Chelsea started their Premier League campaign with a disappointing 4-0 loss away at Manchester United on Sunday. Whilst it was far from the perfect start for Frank Lampard, who was taking charge of his first competitive game as Blues boss, a change going forward will provide his team with more attacking balance.
Lampard decided to play with both Mason Mount and Ross Barkley against the Red Devils. Mount received the nod in the central attacking midfield position, whilst Barkley started on the left opposite Pedro.
It was the former Everton midfielder’s performance that suffered the most, with him registering a disappointing 6.30 WhoScored rating, and his pass success rate of just 79.2% will not be what the manager is looking for from one of his more creative players.
The main issue, though, was the positions the two Englishmen took up. Their heat maps show they they both spent a lot of the time in the same area of the pitch. The 20-year-old was more mobile, but still stepped on Barkley’s toes too often.
Lampard made the difficult decision of leaving new arrival Christian Pulisic on the bench rather than play him from the start. The USA international, who was signed for £57.6m from Borussia Dortmund in January, will most likely provide the solution to the problem.
It is hard to take too much from the performance bearing in mind the Blues were 3-0 down within 10 minutes of Pulisic’s introduction, but it is still interesting to see where he spent most of his time. He stuck to the left wing and did well in that role, with every single one of the 12 passes he attempted reaching its target.
With Pedro on the other wing also liking to hug the touchline, that will allow whoever is chosen in the middle more time and space to have a stronger creative impact on the game instead of it being too compact.