Chelsea

The Blues manager, Frank Lampard has claimed that his team need to be at their very best against their opponents in the Champions League after the draw was held last night in Monaco dismissing suggestions that the English teams are given the most favorable oppositions. Chelsea were in Pot 1 after winning the Europa League and drew Dutch champions Ajax, Valencia and Lille, the French club that finished 2nd in last season’s Ligue 1.

Chelsea football clubs find themselves in a rather difficult spot this season as they let go of superstar Eden Hazard in the summer transfer window to Real Madrid. The Belgian star was one of the best players to ever grace the Premier League but had his heart set on a move to the Santiago Bernabeu to join the Spanish capital side and finally made the move to Real Madrid in the summer, leaving a massive void at Chelsea. The West London side also lost Maurizio Sarri as the 60-year-old Italian master tactician returned to his native after just one season in charge of Chelsea. This left the vacancy at Chelsea and Frank Lampard stepped in to join the club as manager this time around.

The 41-year-old hasn’t gotten off to a great start with Chelsea after his one year in the Championship managing Derby County and almost guiding the Rams to Premier League promotion. More so, Lampard did not have a chance to purchase any players in the summer transfer window as the club was suffering a transfer ban which restricted them from signing any new players over the next two transfer windows.

Lampard has gotten Chelsea 5 points out of a possible 12 so far in the Premier League and lost the UEFA Super Cup to Liverpool earlier in the month. Now the former English midfielder will have to embrace an even tougher test as the prestigious Champions League closes in. Lampard was part of the Chelsea team that won the European title back in 2012 and was asked if Chelsea landed a difficult draw this season to which he responded, “Yeah, I think so. I saw the early reports were that all the English teams have seemingly had pretty good draws: there is never an easy draw in the Champions League. One team was a semi-finalist last year [Ajax], Valencia is a very strong team always, and it is dangerous, and in Lille, we have another strong team. It is certainly no walkover of a group at all, far from it. Quality teams that we will have to be fully on guard and be at our best to get through the group because it is a strong group across the board our group.”

Chelsea drew Valencia back in 2012 when they lifted the Champions League and Lampard was asked whether he still has fond memories of the game at the Mestalla when he netted against the La Liga giants, “Yeah. Happy memories of that but also an awareness of a difficult stadium to go to. Not hostile, but very much behind the home team, it is very tight, and if you go there and you are not at it, it will be a particularly difficult game. So I am very aware of how hard that will be.”