Just when Chelsea fans think that a miserable campaign cannot get any worse, the Blues manage to crash through the ground and plummet to new depths.
Wednesday’s 2-0 defeat to Brentford at Stamford Bridge marked the first time Chelsea have lost five games in a row in all competitions in 30 years.
All five losses have come under club legend Frank Lampard, who returned for a second spell as manager on 3 April.
The 44-year-old had already claimed the unwanted record of becoming the first Chelsea manager in the club’s 118-year history to lose his first four games in charge with last week’s Champions League loss to Real Madrid.
That loss, though, was against one of the best sides in Europe. On Wednesday they faced a Brentford team who are in only their second-ever season in the Premier League and had not won in six games prior to the trip to Stamford Bridge.
Lampard is Chelsea’s third manager this season, after Thomas Tuchel and Graham Potter, and the fans’ frustrations at an expensively assembled squad losing while once again barely laying a glove on their opponent was apparent as the few still in Stamford Bridge at full-time greeted the whistle with boos.
“I’ve no problem with that, completely understand it,” Lampard told BBC Sport, of the Chelsea supporters making their feelings known.
“I know these fans very well and they stick by their team. They feel down because they are used to success and they want that success all the time as we all do. I absolutely understand it, we as players and staff have to take it on the chin because they want results.
“I can say to the fans now that the players are showing application. Brentford had one shot on target and scored two goals, that kind of says it all.”
Chelsea looked better when striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang came on at half-time but the Blues have now failed to score in six of their last seven games
There’s no doubt that there was more than a slice of luck about the away side’s first-half opener.
Brentford, always a danger from set-pieces, won a corner, which was flicked on by Mathias Jorgensen and the ball deflected off Cesar Azpilicueta’s shoulder to land in the back of the net.
The Bees’ second, scored late in the second half by Bryan Mbeumo, came from their only shot on target.
But it is now seven games played in the month of April for Chelsea and they have scored just one goal. Such little attacking threat means their opponents are always going to have a strong chance of taking victory.
“This is not a sob story but everything is going against us,” Lampard, Chelsea’s all-time top scorer, told BT Sport after the game.
“We would love a magic wand, a magic moment. It doesn’t come in football because the Premier League moves so fast, it’s competitive.”
Wrong man at the wrong time?
While Lampard has taken over a side that has long been in a malaise, his terrible start at the Blues continues his own alarming slump as a manager.
Including his time with Everton, where he was sacked on 23 January, he has now lost nine of his last 10 league games, including each of his last six.
Since he joined the Toffees in February 2022, no manager has lost more games than his 24.
Lampard is contracted to Chelsea until the end of the season and former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has been strongly linked with taking over at Stamford Bridge.
For ex-Premier League goalkeeper Shay Given, the uncertainty off the pitch cannot be helping matters on it.
“It seems a bit of a mess with what’s happening off the pitch and talk in the media that Pochettino could be in by the end of the week,” Given told BBC Radio 5 live.
“Where does that leave Frank [Lampard]? Where does that leave the players? It causes confusion and the players don’t know where they stand. The owner has to take a bit of the blame too.”
A finish in the top half of the table is all Chelsea really have to aim for – they are currently 11th and six points behind Fulham in 10th with six games remaining.
But even that could be difficult with a trip to Arsenal up next for the Blues, who have also to face Manchester City, Manchester United and Newcastle.
After that, whoever is tasked with taking Chelsea forward will oversee a huge summer for the club as they look to try and get challenging at the top end of the table once again.