Frank Lampard has said Chelsea could attempt to solve their weaknesses at set pieces by signing tall players.
Chelsea have the worst statistics in the Premier League when defending corners this season, with nine goals conceded from 110 deliveries, and their shortcomings were exposed during their 3-2 defeat against West Ham on Wednesday. Tomas Soucek dominated Lampard’s leaky defence at set pieces, heading in a Jarrod Bowen corner shortly after having another effort ruled out by VAR.
Chelsea’s lack of height is likely to be put to the test again when they host Watford on Saturday evening and Lampard, who is interested in West Ham’s Declan Rice, said that size could come into his thinking this summer.
“We’ve looked at set pieces this season,” Chelsea’s manager said. “When we came into the club we looked at the stats from last season. Last season we were bottom of the league defending set plays, in terms of teams getting big chances against us, and second bottom in attacking. We haven’t improved much this year.
“I really don’t like to talk about my own playing days but we didn’t work much at all on set pieces and there were a few reasons, mainly John Terry, Gary Cahill, Didier Drogba, Michael Ballack and [Branislav] Ivanovic. You’d stick it in an area and they would defend it or score goals.
“With Liverpool, I remember a lot of talk about them and set pieces a few seasons ago. They were zonal and conceding a lot. They signed Virgil van Dijk and he heads out everything. There’s a huge relation to personnel and if you don’t have that size, the main thing is trying to compete as hard as you can and making it difficult for other teams to score.
“But I’m not making excuses because we haven’t done that well enough and that has to improve. When you look at who you might bring in with the balance of the squad it is certainly something to take into account.”
Lampard refused to be drawn on the future of Kepa Arrizabalaga, who had another poor game against West Ham. Sevilla and Valencia are thought to be interested in loan deals for the Spain goalkeeper.
“I’m not going to talk about what we may do at the end of the season,” Lampard said. “With Kepa, there’s been a lot spoken about him this season. All I want from him is the right mentality and attitude in approaching games. I’m happy with him. That’s the end.”