Frank Lampard's programme notes could come back to haunt him as Everton reality clear

Daily Mirror 12 days ago

Frank Lampard's Everton lost 1-0 to Premier League rivals Chelsea at Goodison Park on Saturday evening, with defender Ben Godfrey suffering a broken leg early on

Writing to the Goodison Park faithful in his programme notes, Frank Lampard said it remains an “honour” and a “privilege” to manage Everton Football Club.

Which it is, of course. But even though the season is only a single narrow defeat-old - and that against a team expected to challenge the Big Two - it is clear with Lampard’s honour and privilege will come struggle and strife.

Without a conventional striker for this contest, he will now be without a couple of key defenders for a period of time. When Yerry Mina hobbled off during the second half - at least looking in far, far less distress than poor Ben Godfrey had done in the first half - no wonder Lampard threw out his arms in exasperation.

Losing to a Jorginho penalty is no disgrace but this loss came at a cost greater than three points. It is that contract-signing time of the year when footballers’ riches are in the spotlight. And in the current economic climate, lavish remuneration is put into even starker focus. But however grand their rewards, it can be a tough profession.

Ask Godfrey, who worked so hard to get himself fit over the summer after missing the final seven games of last season. Now, he faces a long spell on the rehabilitation treadmill after a freakish set of circumstances led to what looked like a serious injury.

You can point the finger at Godfrey himself for a wayward back-pass, you can point the finger at the assistant referee for not flagging when the ball clearly went out, you can point the finger at referee Craig Pawson because every man, woman and child inside Goodison Park could see it had gone for a corner.

Jorginho's penalty was enough to give Chelsea all three points against Everton on Saturday
Jorginho's penalty was enough to give Chelsea all three points against Everton on Saturday

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But, in the end, it was just cruel luck that Godfrey’s tackle on Kai Havertz - in possession after Jordan Pickford kept the ball ‘in’ - resulted in his foot and leg getting so horribly twisted in the turf.

The process of treatment and getting Godfrey on a stretcher lengthened a first half that, in truth, never really got going until Jorginho scored in stoppage time after Abdoulaye Doucoure’s inexplicable hands-on challenge on Ben Chilwell.

Ahead of the game, Tuchel claimed this was a “team in transition”, presumably referring to the fact it has gone from being owned by one billionaire who likes to buy footballers to another.

And the two summer recruits who started this match acquitted themselves half-decently although Raheem Sterling had one effort disallowed for offside and Kalidou Koulibaly - who is not averse to a surge upfield, by the way - was lucky to escape a yellow card on a couple of occasions.

Koulibaly will become a crowd favourite, that is for sure. He certainly earned the appreciation of Tuchel, who must have been highly satisfied with the work ethic, if not the performance, of his team.

There had been suggestions towards the end of the last campaign that N’Golo Kante might leave Stamford Bridge such was the surfeit of midfielders at the club. This performance made those ideas look utterly ridiculous, with the old ground-covering gags never looking more relevant. At one point, he broke up a three-man Everton attack on his own.

That was a notable intervention because there were not too many three-man Everton attacks. With Dominic Calvert-Lewin injured and Richardson sold, it was left to Anthony Gordon to act as a makeshift false nine … or something like that.

The youngster did an admirable job but Lampard will need striking reinforcements before the window closes. In fact, he will need reinforcements, full stop.

Chelsea were reduced to time-wasting and the home side had a couple of half-chances to scrape a point. But after one match, you can safely say that there will be times this season when managing Everton is not always going to feel like an honour and privilege for Frank Lampard.