Frank Lampard backs Kurt Zouma to be ‘very important’ for Chelsea this season


Newcastle vs Chelsea

Chelsea are set to return to action on Saturday afternoon.

The Blues’ will kick off week nine of the 2020/21 Premier League season away to Newcastle United in Saturday’s early tie.

Chelsea head into the game on the back of a fine spell of form, which has seen them go unbeaten in eight outings across all competitions.

The Londoners’ defensive record has also improved markedly over recent weeks, with Frank Lampard’s side conceding just once in their last six ties.

As for Newcastle, they are currently 13th in the league after a rather inconsistent start to the campaign in which they have won three, lost three and drawn two in the Premier League this term.

LONDON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 09: Frank Lampard, Manager of Chelsea gives his team instructions during the Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge on November 09, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Lampard on Zouma

Ahead of his side’s return to action, Frank Lampard spoke to the media on Thursday.

The Chelsea boss discussed a number of topics in his pre-Newcastle presser, including Kurt Zouma.

The Frenchman has been a mainstay in Chelsea’s backline this term, missing just one league game, in which the Londoners shipped three goals vs West Brom.

And as well as playing a big role in Chelsea’s defensive resurgence, Zouma has been chipping in at the other end as well, scoring three goals in seven league ties.

All of Zouma’s goals have come from corners this campaign, with his aerial presence extremely important both offensively and defensively.

And when drawn on the fact that Zouma has won more aerial duels than any player in Europe’s top 10 leagues this season during his Newcastle presser, Lampard was full of praise for the stopper:

“I saw that stat and I am not surprised. It is a fantastic stat and the level he is at, he will be very important for us and he has been very important for us this season at both ends of the pitch.

“It is something we looked at in the off season, we could have been better at times, certainly in terms of defending our own box.

“That’s the standard we need to keep. There are reasons we have had a decent run of clean sheets and not conceding many goals and Kurt is a factor in it.

“He has been a big part of that, every centre back and player in our team need to be switched onto the aerial threat against teams with individuals who can be dangerous in games.”

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 Leicester City FC 8 9 18
2 Tottenham Hotspur FC 8 10 17
3 Liverpool FC 8 2 17
4 Southampton FC 8 4 16
5 Chelsea FC 8 10 15
6 Aston Villa FC 7 9 15
7 Everton FC 8 2 13
8 Crystal Palace FC 8 0 13
9 Wolverhampton Wanderers FC 8 -1 13
10 Manchester City FC 7 1 12
11 Arsenal FC 8 -1 12
12 West Ham United FC 8 4 11
13 Newcastle United FC 8 -3 11
14 Manchester United FC 7 -2 10
15 Leeds United 8 -3 10
16 Brighton & Hove Albion FC 8 -3 6
17 Fulham FC 8 -8 4
18 West Bromwich Albion 8 -11 3
19 Burnley FC 7 -9 2
20 Sheffield United FC 8 -10 1
Player Team Goals
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur FC 8
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City FC 8
Calvert-Lewin, Dominic Everton FC 8
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 8
Kane, Harry Tottenham Hotspur FC 7
Bamford, Patrick Leeds United 7
Wilson, Callum Newcastle United FC 6
Watkins, Ollie Aston Villa FC 6
Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United FC 5
Zaha, Wilfried Crystal Palace FC 5
Ings, Danny Southampton FC 5
Grealish, Jack Aston Villa FC 4
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 4
Werner, Timo Chelsea FC 4
Maupay, Neal Brighton & Hove Albion FC 4
Jimenez, Raul Wolverhampton Wanderers FC 4
Rodriguez, James Everton FC 3
Jorginho Chelsea FC 3
Adams, Che Southampton FC 3
Ward-Prowse, James Southampton FC 3