Bodog Life

Welcome to the Bodog Life!
Check your email for a
confirmation note.
page header page header

Solskjaer and Lampard mark the beginning of a new Premier League rivalry

Two iconic players for their respective clubs are about to lock horns in the first gameweek of the season, only this time dictating the game as managers.

In the first competitive match of his managerial career for Chelsea, Frank Lampard will be up against an old foe. His arrival at Stamford Bridge as a manager is seen as a sign of better times after Chelsea’s average run in the past two Premier League seasons. After the departure of Maurizio Sarri to Juventus, the Blues adopted a similar approach of appointing a club legend as their manager, seen and felt in teams across Europe such as Real Madrid and Manchester United.

But what has kept the fans at their toes and excited is the sight of Lampard overcoming the likes of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Pep Guardiola. Chelsea will be travelling to Old Trafford for their first encounter of the new season sans Eden Hazard and the critics will be on Lampard’s back, keeping a keen eye on his team selection.

This will be a battle of two inexperienced managers with nostalgia sinking in quickly. Ole and Lampard are both relatively new to the ‘gaffer’ job and it will be exciting to witness their tactics in play. However, Ole has spent few months as United’s boss, relying on youngsters and building an attacking mind set which they clearly lacked under their previous manager Jose Mourinho.

Lampard had a tryst with United as Derby County’s boss back in 2018 when he defeated Mourinho’s side on penalties in the third round of the League Cup, glorifying his managerial qualities to the fullest. This feat was a testament to Lampard’s innate quality of standing up against a top team as a gaffer. Given his hiring at Chelsea, some critics view his arrival as a solution to Chelsea’s desperate situation.

The Blues are suffering a two-window transfer ban and loss of Hazard has only made it a poisoned chalice from which no experienced manager would like to drink. The recourse – appointing Lampard, a club hero capable of resuscitating the team from a low ebb and bringing back the glory days.  The same ideology was applied by United while appointing Ole.

But Lampard, despite his inexperience, may have been the safest option available for Chelsea. Ole may be granted less patience. His magnificent start as a caretaker boss last season gave him the job permanently. But things took a U-turn as after his official appointment as United just won just two matches in ten games, post his declaration as a permanent.

Ole’s initial success was attributed to mirroring his former mentor Sir Alex Ferguson’s spirit, recapturing the identity that was lost during years of defensive football following the Scott’s departure. Following the footsteps of Sir Alex, the current United gaffer focussed on purchasing home grown talent but the signings of Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire in the transfer window will determine his ability to field a perfect mix of big names and young talents.

Goalscoring will be a key factor for both Ole and Lampard equally. It will be interesting to see whether both the managers can galvanise their faltering attacks or not. Signing only Daniel James to fill the position of a striker, Ole needs one of Anthony Martial or Alexis Sanchez to recapture form as quickly as possible and link up with Marcus Rashford.

On the other hand, Chelsea are still reeling from the after effect of losing Hazard and have been lacking a lethal strike force since Diego Costa’s departure. Their hopes now rely on Tammy Abraham, who spent last season on loan in the Championship. He scored 25 league goals for Aston Villa last term but making it big in Chelsea will be a tough task.

Sunday’s fixture may not be a title decider, but it promises a fascinating insight into whether Lampard and Ole have the tactical genius that they unleashed during their days as a player. Both managers’ lack of experience is one of many well-documented obstacles they’ll face. Lampard or Ole will surely face a tough time navigating through new roles in their lives but this season will be a true lesson in the value of nostalgia. Only time will tell, how long these club legends are able to endure what comes their way.

Check out the second rip-roaring season of our Laugh Before Wicket show on our YouTube channel!