Chelsea were bitterly disappointed with their 3-1 defeat at Arsenal on Boxing Day.
Frank Lampard's men have lost serious momentum in their quest for the Premier League title in recent weeks, slumping to three consecutive defeats on the road in England's top-flight.
First came a frustrating loss at Everton with Gylfi Sigurdsson scoring a winner from the spot, before stoppage-time heartbreak struck at Wolverhampton Wanderers after relinquishing a 1-0 lead.
Chelsea poor vs Arsenal
But the Arsenal result will arguably be the most painful of all with the Gunners having entered the game in relegation form and without a win at Emirates Stadium in almost three months.
Nevertheless, Mikel Arteta's men played with swashbuckling style as goals from Alexandre Lacazette, Granit Xhaka and Bukayo Saka fired them into the most unexpected of 3-0 leads.
With two of those strikes transpiring in the first 45 minutes, Lampard decided to ring the changes with Callum Hudson-Odoi and Jorginho taking the place of Timo Werner and Mateo Kovačić.
Lampard furious with defeat
It did bring about some improvements, it must be said, with Tammy Abraham finding the net and Jorginho seeing a penalty denied by Bernd Leno, but Chelsea were left empty-handed regardless.
And to say Lampard wasn't happy with the performance would be the mother of all understatements because he was visibly seething when Sky Sports approached him for a post-match interview.
"I am angry because I want us to win games," Lampard fumed. "It was an opportunity to go second against a team that are having a tough time.
"You either make it difficult for them or you give them a little opening and we did that from minute one and continued for 45 minutes. It was lazy to give away a penalty and lazy to give away a free-kick that he puts in the top corner.
"It wasn't good enough. We fought in the second half but in the first half we gave ourselves too much to do. The players who came on added speed energy and intensity.
"I'll take responsibility on the outside but the players also have to take responsibility. The message was clear - Arsenal are a dangerous team. When you go out and play 60 or 70 per cent then you're not going to win any Premier League games.
"I'm very disappointed how we approached the first half, it's not tactics or systems, it's whether you want to run, back your team-mate up, sprint, or jog? And say 'maybe I don't have to run' - we took that decision instead of the right one."
But Lampard wasn't finished questioning the effort of his players there, later telling talkSPORT: “I can’t defend the first half because they lacked the basics of football.
“The message was clear to the players. It was to be a tough game against a team that’s fighting, a team of quality, a team that would give everything for a London derby.
"Some things you can reflect on in terms of tactics, preparation and all these things but in terms of effort it’s something that just has to be a given in football. The players got it wrong.”
Chelsea must do better
Lampard had every right to be furious because defeat at Arsenal is a result that really underpins how far away Chelsea are from challenging for the Premier League title.
It's a hard fact to swallow when you consider that the Blues made international headlines for loosening their pursestrings to such a fantastical degree this summer.
However, for all the investment from Roman Abramovich, Chelsea are actually worse off for points at the same stage as last season despite the transfer ban and Lampard newly taking over.
No doubt some of the blame will lie at the feet of Lampard, which he readily admits himself, but you can't help feeling that the players really let him down on an evening of Premier League shocks.News Now - Sport News