Olivier Giroud once again proves that he is worth all the money as Chelsea continues to progress towards the next season of the Champions League.
They couldn’t earn more decisive advantage due to the wastefulness of Blue’s in front of the goal and the fine form of Norwich’s Tim Krul, and this has certainly not impressed Lampard.
This 1-0 victory over Norwich was not enough for Lampard after he vowed to ‘not forget’ the humiliation dished out on Saturday, by Sheffield United. Despite the flailing limbs of Jorginho under the shadow of David McGoldrick as Blade charged in for late third, the Italian remained at the heart of the midfield of the Blues. Lampard had to begrudgingly persevere with Jorginho, due to the injuries of N’GoloKante and Billy Gilmour. And, Jorginho was certainly very happy to run the game from the outside with mixed success.
But the hosts did find a highly-spirited Norwich side, despite the expected gloom due to the confirmation of relegation. Their game was impressive at the first half of the game, despite the uncoordinated pattern; it seemed that Todd Cantwell was trying hard to stretch the game, furiously dashing into the space vacated by Marcos Alonso’s enthusiasm to be a part of the fun going on the other way. While Daniel Farke showed no sign of dejection either, with the German-speaking out instruction while tapping on the whiteboard that has now turned out to be a planned timeout masquerading during the drinks break.
The hosts did try to carve out some great opportunities, despite the stunning mirroring Chris Wilder’s side by crowding the middle of the pitch. From both the flank, two came identically, first through the appearance of Alonso pulling back to Christian Pulisic and then through Cesar Azpilicueta coming in from behind before finding Giroud going away from his marker. On both occasions, the ball was wildly lashed off the target.
The inconsistency of the rivals of Chelsea has increased the pressure of grasping a place among the top four. For all the progress of Lampard, beyond the exciting Pulisic, veterans Giroud and Willian remain pivotal.
The erratic positioning and wayward passing of Jorginho will have swayed the evident reservations of Lampard, while Ruben Loftus-Cheek missed another chance of translating his ability to the pitch since his return from the injury.
Control can be considered as a theme to Lampard’s rise as a manager because it was the dominance that proved the second goal elusive. The beautifully scooped ball found Pulisic, but it was very well smothered by Krul.
The second never arrived and Lampard still has some problems. This victory will certainly provide relief to the team. But, this performance did very little to showcase the confidence of the team before the semi-final of Sunday against United.