‘Lampard sensible enough to sell Luiz but needs centre-half’ – Defence remains Chelsea’s Achilles heel, says Sutton
Frank Lampard made a “sensible” call in offloading “error-prone” David Luiz to Arsenal, says Chris Sutton, but centre-half is considered to remain Chelsea’s Achilles heel as they approach another transfer window.
They were working under a recruitment embargo at that stage, preventing them from bringing in a replacement.
Chelsea did, however, welcome Kurt Zouma and Fikayo Tomori back from loan spells at Everton and Derby respectively, while they already had Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen on their books.
Lampard has had to keep faith with those at this disposal, but has seen leaks at the back prove problematic – with the Blues boasting the worst defensive record in the Premier League’s top-half.
Sutton believes those issues need to be addressed with a sense of urgency, with an in-form Manchester United side set to provide another stiff test of Chelsea’s credentials in an FA Cup semi-final clash at Wembley on Sunday.
The former Blues striker told the Daily Mail ahead of that contest: “Frank Lampard was sensible enough to sell the error-prone David Luiz to Arsenal at the start of the season. But he hasn’t been able to nail down his preferred centre back pairing.
“We’ve seen Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen start together this season. We’ve seen Christensen and Kurt Zouma.We’ve seen Zouma and Fikayo Tomori. And so on. No club in the top 10 have conceded more goals than Chelsea’s 49. That’s their Achilles heel, and they need protection.
“N’Golo Kante has missed their last three matches because of a hamstring injury. He’s set to miss this semi final, too, and you worry for Chelsea in midfield because of that.
“Not only must they try to contain Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, they have Bruno Fernandes raring to become a pain in their backsides, too. The standards of United’s play have increased since the Portuguese playmaker’s arrival. He’s raised the bar.
“Special players can have that impact – it’s as if their talent is infectious. On Sunday he will be feeding United’s forwards with through-balls while also looking to test Kepa Arrizabalaga himself, most likely from outside of the box.
“Chelsea will want to plan for that, but this isn’t Jorginho’s forte. Nor is it Mateo Kovacic's. This is a job for Kante, but he is not fit enough to play the part. So while Lampard has a problem to solve there, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer seems to have found a promising combination in his own midfield.
“The partnership between Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic is thriving. The latter’s contribution might fly under the radar, but he is vital to Solskjaer’s way – hence why he was recently rewarded with a new three-year contract at the age of 31.
“Often you will see Matic drop so deep that he is in between centre backs Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof. But when on the ball in this position, watch his passes.
Source : goal.com
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