After a run of 17 games without defeat in all competitions entering December, Chelsea have struggled in the packed festive schedule.
Premier League defeats against Wolves and and Everton were capped by a frustratingly sterile display against London rivals Arsenal on Saturday in which Lampard’s galaxy of multi-million dollar investments flattered to deceive in a 3-1 capitulation at the Emirates.
The defeat – or, more so, the manner of it – has led to reports that Chelsea owner Abramovich could once again oversee a cull of the Chelsea coaching staff and bring the axe down on club legend Lampard’s managerial apprenticeship at the Premier League club.
According to multiple reports on Monday, ex-Paris Saint-German coach Thomas Tuchel may well be the latest big name to blip on Chelsea’s radar.
German boss Tuchel, 47, was dismissed by the Ligue 1 champions on Christmas Eve after his team’s unusually subdued start to their domestic campaign which has left the nine-time champions a point of early pacesetters Lyon in third place – and according to German newspaper Bild, the former Mainz and Borussia Dortumund is keen to step into another club as soon as possible.
Tuchel is a known admirer of the Premier League and has stated his ambition to one day take the helm of a team in what most recognize as Europe’s most competitive league.
He is also understood to be keen to work alongside Chelsea’s trio of German stars Kai Havertz, Timo Werner and Antonio Rudiger – none of whom who have enjoyed a particularly positive start to the Premier League season.
It may, however, be slightly premature to sound the alarm bells at Stamford Bridge. Lampard guided the team to a respectable fourth-place finish and an FA Cup Final last season, but the recent downturn in form is thought to be a significant cause for concern considering the club’s outlay of around $300 million on new signings in the summer.
All eyes – and in particular, perhaps, those of Tuchel – will be on Chelsea’s Monday evening fixture at home to Aston Villa, when Lampard will be hoping to provide a significant riposte to the speculation suggesting he will be be the latest Chelsea offering to the managerial scrapheap.
With Manchester City next up for Chelsea and Lampard in the new year, the visit of Villa – who are level with the Blues in the table, seven points behind leaders Liverpool – is likely to be the first stern test in a tricky pair of fixtures.