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  • Writer's pictureBy Dan Evans

‘They’re a great example’ – Lampard reveals admiration for Arsenal and says title race is still on

Frank Lampard has said that the recent success of Chelsea’s London rivals Arsenal provides proof of a possible route back to the top for the Stamford Bridge club.

A run of five defeats in a row has left Chelsea 11th in the Premier League table with no chance of silverware and slim hopes of European football next season after changing manager twice this campaign.

Interim boss Lampard pointed to how Arsenal were in a similarly disappointing situation not long ago, and now currently in contention to win the league despite losing to title rivals Manchester City last week.

“It is interesting to compare,” he said. “We all had a little insight with the [All or Nothing] Amazon series. For myself as a football person, the interesting thing about watching the series is there is a long process sometimes to get to where you want to get to.

“I remember playing against Mikel’s teams in the early stages and sometimes they would defend with a five and sometimes they would defend with a four. Now they have a very clear identity and through recruitment have changed the squad.

“There’s been a lot of work to that,” added Lampard, ‘through Mikel, through the team, through alignment, through good recruitment. I think you have to go back to the beginning and through all of those tougher periods

“Do we have the possibility [to do what Arsenal have done]? Yes. Will that take a lot of time? Absolutely, yes. Those things are a credit to Arsenal because I saw the times when the manager was being questioned, the players were being questioned, the owner was being questioned.

“That process can take two or three years. Within those two or three years you have to make a lot of good decisions.

“It’s great to see a club stick with a manager when maybe at another club they would have changed manager two or three times. They’re a great example, and it is part of the reason of why they are where they are now.”

Lampard was unsure if now would be a good time to face Arteta’s side given they are now winless in four following their defeat at the Etihad, but he was adamant that the title race is alive even though City are currently above Arsenal by a point with a game in hand.

“They are very much still in the hunt to win the Premier League,” he said. “They’re a fantastic team who’ve had a great season. If they are wounded slightly that could create a big reaction or it could make things difficult for them. That one’s a hard one to call.

“There are enough games left for there to be jeopardy at the top end and the bottom end of the table. Manchester City have shown incredible form and we all respect that, but we also have to respect what Arsenal have done this year. They’ll believe they’re still in it and rightly so.”

A rare positive from Chelsea’s 2-0 defeat to Brentford last time out was the performance of half-time substitute Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

The former Arsenal striker was making just his seventh appearance since the start of 2023 and provided an attacking focal point that has often been missing as the Blues have scored just once in their last seven matches.

Lampard did not confirm that the Gabonese forward would start against his old club yet did suggest that returning to The Emirates on Tuesday could provide extra motivation.

“He’s fit and ready,” he said. “We all think sometimes a player going back to their old club gives a certain motivation. I haven’t delved into it too much with Auba himself.”


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