The Blues are in danger of losing their top-four spot and are continuing to struggle in a winter period following a 1-0 loss to Bournemouth

Ahead of the November international break, Chelsea played out a 4-4 draw against Ajax and, with goals flying in, they must have thought they had replaced Eden Hazard.

But, following Saturday’s shock 1-0 home defeat by lowly Bournemouth, the Blues demonstrated they haven’t yet fully adjusted to life without the Belgium international following the brilliant playmaker’s £88 million summer move to Real Madrid.

Tammy Abraham can’t score all the goals himself and he is becoming increasingly isolated up front as Premier League defences get to grips with him.

Christian Pulisic looked for a while like he had replaced Hazard after scoring five goals in five games before the international break, but he has not netted in the league since, while Abraham has scored just once in the top flight in his last four appearances.

The goals have dried up and Lampard’s side looked bereft of invention or inspiration in the kind of match where Hazard spent seven years unlocking the door.

Michy Batshuayi, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Mateo Kovacic had no impact on the game as substitutes with Lampard chasing the winner, and Eddie Howe’s side got their reward for digging deep late on.

Dan Gosling looped in a goal after Jefferson Lerma headed the ball back into the box from a corner and, after the linesman ruled it wrongly offside, the VAR Simon Hooper corrected the call to create another Bournemouth upset at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea’s bogey team deserved their win at Stamford Bridge after producing a balanced performance even amid injury problems and a run of five consecutive defeats.

Lampard, meanwhile, will be looking at his own problems, with a run of four defeats in five league games since the international break dragging them back into a dogfight for a coveted top-four finish.

That lack of cutting edge in the final third could also have seen them out of the Champions League after they hung on to beat a second-string Lille side 2-1 in midweek.

The display against Bournemouth was similar to the one that saw them lose 1-0 at home to West Ham a fortnight ago and it is another relegation-threatened team that has delivered a cruel blow to Lampard’s young side.

Lampard’s team are becoming predictable in attack and opponents are set up effectively to stop them. The same patterns of play have been read by Premier League managers who have got to grips with Chelsea and their high-energy style is looking underpowered in a busy winter period.

They no longer press with the same intensity and there are too many balls being sloppily wasted. Eight players lost the ball more than 10 times against Bournemouth, despite the Blues often being camped in the opposition half.

Hazard would often come up with the goods and pull that moment of magic out of his pocket but Willian, Mason Mount and Pulisic weren’t able to replicate what the departed hero used to do.

Pulisic at times threatened to produce the spark, but he tired and had to be replaced by Hudson-Odoi, who himself looks low on confidence after struggling to get a start in recent weeks. That impact from the bench is also lacking for Chelsea. 

Lampard looks set to enter the transfer market for a new attacker in January with the likes of Pedro and Olivier Giroud likely to leave. Dortmund’s wonderkid Jadon Sancho and Crystal Palace talisman Wilfried Zaha are both on Lampard’s list and he seems hungry to enter the market.

“I think it will be a bit fluid and discussions will be ongoing from now about where we can strengthen,” Lampard said after his team misfired against West Ham two weeks ago. “Of course, with Eden leaving, we lost a lot of goals and creation in that particular position.

“We’ve missed some chances and we can look at strengthening and pushing and getting more competition in those areas.”

A fifth defeat in 14 home games is starting to affect the atmosphere in west London and the Blues manager said after the latest no-show that it is up to his players to build excitement.

“I’m a Chelsea man and I will be the first one to say the fans were flat today and we needed them,” said Lampard. “I would be the first, but today I’m never going to say that because if I’m a fan sitting there today, I’d also say ‘pfft, too slow’.

“Centre-back to centre-back, full-back to full-back, back to centre-back, back to full-back and I don’t want to come and see that. So I won’t blame the fans, they come here to support the team, they will come to Tottenham next week, they will come to Southampton on Boxing Day and some responsibility is on the players to excite them, to have the personality and the balls to take the ball in an area and beat someone or play forwards.

“That’s up to the players as well, so that’s a joint thing.”

Is something missing at Chelsea? It certainly feels like it and the fact the transfer ban has been lifted means that Lampard would be well within his rights to dream of a big attacking signing in January.

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