Premier League English

Frank Lampard expresses confidence in Mikel Arteta ahead of Arsenal vs Chelsea clash

Frank Lampard has hinted it would be premature of the club to sack the under-fire Arsenal boss and is confident that Mikel Arteta himself believes it is only a matter of time before the Gunners boss reverses Arsenal’s fortunes.

The Spaniard is now in the hot seat, clinging to his job only just four months after having brilliantly masterminded Arsenal’s FA Cup triumph against Chelsea at Wembley.

The Gunners are just four points above the relegation zone ahead of Saturday’s Boxing Derby against the Blues who are still hopeful of mounting a title challenge.

Chelsea bounced back from consecutive defeats against Everton and Wolves to get their campaign back on track with a win over West Ham but Lampard expects a real test of his side’s credentials against an Arsenal side who he believes are in a false position at present.

He told Sky Sports:

‘Expectations are higher at clubs like the ones we are both managing, but I don’t think it’s a case of him being a young manager.

‘I see him as a very talented manager, and we’ve seen examples of clubs who have built really strong squads over the last three or four years.

‘The dominant teams over that period, Manchester City and Liverpool, have had time to work and improve the squad.

‘They went through tough moments, and they were given time to improve through those moments. It’s only then that you really learn about players, the team and the squad as a whole. I’m not talking specifically about Mikel here, but just generally in the Premier League.

‘If you come into a club that’s going through a period of certain transition, I think it’s very understandable there will be lots of situations and work that you need to do in order to get the club where you want it to be. It’s not all rosy as that’s not football.

‘That’s not to do with the manager. I think Mikel is a highly talented coach and manager, and his team are really just going through a recent patch of difficult form.

‘That’s very commonplace in the Premier League as it’s a very tough league. I’ve got huge respect for Mikel and for Arsenal. They have a quality set of players and that’s the team I’m preparing for on Boxing Day.’