The Premier League winter break ended with Manchester United visiting the bridge for the second time this season previously winning 2-1 in the EFL Cup. Things were only better for them this time as they put a below-par Chelsea team to shame at their home ground. Lampard was forced to make some key changes due to injuries to Christian Pulisic and Callum Hudson-Odoi. Willian and Pedro started up front supporting Michy Batshuayi. Kepa was dropped to the bench once again.
It was a very average start to the game which showed no signs of a match that could potentially decide a top 4 spot. But there was some interesting action early on from VAR as the referee simply decided not to send off Harry Maguire for kicking Michy Batshuayi in his groin. However poor defending from Andreas Christensen left Anthony Martial free in the penalty box and the Frenchman calmly headed in a cross from Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
Chelsea almost brought one back early in the second half when substitute Kurt Zouma scored from a corner but it was overturned by VAR for a foul by Cesar Azpilicueta on Brandon Williams. In this case, they decided to ignore the push on the Spaniard that made him fall on Williams. And if that wasn’t enough, Harry Maguire who should have been sent off in the first half scored the visitor’s second by heading from a corner.
Olivier Giroud was brought on in the last quarter of the game and the impact sub made a quick impact by heading in magnificently from Mason Mount’s ball but he was a toenail offside. Well VAR got at least one decision right that night.
Despite dominance in possession, the Blues had only one shot on target in what was a game overshadowed by VAR drama. A lot went against the team but it still wasn’t any excuse to put in a poor performance. N’golo Kante was injured early in the game and will sit out the game against Spurs on Saturday giving more reasons to worry for Lampard.
The only positives that Lampard could take from the game are that Reece James and Mason Mount were at their best once again. Tottenham who are one point behind Chelsea visit the Bridge on Saturday in another vital clash. Losing this game could potentially end Chelsea’s Champions League hopes.