Frank Lampard admits he was outmanoeuvred by new Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta on Sunday before Chelsea staged a dramatic late turnaround to beat the Gunners 2-1.
The Blues were blown away by a resurgent Arsenal in the opening 30 minutes at the Emirates, but still managed to snatch an unlikely victory despite being second-best for much of the game.
Jorginho capitalised on a goalkeeping howler from Bernd Leno in the 83rd-minute to cancel out Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s opener, before Tammy Abraham completely turned the tables four minutes later with a smart finish.
Before their collapse, however, Arsenal were dominant and Lampard was forced to change his system entirely.
He hauled off Emerson in the 34th minute, reverting to a back four, and even introduced 19-year-old Tariq Lamptey for his first-team debut in search of a spark.
Chelsea might’ve ruined Arteta’s home debut, but Lampard has no doubts the new Gunners boss will be a huge success at the Emirates.
When asked why his three-at-the-back system didn’t work, he told talkSPORT: “It was the best thing ever last week! That’s football. I don’t want us to be predictable.
“I’m sure Arteta, who is obviously going to be a top manager at this club, watched us against Tottenham, tried to find ways to negate it, make us have too many people at the back, get control of the game, and they did that.
“We need to be flexible and be able to change. We’ll go on like that.”
Lampard insisted it was a change in mentality rather than tactics that helped Chelsea turn the tables on the Gunners, however, praising his players for eventually finding their bite.
“No I don’t think we got it wrong tactically at the start,” said Lampard. “It wasn’t so much the tactics, it was the spirit and the fight of the team.
“They were quicker, and we were lethargic initially.
“Sometimes it has to be a gesture with a change. And then after the changes we got better.
“It wasn’t so much the three at the back, but then again, Mikel Arteta isn’t silly; they found a way to pin our five back, and so I had to change.
“After I’d spoken (at half-time) the lads started talking and it was a bit aggressive, which was a good thing.
“And the reaction was everything I wanted. We’ve been rightly questioned recently.
“We were quiet in the dressing room after the Everton defeat and I didn’t like it. And in the home games we’ve been lacking something.
“It’s not a turning point, but we showed we can have a right go and win a game in a different way.”