Frank Lampard has threatened to drop his Chelsea stars after their defeat to Arsenal, insisting “they lacked the basics of football”.
Chelsea missed the chance to move up to third in the Premier League after being beaten 3-1 by Arsenal in their London derby clash on Saturday.
The Gunners came into the clash as underdogs following a seven-match winless run, but blew the Blues away with an all-action first half performance.
An Alexandre Lacazette penalty and a stunning Granit Xhaka free kick put the hosts 2-0 up before the interval, and Chelsea’s evening got even worse in the early stages of the second period.
Bukayo Saka looped the ball into the net for Arsenal’s third in the 56th minute after drifting into the box unchallenged, much to the dismay of Lampard on the visitors’ bench.
The Blues scored a late consolation goal through Tammy Abraham and Jorginho had a penalty saved in stoppage time, but they fell to a deserved loss which leaves them trailing Premier League leaders Liverpool by six points having played a game more.
Lampard has admitted his players failed to reach the minimum required standard demanded at Chelsea during the encounter at Emirates Stadium, with the effort of his starting XI called into question.
Asked why his team didn’t perform to their best against the Gunners, the 42-year-old head coach told talkSPORT: “I can’t answer that because some things you can reflect on in terms of tactics, preparation and all these things but in terms of effort it’s something that just has to be a given in football. The players got it wrong.
“I can’t defend the first half because they lacked the basics of football.
“The message was clear to the players. It was to be a tough game against a team that’s fighting, a team of quality, a team that would give everything for a London derby. The players have to take responsibility for that first half.”
Pressed on whether rotation will be necessary ahead of Chelsea’s meeting with Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge on Monday, Lampard said: “Some places, it certainly does. We’ll need some freshness, some people who deserve to play to show they can play on the maximum, on the limit because the Premier League demands it.
“You can make games easy for yourself if you want to start well and we’ve had some games like that this season. Today we made it very tough for ourselves to come back.”