Football NewsFrank Lampard Struggles to Stay Relevant As Chelsea Lose Again.
Post image

Frank Lampard lost his 13th game in his last 14 as a manager as his disastrous return to Stamford Bridge continued against Thomas Frank’s Bees.

In the battle for ninth place, interim Chelsea boss Frank Lampard is struggling to stay relevant after falling to a 13th defeat in his last 14 games as a manager.

Rarely, if ever, in the last 20 years has a derby under the Fulham Broadway lights felt like such a chore for Chelsea fans.

At this stage of the season, they are usually rolling up for cup finals or camped on the Premier League’s upper slopes.

But they have made such a dog’s breakfast of the last nine months that, three managers and £600 million later, they are now on course to finish below Brentford and Fulham in the West London & District Midweek Combination.

Brentford, without a win in their previous six games, are accomplished carpetbaggers who pulled the rug from under former Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel 12 months ago with their first victory at the Bridge since 1939.

And those pesky Bees are pollen a fast one again.

Eight minutes before the break, Blues skipper Cesar Azpilicueta – who had not featured in the starting line-up since the 1-0 home defeat by Southampton in February – diverted Mathias Jensen’s corner into his own net.

Azpilicueta (four) is now level with John Terry for the most own goals in Chelsea’s Premier League history.

If his bullseye was inadvertent, it didn’t say much for the home side’s defensive organisation when even the groundsman’s cat knows set pieces are among Brentford’s strongest suits.

“We’re just a bus stop in Hounslow,” trolled 3,000 visiting fans as they celebrated going in front without managing a shot on target.

Chelsea did not lack endeavour but Raheem Sterling, a pot plant where a towering pine is needed as lone striker, is having a more forgettable season than amnesia itself.

After his side was booed off at the break, Lampard rang the changes, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – a frustrated bit-part during Graham Potter’s unlamented reign – unleashed from the bench.

The Arsenal discard almost made an instant impact, beating Bees keeper David Raya to Enzo Fernandez’s cross but heading on to the roof of the net and then shooting weakly from 12 yards.

But for all their tippy-tappy passing, Chelsea made little headway and their goose was cooked 12 minutes from time when Bees sub Bryan Mbeumo cut into the box and his shot was deflected beyond Kepa Arrizabalaga by Thiago Silva.

“We know there is no divine right for teams to be up there in the top spots – it has to come from us,” wrote Lampard in his programme notes.

On this evidence, even the top half of the table will be a stretch.

Lampard insists Chelsea are not broken – but if the wheels are not coming off, the tyres are flat, locking nuts are loose and the axles – like the supporters – are groaning.