The former Blues striker has ruled his old club out of the title race after their disappointing draw with Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge
Chelsea are a “crisis club” according to Chris Sutton, who thinks the Blues’ season is in danger of turning “ugly” under Frank Lampard.
The sense of optimism that surrounded Stamford Bridge at the end of the summer transfer window has been replaced by a growing feeling of unease and frustration in recent weeks.
Chelsea had seemingly thrown their hat in the ring for the title after a 17-match unbeaten run in all competitions, but a 1-0 loss to Everton at Goodison Park on December 12 marked the beginning of a downward spiral.
The Blues could only manage a 1-1 draw with Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge on Monday night, which leaves them trailing league leaders Liverpool by six points having played a game more.
Sutton is worried that Lampard’s position will come under serious threat if he fails to address the team’s recent slide, and believes the title is now out of reach for his old club.
“At the moment, they are a crisis club because they are underperforming,” the former Chelsea striker told BBC Radio Five Live. “They are flat and that’s why Frank needs to get a few wins under his belt and extremely quickly because it can, as we know, turn ugly at Chelsea.
“Whether we like it or not, this is a totally different season for Frank. The pressure is on; he has spent the big money. Now the pressure will build.
“I don’t want to go too early on Chelsea and Frank because if they win three on the spin, they will be up into second place and we’ll be saying ‘can they win the title again?’ and that’s the way it is.
“I don’t think Chelsea can win the title. They have to get back to a way of playing where they really find their rhythm.”
The Blues invested a combined total of £127.5 million ($172m) in the talents of Timo Werner and Kai Havertz earlier this year, but they have failed to produce the same form they showed on a regular basis during their respective spells at RB Leipzig and Bayer Leverkusen.
Sutton says Lampard will continue to be judged harshly if he can’t get a tune out of the German duo, as he added: “Timo Werner has been a massive disappointment and Kai Havertz has been too. When you spend big money, then the pressure is really on for Frank this season – and it wasn’t last season.
“I don’t think Frank has the overall say in the signings policy for Chelsea. I think there would be a transfer committee of sorts. In fairness, Havertz is a young man and a really talented player but we haven’t seen that yet at Chelsea.
“I think Werner has been a bigger disappointment. He has missed some really big opportunities. I know he is capable of playing a number of positions and playing them well, but I just wonder if Werner would rather play as a central striker.”