Frank Lampard’s appointment as Chelsea manager was widely greeted with optimism as the club legend returned to Stamford Bridge in 2019, though the feel-good factor of the fan favourite’s arrival has since been replaced with questions over his suitability for the role.
Lampard arrived at the west London side with just a single year of managerial experience behind him at second tier Derby, though initially won plaudits during a debut campaign that saw Chelsea secure a top four finish and reach the FA Cup final – all whilst under a transfer ban and integrating several academy graduates into the side.
Chelsea’s expectations significantly changed during the summer following a lavish spend on a host of marquee arrivals, spending more than £220m to increase demand for silverware success.
Lampard as a coach remains a divisive figure and encouraging signs have been mixed with periods of inconsistency, Chelsea’s run of just one win in five fixtures over the festive period seeing the Blues drop to sixth in the Premier League and further increases the scrutiny on their under-fire manager.
We’ve decided to look at how Lampard’s record compares to Chelsea’s worst managers of the Premier League era, here are the five Blues’ bosses with the lowest points-per-game:
Andre Villas-Boas – 1.70 ppg (29 games)
The manager with the joint-lowest points-per-game total since the billionaire takeover of Roman Abramovich, Andre Villas-Boas was hailed as the second coming of Mourinho upon his arrival at Stamford Bridge in 2011.
Villas-Boas had guided Porto to an unbeaten league season during a 2010/11 campaign that delivered four trophies for the Portuguese side, their novice manager becoming the youngest coach in history to win a European title after lifting the Europa League.
It was Villas-Boas’ first season with Porto and just his second in senior management, though he moved to Chelsea – who paid a world-record fee for his services – that summer to take up a new challenge in the Premier League.
Villas-Boas began his first campaign with three wins from his opening four fixtures but results soon started to deteriorate, costly defeats to both Manchester United and Arsenal seeing Chelsea fall adrift in the title race.
Chelsea won just twice in 10 fixtures over the festive period and by March had dropped out of the top four, owner Abramovich losing patience with his youthful manager just nine months after his appointment, Villas-Boas sacked and replaced on an interim basis by Roberto Di Matteo.
Frank Lampard – 1.70 ppg (54 games)
Will Abramovich’s patience last a little longer with his current manager?
Lampard’s first 18 months in charge of Chelsea has seen him average just 1.70 points-per-game, a figure level with Villas-Boas as the joint-worst of any manager since the turn of the century.
Chelsea remain a side in transition under their new manager but expectations are now far greater than during Lampard’s debut season in charge, with Abramovich likely to want to see a return on his significant investment during the summer.
Last season saw the west London side secure a top four finish despite many predicting a season of struggle following the loss of Eden Hazard to Real Madrid and a transfer ban placed upon the club, and Lampard deserves credit for his initial performances in the role despite inconsistent periods.
However, the new season has brought new objectives and there has been few tangible signs of progress, a run of just four points from five fixtures over the festive period seeing Chelsea drop to sixth.
Sometimes stats can be misleading but Frank Lampard is statistically is Chelsea's joint-worst Premier League manager since Roman Abramovich bought the club. His current points-per-game (PPG) record of 1.70 is matched only by Andre Villas-Boas at the bottom of the pile. pic.twitter.com/o6RW5I2nTL
— Frank Khalid (@FrankKhalidUK) December 30, 2020
The optimism raised by a 14-game unbeaten run earlier in the season has disappeared with concerns now growing, and Lampard must show he has the managerial ability to navigate his side through a tricky period.
Questions remain over whether the 42-year-old knows his best side or system and the pressure is beginning to build on Lampard following Chelsea’ flat performances in recent weeks.
Ruud Gullit – 1.65 ppg (63 games)
Rewind to the mid-nineties and the Premier League was a fascinating and very different place, the first wave of foreign imports revolutionising the division and a time where player-managers were very much a thing.
After the news that Glenn Hoddle would be leaving his position at Chelsea to take charge of England, the club’s supporters chanted for Ruud Gullit to take charge, the Dutch icon having enjoyed a fine debut season with the Blues as a player.
Gullit had no previous managerial experience but had enjoyed a huge career of success with both AC Milan and the Netherlands, with the Chelsea faithful granted their wish as he was appointed manager in 1996.
ON THIS DAY: In 1996, Ruud Gullit was appointed as Chelsea player-manager following the departure of Glenn Hoddle. pic.twitter.com/m5INKHFf7B
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) May 10, 2016
Gullit initially began brightly and led the west Londoners to a sixth-placed finish and the FA Cup, winning Chelsea’s first major silverware in 26 years and becoming the first foreign manager to lift the trophy.
The positivity lasted little longer, however, and Gullit was sacked the following season following a disagreement with the club’s board, leaving Stamford Bridge with an average of 1.65 points per game.
Ian Porterfield – 1.28 ppg (29 games)
Having finished in the bottom half in each of the two campaigns prior to the Premier League’s inaugural season, expectations were low at Chelsea as the rebranded division began in 1992/93.
Ian Porterfield was the man in charge of the Blues who started the season promisingly, but a run of 12 games without a win across the turn of the New Year saw the manager sacked in February – becoming the first ever Premier League manager to be axed.
Porterfield left Chelsea having averaged just 1.28 points per game, the west Londoners finishing that first Premier League season in 11th.
Glenn Hoddle – 1.27 ppg (122 games)
Statistically, the worst Chelsea manager in the history of the Premier League, Glenn Hoddle averaged just 1.27 ppg during his three-year spell in charge of Stamford Bridge.
Hoddle’s reign saw him turn Chelsea into a successful cup side and he reached the 1994 FA Cup final during his debut season, before reaching the last four of the Cup Winners’ Cup the following season.
Hoddle was initially player-manager for his first two seasons before retiring from playing in 1995, though he was unable to make significant progress in the Premier League and finished in the bottom half in each campaign.
His appointment was credited with helping to attract notable names to Stamford Bridge, however, including the aforementioned Gullit, whilst his attractive style of football won plaudits and saw him eventually appointed as England manager.