FRANK LAMPARD’S Chelsea reign is finally underway.
The former Blue started his regime with a 1-1 draw against Irish side Bohemians.
4 Frank Lampard has already fielded three different formations in just two matchesCredit: PA:Press Association
And his second match ended in a 4-0 win over St Patrick’s.
However, it wasn’t just the impressive performance which delighted Chelsea fans.
The Stamford Bridge faithful were made to watch a 4-3-3 formation throughout the entirety of last season under Maurizio Sarri.
But Lampard has already used THREE different set-ups in his first two games.
It means the England legend is prepared to mix things up and react in the moment.
Lampard’s versatility will also help Chelsea in their preparations for matches, with opponents not knowing what system they will be up against until an hour before kick-off.
And fans are sure to enjoy the new-look set-up as Lampard prepares to hand chances to a number of new faces.
The first thing Super Frank is sure to do is find his best backline.
Former manager and close friend Jose Mourinho always ensured he knew his best defence before preparing the rest of the side.
And Kepa Arrizabalaga is sure to keep his place as Chelsea’s first-choice goalkeeper.
Cesar Azpilicueta is another cert to remain in the team, with the Spaniard expected to replace Gary Cahill as captain and Reece James still recovering from a long-term injury.
Emerson should also retain his spot ahead of Marcos Alonso, who could be in danger of falling behind Kenedy before the start of the season.
But it’s Lampard’s centre-back partnership which is sure to cause him a headache.
David Luiz is arguably his most experienced player, but question marks remain over the Brazilian’s defensive capabilities in a back four.
DF: James, Rudiger, Luiz, Kenedy
MF: Jorginho, Kovacic
AM: Willian, Barkley, Pedro
Antonio Rudiger was a hit with fans last season, but he is another who is still some way off full fitness after suffering a bad injury.
Ethan Ampadu has shown promise but needs to be loaned out to gain more minutes.
And although Fikayo Tomori impressed under Lampard at Derby, he too could benefit from one more season away from Stamford Bridge.
Instead, Kurt Zouma should be given another chance at the back after his fantastic season with Everton.
The Frenchman became one of Mourinho’s top players during the Portuguese maestro’s second West London stint.
And after putting his injury woes firmly behind him, Zouma still has enough time on his side to become one of the world’s leading centre-backs.
Meanwhile, Andreas Christensen also deserves to be given a consistent first-team role.
He remained patient under Sarri and was extremely impressive when Luiz and Rudiger got injured later on in the campaign.
Christensen is also more technical than the physical Zouma, and the pair could forge a rock-solid partnership not seen since John Terry linked up with Ricardo Carvalho.
With his backline sorted, Lampard’s next job is to decide which formation to play.
He started with a 4-2-3-1 for the first 45 minutes of his maiden match against Bohemians.
And there is little doubt that N’Golo Kante should be starting in the centre, allowing him to support both attack and defence.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek, although recovering from injury, is arguably the most exciting player to emerge through the Chelsea ranks since JT.
He is physically, technically and mentally superb, and will be the driving force of Chelsea for the next decade.
DF: James, Rudiger, Luiz, Kenedy
MF: Barkley, Jorginho, Kovacic
FW: Willian, Batshuayi, Pedro
Loftus-Cheek’s presence in a deeper role means the No10 position is free, and despite Ross Barkley’s progress, Mason Mount has shown enough potential to be trusted with the team’s key role.
He is sharp and clinically sound, making him the perfect option to roam around the attacking third looking to pick the ball up for one-twos while playing in teammates and taking on dribbles and shots himself.
On the wings, Christian Pulisic and Callum Hudson-Odoi are set to inject some life into positions which have been dominated by Willian, Pedro and the now-departed Eden Hazard.
Like Mount, the pair have a lot of room to develop, but are already good enough to mix it with the best the Premier League has to offer.
Lampard is sure to instruct them to run directly at defenders, while also encouraging them to try their luck from distance.
In attack, Michy Batshuayi has looked sharp in pre-season, while Tammy Abraham is also set to stick around after his super goal haul in the Championship with Aston Villa.
But honours will go to Olivier Giroud, who is finally set to get his chance as a top team’s clear first-choice striker.
The World Cup winner has shown he can be trusted to score consistently, while his physical and technical attributes make him an ideal focal point for the younger players to zip around.
The 4-2-3-1 also allows Lampard to move smoothly into a 4-3-3 for a more compact central midfield.
He adopted the tactic during the second half of the Bohemians match, and it simply requires Mount moving to the right of Kante, who will be tasked with a deeper role in the heart of the pitch.
However, Lamps has another trick up his sleeve – and it involves TWO strikers.
He shocked and delighted fans by deploying a 4-4-2 with a narrow diamond in the win against St Patrick’s.
It’s been a while since that system was used by a Blues manager, with Mourinho briefly experimenting with it after adding Michael Ballack and Andriy Shevchenko to his star-studded squad.
Should Lampard decide to use it regularly, it could spell a return for Jorginho in the holding position.
Kante, Loftus-Cheek and Mount would resume their roles from the 4-2-3-1.
Alternative 4-1-2-1-2 narrow
DF: James, Rudiger, Luiz, Kenedy
CM: Gilmour, Kovacic
FW: Abraham, Pedro
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And the other player set to benefit is Michy Batshuayi, with the Belgian partnering Giroud up front.
The Belgian has looked sharp in pre-season, showing a steely determination to get into Lampard’s plans after being cast aside by Antonio Conte and Sarri.
And with Giroud more than happy to help play in teammates, Batshuayi could be set for an impressive goalscoring season.