Frank Lampard, the caretaker manager of Chelsea, has indicated that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang may get more playing time before the season’s end, as he brings a different dimension to the team’s attacking options.
Lampard has been unable to reverse Chelsea’s alarming form at Stamford Bridge, losing all five games since taking over from Graham Potter on a temporary basis. During this period, Chelsea have only managed to score one goal and conceded nine, highlighting their struggles since Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital took control and authorized a major spending spree.
One of Chelsea’s key problems has been their lack of presence upfront, with Kai Havertz mainly playing as the center forward despite not being a natural in that position, and understudy Armando Broja sidelined due to injury. Although Joao Felix and Raheem Sterling have filled in upfront during their loan spells, neither player is natural in that position and would prefer to drift inside from wide positions.
Despite Aubameyang being on Chelsea’s books since September, the 33-year-old forward has not been given many opportunities to play, having been frozen out under Potter and left out of the club’s Champions League squad. However, Lampard’s recent comments suggest that Aubameyang may get more chances to showcase his talents.
“With Auba, in a short period, it’s been hard for me to gauge that [physical level] but when you see him come on against Brentford you see the different feeling of the team,” Lampard said of Aubameyang.
“So I think one thing’s for sure, as I said before, he’s a very high-level player, but clearly in a situation where he’s maybe not at his freshest and sharpest.
“I will want a number nine that I can play off and that we can rely on – it’s not ideal for me to ask Raheem [Sterling] and Joao Felix to play in that number nine. We had to in games against Real Madrid because Kai [Havertz] was missing in one of them.
“So there’s a lot of things that you have to put together and I don’t think the solution is always as easy as, ‘here’s a number nine, I have to see if they’re ready or not to play.’”
Aubameyang has played just 501 minutes of Premier League football since returning to England – five and a half full games worth. He has scored one goal in that time, on his debut in the 2-1 win at Crystal Palace in September.