December started so promisingly for Chelsea. They clinched top spot in their Champions League group and were sitting in the top four of the Premier League.
However as the month has gone on, the issues have started to show and Chelsea have slid down the table. So what does Frank Lampard have to look at changing as we move into the January window?
Is Mendy the starting goalkeeper going forward?
Edouard Mendy joined Chelsea at the start of the season with a simple goal. Be better than Kepa. Now, Mendy has certainly achieved that. For a start, he actually dives towards the ball, rather than watching it go by him.
Stats favour Mendy too. In the 2019/20 Premier League season, Kepa’s 0.545 save percentage was the lowest of all goalkeepers that had played over 10 matches.
So far this season, Mendy has six clean sheets and a save percentage of .697 ranking him 12th out of 21 keepers across the league. With only 12 goals against from 13 matches and having faced 33 shots on target, his stat line is comparable to Liverpool’s Alisson and Manchester City’s Ederson. The low number of shots faced is a reflection on the defences – more than the keepers.
The question that needs asking then, is that good enough keeping for a Chelsea to contend? Yes. Mendy had a poor game against City, but otherwise, Chelsea have had 12 good PL showings and a group topping Champions League performance from him.
Chelsea have been linked with a move for AC Milan stopper Gianluigi Donnarumma, which would be a terrific signing. However, they are looking at bringing him in on a free transfer in the summer. Until then – or if Donnarumma stays in Milan – trust Mendy.
Should Chelsea persist with Havertz?
If Havertz’ time at Chelsea is going to be successful, one of two things needs to happen.
Either, allow Havertz to get used to playing out on the right and improve over time, or Lampard shuffles the attacking third around and has Havertz in his preferred central role permanently.
Where does Mount belong?
This is a tricky issue to answer. The obvious answer is ‘not on the left’. But then there’s in behind the striker in the attacking midfield role – which would keep Havertz on the right – alongside N’Golo Kanté or Jorginho – replacing Matteo Kovačić – or does he come out of the starting lineup altogether?
How does Werner get over his yips?
Timo Werner is a reflection on Chelsea’s season. He started the season well, had a hot spell in October, then fell off. The German striker has admitted to underestimating the physicality of the Premier League.
Though this doesn’t explain the missing of golden chances. Plainly it’s a confidence issue. Once he scores one, more should come. But there is something Lampard can do.
Pick a position – preferably as the central striker, but if it has to be out wide than so be it – and leave him there. Let him settle into it and re-find his confidence.
Should Chelsea allow Giroud to leave?
Not if they’re not yet confident in Timo Werner. Both AC Milan and Juventus are interested in signing the Frenchman who is Chelsea’s top scorer so far this season with eight goals in all competitions.
Taking Giroud out of the squad now would place more pressure on Werner to find his form quickly. There is Tammy Abraham, who is a good striker, but having Giroud there to help share the load is beneficial to both Werner and Abraham.