Chelsea go into the final three games of the English Premier League season knowing that they are within touching distance of securing Champions League football next term.
At the time of writing they are four points ahead of Leicester City and Manchester United – fourth and fifth respectively – but both have a game in hand.
And they know that three wins will definitely see them finish in third place and securing their place in Europe’s premier competition.Embed from Getty Images
While they’ll be watching on as rivals Leicester and Manchester United play tonight – games you can bet on if you sign up with Paddy Power and get offers – they’ll prepare for a trip to Old Trafford to play Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side on Sunday.
That’s the start of a tough three-game run to end the season that could prove Frank Lampard is the real deal and Chelsea made an outstanding decision to appoint him last summer.
Why? Well, Chelsea’s position in third right now is already hugely impressive considering the challenges they’ve had this season.
Lampard took over the job with Chelsea unable to sign players due to a transfer ban.
If that wasn’t tough enough then the sale of star player Eden Hazard last summer left a big void in Lampard’s team.
But he’s not complained – and has taken advantage of the strong academy at the club to blend talented young players with the established quality already at Stamford Bridge.
And that has created a team capable of winning any game and entertaining while they do it.
Now, these final three games can really show how good a manager Lampard is – as Chelsea face United, Liverpool and Wolves over the next 10 days.Embed from Getty Images
You won’t see any of their rivals playing as difficult fixtures as that to end their season.
United are one of the form teams in the Premier League and have their sights on the Champions League for next season too so there’s no doubt that will be a tough game.
The trip to Liverpool next midweek may be slightly easier given Jurgen Klopp’s men have taken their foot off the gas after securing the title.
But even if they get through both games unscathed, the chances are they will still need to take something away at Wolves on the final day of the season – and with Nuno Espirito Santo‘s team having an outside chance of securing third or fourth themselves, it’s shaping up to be a game with a lot at stake.
In terms of results and style of play, Lampard has ticked all the boxes for Chelsea so far this season.
Now he has to do it when it really matters – and, if he can, that will solidify him as the man to lead Chelsea to bigger and better things over the coming years.