Chelsea welcome Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League on Wednesday as life after Frank Lampard begins for the Blues.
Club legend Lampard was relieved of his duties at Stamford Bridge on Monday, despite Chelsea’s FA Cup 4th round win over Championship side Luton Town the previous day.
It is in the Premier League where the problems have arisen, with the Blues 9th in the standings and 5 points off the Champions League spots.
Ruthless owner Roman Abramovich has proven yet again there is no place for sentimentality at the club by sacking the club’s record goalscorer and arguably greatest ever player.
The whopping £200m on players which Abramovich invested in the summer has not been reflected in the performances of Kai Havertz or Timo Werner, both of whom commanded a large chunk of that mammoth spend.
In fairness to Ben Chilwell, who cost £50m from Leicester, he has been the pick of the bunch, with free transfer Thiago Silva also impressing at the back.
As such, many will point at Chelsea’s summer spend and suggest that they should be competing much higher up the Premier League – something which regardless of Lampard’s star status at Stamford Bridge the Blues board ultimately agreed with.
It begs questions of the Chelsea hierarchy, with concerns being raised over the lack of managerial stability at the club and the absence of time in the quest to build an identity on the pitch.
Many however would argue that Chelsea’s identity is trophies, and Lampard has failed to deliver that.
Thomas Tuchel, the former PSG and Dortmund boss who taken the reigns at the Bridge will no doubt be subjected to similar scrutiny as he takes charge of his first game on Wednesday.
Like Chelsea, Wolves have faced similar question marks over their performances this season, but it has been strongly argued that Nuno Espirito Santo’s side overachieved in their first two seasons back in the top flight with consecutive seventh placed finishes.
Now though, the Europa League places look a world away with Wanderers languishing in 14th place in the Premier League standings.
The injuries to full back Jonny Otto and striker Raul Jimenez, as well as the departures of Diogo Jota and Matt Doherty, have significantly impacted Wolves’ performances this campaign.
A loss to bitter Black Country rivals West Brom last time out will also sour the mood at Molineux, but they will be looking to set things right against a Chelsea side lacking in confidence.
Chelsea will also be depleted in the midfield department as N’Golo Kante continues his recovery from a hamstring strain.
Wolves have far greater injury concerns – the aforementioned Jonny Otto and Raul Jimenez remain out, as do Marcal and new signing William Jose, who is awaiting international clearance.
Daniel Podence is a doubt, with a late fitness test expected on a lower leg injury.
Chelsea v Wolves kicks off at 6pm on Wednesday 27th January.