Poor Frank. He couldn’t quite make it to his one-year anniversary as Everton boss.
The Toffees’ 2-0 loss at West Ham proved to be fatal for the former England midfielder as the Merseyside club opted to part ways with Rafa Benitez’s successor.
Lampard had initially shown promise at Goodison Park by guiding Everton to safety last season, but sub-par attacking recruitment in the summer left him short-handed going into the 2022/23 season. For many, it was no surprise that the Toffees struggled under Lampard this term. Based on the evidence we’ve seen so far, there’s little to suggest that he’s capable of managing at the highest level.
Lampard oversaw a dire run of form leading up to his departure, with Everton currently languishing at the foot of the Premier League table.
But, as we’ve already noted, there was initial promise. So where did it go wrong for Lampard on Merseyside?
Richarlison was the spiritual hub of the Toffees last season and, more significantly, he scored goals.
Now, the Brazilian was hardly prolific during his time on Merseyside, but he was Everton’s leading scorer in 2021/22 and he bagged some massive goals down the stretch as they just about avoided relegation.
Thus, it was no surprise that clubs came calling in the summer and Antonio Conte’s Tottenham made Everton an offer they simply couldn’t refuse. Spurs completed the £60m purchase of Richarlison at the start of July, giving the Toffees ample time to secure a replacement.
However, all they could muster was Neal Maupay: the most inefficient forward on planet Earth. The Frenchman has since scored once in 13 Premier League appearances for Everton, with the Toffees struggling mightily to score goals during the first half of the season.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin is a shell of the player he was once was with injuries continuing to take their toll. He, too, has scored just one league goal this term with Everton scoring 15 in total – the second-worst record in the division.
A lot of anger from Everton fans has been directed at the board rather than at the manager.
Those upstairs have failed the club in recent years, often rendering Goodison Park a toxic environment. Their recruitment has been dire for far too long, while their recent managerial appointments have come under heavy scrutiny. Rafa Benitez, really?
Thus, Everton has evolved into somewhat of a poisoned chalice and Lampard’s task of rebuilding the club was always going to be tricky. There have been false dawns, like the start of Carlo Ancelotti’s era with James Rodriguez running the show, but nothing of any substance since Roberto Martinez’s first season at the club.
It’s a miserable place to be right now and while Lampard perhaps never boasted the coaching capabilities to steady the ship, he was walking into an awfully challenging situation.
Everton appeared to have made a couple of smart – and necessary – defensive signings in the summer when they brought in Conor Coady and James Tarkowski from Wolves and Burnley respectively.
The two have performed pretty well at the back for the Toffees this season, adding a bit a steel to a previously vulnerable backline. Everton conceded the fifth-most goals in the Premier League season, but despite their qualitative improvements at centre-half, their defensive record has only slightly improved.
They were conceding an average of 1.73 goals a game last season, now they’re conceding 1.4.
Lampard’s Everton simply don’t enough exert pressure without the ball and they can easily be penned in. Teams are able to sustain pressure at will at times, with Jordan Pickford often facing a barrage of shots. Their expected goals against this season is 35 – the second-worst record in the league.
It was unsustainable.