting in a fourth consecutive match in all competitions.

He had another four minutes later, kneeing in Tierney's drilled cross, with West Brom ultimately fortunate to escape further punishment.


 

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