How far can Chelsea go this season?

A Strong Start from the Blues

Chelsea go into the November international break in a strong position after 12 games. Frank Lampard's men sit third, ahead of Manchester City and it's fair to say the Blues have so far exceeded expectations.

Lampard returned to the Bridge in the summer seemingly faced with an impossible job. Chelsea had been given a transfer ban and it didn't get any easier, with star player Eden Hazard sold to Real Madrid.

hazard

Many had major doubts over not only Lampard's ability and experience as manager but the ability and the experience of Chelsea's youngsters as they stepped into the first team.

It was a difficult start to the season but things have picked up remarkably, we look at how they've done and just how far they can go.

A Tough Start

Many predicted a struggle for Lampard and that was the initial outcome.

It was difficult going in the league to start with as Chelsea won one of their first four games, including a 4-0 defeat at Old Trafford and squandering a 2-0 home lead to Sheffield United to only draw 2-2.

Frank Lampard

There was however some positives, including a 2-2 draw against Liverpool in the Super Cup to only be beaten on penalties and Lampard's young guns showed what they could do when beating Norwich 3-2 and an impressive 5-2 away win to Wolves.

Despite the poor start, the upward curve towards the end of August and the beginning of September was a sign of things to come.

Youngsters Finding Their Feet

There was promise from many of the youngsters in Chelsea's wins over Norwich and Wolves but consistency was still an issue.

For the second time in Lampard's reign, his side put up an impressive enough performance against Liverpool but Jurgen Klopp's men left Stamford Bridge with all three points.

That was on the 22nd of September and since then Chelsea haven't dropped a point, winning six Premier League games in a row.

Not only have they been winning but they've also won in style, putting 4 past both Southampton and Burnley away from home and defensive performances have also improved, at least in the league, with wins to nil against Brighton, Newcastle and Crystal Palace.

Jorginho Chelsea

Lampard has been true to his word about giving as many youngsters as possible chances. In Tammy Abraham he has a striker with 10 Premier League goals, a total only toppled by Jamie Vardy and the emergence of the likes of Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori has given Gareth Southgate new options.

Not only has Lampard integrated youngsters but he's also helped more senior players rediscover form.

Italian midfielder Jorginho was booed by fans last season but has now become a Stamford Bridge favourite whilst Willian and Mateo Kovacic have put bad seasons behind them and are playing better than ever.

European Exploits

Whilst not much was expected of Chelsea this season, there will still be an expectation of progressing in Europe and Chelsea go into the international break second in a group that sees first place Ajax and third place Valencia join them on seven points.

The Blues began the competition poorly, losing 1-0 at home to Valencia however responded with two huge away wins, leaving it late to win 2-1 in Lille and a Michy Batshuayi 86th minute goal giving them a 1-0 win in Ajax.

Watching Chelsea under Lampard has been nothing short of entertaining and that was perhaps empitamiszed during a 4-4 draw with Ajax in the return fixture at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues found themselves 4-1 down before Ajax were reduced to 10 men and came back to level the game and were perhaps unlucky not to get a fifth.

How Far Can They Go?

It really remains to be seen however there is no doubt Frank Lampard will be over the moon to head into the November international break in third.

Chelsea are already nine points clear of fifth so there will be now a expectation that they finish in the top four, which Lampard will know is crucial.

They even find themselves ahead of Manchester City and they travel to the Etihad next Saturday and a victory would surely make people sit up and take note of genuine title challengers.

Hudson-Odoi Chelsea

However, despite that, they still have eight points to find on Liverpool and have been beaten on both occasions so far when coming up against a top six side and drew with Leicester, who are in second, a title challenge this season perhaps may be asking a lot but if Lampard can finish in the top four, have a respectable run in Europe and an FA Cup run as a bonus, it's safe to say he's had a very successful first season at the Bridge.


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