The Frank Lampard era at Chelsea continues on Saturday, as the new boss searches for his first win as Blues’ boss. After a 1-1 draw at Irish Premier Division side Bohemians, they turn their focus to a weekend clash with St Patricks Athletic. After a mixed start to his first preseason friendly, Lampard will be looking for more from his team in this clash. However, the Blues aren’t back up to full strength and they are still getting back to fitness, so could they suffer a surprise setback in this one?
St Pats have their own issues going into this one, they’re not overwhelmed by the visit of a Premier League side. After all, they are back in European action on Thursday, facing the second leg of their Europa League meeting with Norrkoping. The Swedish side won 2-0 in Dublin to ease towards the next round, but Pats will want to give a good impression out in Sweden this week. That means they could hold back a little here, which doesn’t make for the most enticing prospect.
Chelsea are aiming to improve on their midweek draw, which saw the Bohs score a late equaliser to peg the Blues back. It wasn’t a convincing way for Lampard to start, but its obviously still very early in his reign. The Blues’ support will be hoping to see him produce in competitive clashes, but there’s obviously a huge job for the new manager to do. He has to deal with the departure of Eden Hazard, make up for the fact there’s no world-class striker and coax more out of a goal-shy midfield.
Lampard should be a good option to get more going forward from his players, after all, no midfielder contributed in attack quite like him. However, that’s all a long-term issue. There’s no quick-fix to improve Pedro or Willian, while the Blues just splashed out £40million on Kovacic, a central midfielder who failed to register a goal last term. As shown against the Bohs, Chelsea lack cutting edge.
Pats have their own issues in front of goal, having scored just 11 times at home in the league this season. That’s an average of 0.85 goals per game at this ground, while they’ve made up for that by having one of the best defences in the division. Overall, 84% of their league games have seen fewer than three goals scored. With St Pats focusing on their European campaign that could continue. Chelsea come here focused on match fitness, while their under-strength squad should include plenty of youth. That has us backing under 2.5 goals in this clash, which is well priced given the Blues 1-1 draw earlier in the week.
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