Frank Lampard's first win shows a way forward for new Chelsea

What Frank Lampard’s first win tells us about the next phase of ‘New Chelsea’ - PA/Adam Davy
What Frank Lampard’s first win tells us about the next phase of ‘New Chelsea’ - PA/Adam Davy

Frank Lampard will not be present when a new era dawns at Chelsea this summer but Saturday’s win at Bournemouth, the first since the former midfielder returned to the club, felt like a pivotal moment.

The goals, scored by Conor Gallagher, Benoit Badiashile and Joao Felix, all came from players either recently arrived or with much to prove. Telegraph Sport considers what this victory can tell us about what to expect from the club next season.

A youthful look in defence

Despite Lampard lavishing praise on the commitment and professionalism of Thiago Silva on Saturday, the 38-year-old cannot go on forever. With 31-year-old Kalidou Koulibaly also hampered by injury and inconsistency since his arrival from Napoli, the make up of next season’s defence will be youthful and Badiashile was the game’s standout player at Bournemouth.

Reece James, Trevoh Chalobah and Wesley Fofana will also feature prominently. Full-backs have been key to the systems used by Mauricio Pochettino at his previous clubs and are asked to play an attacking role. At Tottenham, he used both three and four-man defences and, with the embarrassment of riches available at Stamford Bridge, should the Argentine take over as manager, he can opt for either system.

‌Midfield stability returning

For all the upheaval at Chelsea this season and the startlingly high turnover of players, there was a look of cohesion and understanding in their midfield at Bournemouth. At 32, N’Golo Kante showed that he has the mobility and tenacity to match anyone and, when fit, there are few better in world football than the Frenchman.

Next to him, Enzo Fernandez showed glimpses of his abundant qualities. At 22 and still adjusting to the pace of Premier League football, he will only improve. Bournemouth counter-attack at great speed but the athleticism shown by Fernandez and Kante in covering the whole width of the pitch to recover possession bodes well for when Chelsea are faced with a team set up in a low-block looking to hit them on the break.

Ahead of them, Gallagher: freed from much of his defensive responsibility, the 23-year-old timed his run perfectly into the penalty area to nod in Chelsea’s first goal and looked to get in between the lines throughout the 90 minutes he played against Gary O’Neil’s side. Having paid his dues on loan for Charlton, Swansea, West Brom and Crystal Palace, next season will be a big one for a player who began training with the club as a six-year-old – if he were to remain.

Puzzles still to be solved going forward

For all the money lavished on Chelsea by Todd Boehly since he acquired the club, Chelsea had scored just twice in eight games before their visit to the south coast. As a Premier League manager, Pochettino has favoured a focal point supported by three players in behind. At Southampton that was Rickie Lambert, at Tottenham Harry Kane, but there is no obvious candidate at Chelsea.

Kai Havertz offered little as the central striker against Bournemouth but could justifiably point to that not being his most natural role. To the left of him Mykhailo Mudryk again failed to impress and is struggling to adjust to the rigours of the Premier League. Much more promising was Noni Madueke, the 21-year-old who excelled on the right flank in the first half, linking up well with Kante in particular, before switching to the left side later on. Raheem Sterling came on and was excellent for the 30 minutes he played, setting up a goal for Felix, whose future remains uncertain.

‌Squad size

With upwards of 30 players on the books, this summer again promises plenty of turnover. Responding to questions about supporter discontent with Boehly, Lampard defended the American by saying: “I know there is an intention to get this club to wherever it wants to get to again.”

That surely translates as there being more big-money arrivals in the offing, but plenty will also be leaving. At Cobham, there are so many senior professionals that it is not uncommon to see two 11 versus 11 games taking place in training. Pochettino has generally preferred a smaller squad so one of the first orders of business will be deciding who is the first to leave.