By Alex Fisher
Last Updated: 22nd July 2019
It is all change at Stamford Bridge and there is an air of optimism around Chelsea that 2019/20 could be the season their raft of youngsters are given the chance to shine.
Maurizio Sarri’s tenure always looked in trouble at the end of the campaign, even though the Italian guided Chelsea to third in the Premier League, the EFL Cup final and Europa League glory.
As he settles into life at Juventus, there was only one man Chelsea wanted to replace him as they prepare for a season hampered by a transfer embargo…Frank Lampard.
The Chelsea legend takes the top job at the Bridge after one season in charge of Derby County where his commitment to blooding young talent clearly impressed, even though the Rams missed out on promotion.
While there won’t be any further additions joining Mateo Kovačić and Christian Pulisic before the deadline, expect plenty of fresh faces within the Chelsea squad as Lampard turns to the club’s vast array of youth prospects.
Top of the list are likely to be the previously under-used Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ruben Loftus-Cheek (when they return from injury). Both academy products showed glimpses of talent under Sarri and have expressed their excitement of playing under their new boss.
Last season Lampard worked closely with Fikayo Tomori and Mason Mount at Derby, and both are expected to be included in his plans at their parent club.
Reece James and Tammy Abraham also impressed in the Championship in 2018/19, with the latter having a good chance of first-team action given the lack of forward options following the departures of Eden Hazard and loanee Gonzalo Higuaín.
So, while the chequebook may be firmly in the drawer, expect a lot of changes at Chelsea this season. Many of them are likely to inspire the club’s fans as they finally give youth a chance.
A mouth-watering debut for Lampard the manager comes against old foes Manchester United, and Chelsea are 12/5 to leave Old Trafford with all three points.
Things could get a little easier for the Blues after that with Leicester, Norwich and Sheffield United to follow before another test against Liverpool on Sunday 22nd September.
By the time Lampard faces his old club Manchester City in November, we will know a lot more about his Chelsea team, and how the current goodwill towards him is faring.