Although Chelsea conceded a goal against Sheffield United from a corner in the weekend’s Premier League fixture, the balance sheet still has the Blues in credit as two of our goals in the 4-1 win came from set-pieces.
Having gone behind to David McGoldrick’s goal after only nine minutes with Tammy Abraham levelling the scores midway through the first half, it was when Ben Chilwell netted from Hakim Ziyech’s ball when Chelsea played a corner short, and then when Thiago Silva headed in a more direct delivery that we established an insurmountable lead, added to by Timo Werner’s open-play strike.
Chelsea’s dead-ball game at both ends of the pitch has been identified as an area with room for improvement stretching back beyond last season, and that certainly has not been lost on the coaches currently in charge.
‘It is something we have worked on and last season we weren’t happy that we conceded too many goals from set-pieces,’ Frank Lampard said following Saturday’s game.
‘They are a crucial part of the modern game, they probably always have been but seemingly so now with blocks and plans to score or to stop you scoring. We looked at it over the course of the off-season and the personnel have certainly helped.
‘We are bigger, we are more aggressive naturally through the personnel who have been in the team through the early part of the season. The lads have shown focus in the work we want to do with them on the training pitch, and we are spending enough time on that, but the players have to act on that.
There is a nice mentality about trying to be as good as we can be at it, which shows you how important set-pieces are because they make the game comfortable.
‘Even though we played well against Sheffield United it could have been not so comfortable so I am very happy with the set-piece goals.’
With Chelsea now in good form and on a run of four straight wins, it appears the freshly shaped squad has settled down quickly, but Lampard was keeping an open mind how long it would take.
‘I never had a schedule,’ he admitted. ‘We lacked a pre-season and we had some injuries so I never set a target of the first one, two or three international breaks.
‘I just wanted to work and get to a good level as soon as I can. I felt the players would be understanding of what I want. That is never easy to absolutely pinpoint before you start that process so I think we are in a pretty good place. We have dropped some points because we have been working in real time but a lot of teams will say that.
‘We just have to keep working and we should take confidence from Saturday’s game because it was a really good performance against a difficult team to play.’