Frank Lampard’s April To Forget
It has been a desperate return to Chelsea for Frank Lampard. He has lost all five games he’s managed since Todd Boehly made the decision to sack Graham Potter and recall the man who had already been the manager from July 2019 until January 2021.
How bad has it gotten? Well, they didn’t win a game in April and haven’t won since their win over Leicester on 11 March. To be fair to Lampard, he only took over two games into April so the 2-0 loss to Aston Villa and the 0-0 draw with Liverpool can’t be put on him.
There are 98 teams across the top five European leagues. Between league football, domestic cup competitions and European football they played 475 matches in April. There were 660 goals scored during those games.
Chelsea accounted for one of them.
That’s the same number as Elche, who have 13 points at the bottom of La Liga, and are 19 points adrift of safety. Empoli are the only other team to score the same number as Chelsea this month.
Chelsea are bottom of the table in terms of goals scored in April but they are 16 of 98 in expected goals (9.84). They are eighth in total shots with 101. The worrying thing is that only four teams played more games than they did (seven).
With April in the books, they will look to May and breathe a sigh of relief to see the back of this horrendous season. But they play Arsenal, Manchester City, Manchester United and Newcastle in four of their last six games.
Real Madrid scored 22 goals in April, that’s the most along with Manchester City. Todd Boehly’s Gálactico era is just getting started but it’s hard to think how it could be going worse.
Barcelona Chasing Defensive Immortality
Barcelona are all but confirmed as champions of La Liga. They were beaten 2-1 by Rayo Vallecano on Wednesday night but Real Madrid were trounced 4-2 the night before by Girona. Barcelona picked up a valuable three points at the weekend against Atlético and have a nice cushion of 11 points with seven games to play.
The question for them now is can they beat the all-time record for fewest goals conceded in La Liga. The current record is held by both Deportivo la Coruña and Atlético Madrid (in a 38-game season). Both those sides conceded just 18 goals. Barcelona have conceded 11 with seven games to play.
Barcelona are conceding just 0.35 goals per game so far. It would stand to reason then that they are on course to beat the record by a healthy margin. They are, of course, outperforming their xG against through the season too though and the two goals they conceded against Rayo were both uncharacteristic of them but also more in line with what their xG against tally tells us.
It has been a long season for Barcelona with a group-stage elimination in the Champions League and another elimination in the Europa League against Manchester United.
Their upcoming games against Real Betis, Osasuna (who are in a Copa del Rey final) and Real Sociedad along with a city derby against Espanyol will test their pulse for sure. But they have the seventh easiest run in.
The record for fewest goals conceded by a Barcelona team came during Pep Guardiola and Luis Enrique’s tenures in 2011 and 2015 when they conceded 21. Both of those managers believed attack was the best form of defense. Xavi has been defending a little more than he might like during his first full season in charge but it turns out defense is a pretty good form of defense too.