Having been in the manager’s hot seat for three games now, we can begin to assess the impact that Frank Lampard has already had on a seemingly depleted and dejected Everton side. Rafa Benitez’s reign can only be described as dismal, with the Spaniard leaving Everton in a dangerous position near the bottom of the table. However, having been bolstered by new backroom staff, new players in Dele Alli and Donny Van de Beek, Everton have the chance to rescue their season, pick up valuable points and charge back up the table. So how is it going so far?
Having started off his reign with two wins of a possible three, that can only be seen as respectable by onlookers. Even in the 3-1 loss to Newcastle, you could still see the improvements in Everton’s performance. Despite finishing the game 3-1 down, Everton dominated possession and completed almost double the passes of Newcastle. Of course this just needs to be converted into actual chances, and naturally taking those chances, but the early signs are positive at Goodison Park.
Yesterday’s fixture versus Leeds United can only be seen as the true beginning of what is in store for Everton. Everton were fantastic, dominating play and finishing the game having prevent Leeds from even having a single shot on target. Not only did they score three well-worked goals, but this shows the improvement in defense for this Everton side. In-form Leeds attacker Dan James proved to be a tough customer last time out against Aston Villa, but Everton managed to keep him quiet this time around. Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard might have competed vigorously on the pitch as captains of rival teams during their playing career, but time will tell how competitive times will get during their management careers!
Lampard definitely has some good credit when it comes to analyzing his management career, but the circumstances that led to his departure from Stamford Bridge, in the manager position, can’t be completely overlooked. Having achieved initial success at Derby, leading them to the play-off final, Lampard was installed as manager of a struggling Chelsea in the midst of a transfer ban. Despite this, Lampard was able to utilize the squad and steer Chelsea to a fourth placed finish. This is mightily impressive, seeing as how depleted the squad really was. However, it was only when Lampard was actually allowed to invest, bringing in top players like Timo Werner and Kai Havertz, that things started to go pear shaped for the Chelsea legend.
Lampard was relived of his duties with Chelsea in ninth place in the Premier League. Chelsea were eleven points behind leaders Manchester United, and five off of fourth placed Liverpool. To be fair to Frank, considering it was only January, it was certainly possible that Chelsea could have improved and easily secured top 4, had Lampard been given the time. This is evident by the success of Lampard’s replacement, Thomas Tuchel. Having come in shortly after Lampard’s departure, Tuchel not only achieved a top 4 finish, but also won the Champions League.
Whatever Rafael Benitez was doing beforehand clearly wasn’t working for Everton. Benitez trusted players like Andros Townsend, Demarai Gray consistently, even when the players weren’t doing their bit in attack. Furthermore, Benitez was a little old fashioned at times, playing several variations of a 4-4-2. The question now for Lampard, is how do you utilize what you have? Debatably, Alli and Van de Beek play the same role, and considering Alli was brought in on a permanent deal, will he be given preference in that playmaker role? Additionally, Everton are overly dependent on Brazilian striker Richarlison. The alternative striking options are quite underwhelming. Cenk Tosun is a player who has spent the last two seasons on loan at Crystal Palace and Besiktas, scoring very few goals. Considering Everton paid almost £30 million to bring him to Merseyside, this is utterly disappointing. The other option is Salomon Rondon, brought in as a result of a close relationship with former manager Rafa Benitez. Additionally, loan signing Anwar El Ghazi, deemed surplus to requirements by rivals Aston Villa, was actually signed prior to Lampard’s appointment.
It is clear that Lampard will have a transformation job in the summer of an Everton side lacking quality, but the task for now is simple- keep Everton up and march up the table. With the right backing, Lampard can be a great success at Goodison Park.