Arsenal v Chelsea: Match in pictures
Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard has been warned he must finish in the Premier League top four this season or will be sacked by owner Roman Abramovich. Chelsea suffered their third defeat in four league matches on Boxing Day, going down 3-1 at struggling Arsenal. It was the Gunners’ first league win since November 1.
Chelsea beat West Ham 3-0 last Monday in a scoreline that flattered Lampard’s side.
That followed back-to-back defeats away at Everton and Wolves, with the latest loss at the Emirates meaning the Blues sit seventh in the table.
Chelsea will be eighth if Tottenham avoid defeat at home to Wolves this evening and former Blues midfielder Craig Burley says results must pick up soon.
“[Lampard’s] got players out of form, he’s got players that are not fully fit, and that’s a problem,” Burley said on ESPN FC.
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“They have gone from looking one of the paciest, quickest sides in the Premier League, to one of the most pedestrian.
“That is a huge issue for him because you may have noticed with this owner Roman Abramovich, he doesn’t suffer inconsistency, bad results, no matter who it is.
“So let me be clear, Lampard is back on the chopping board currently as we speak.”
Burley, who won the FA Cup during his time at Chelsea in 1997, does not think Lampard will be sacked in the near future.
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But he reckons failing to qualify for the Champions League will spell the end of his time at Stamford Bridge.
“It’s turn-up time for Lampard and these players because this cut and thrust period can make and break you,” Burley added.
“I’m not suggesting Abramovich is going to sack him in the next couple of weeks, but there is one thing they need to remember – top four.
“If they don’t get in the top four, he’s probably done.
“It’s a big season for him, it looked as if it was going swimmingly and now it looks like they’re sinking a little bit with a weight around their feet.
“He’s going to have to find the reason to put it right.”
Goals from Alexandre Lacazette, Granit Xhaka and Bukayo Saka sealed Arsenal’s win on Saturday.
And Lampard labelled some of his players lazy when speaking to the media after the match.
“I am angry because I want us to win games,” he said.
“We were lazy to give away a penalty, lazy to give away a free-kick that Xhaka puts in the top corner and I am very, very disappointed in the way we approached the first half because some things in football are basics.
“It is not tactics or systems, it is do you want to run, back your team-mate out and sprint? Or do you want to jog and say ‘maybe I don’t have to run’? And we took that decision instead of the right one.”
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