Everton and Crystal Palace find themselves in two completely opposing situations, with both historic clubs facing different futures based largely on their current managerial appointments. Both teams decided to appoint former Premier League legends with little managerial experience to lead their clubs. One appointment, in his first spell in the Prem, has been a success while the other looks completely lost in the Prem for yet another spell.

Two of the hangerons of the Prem since its creation, Everton and Crystal Palace, have both opted to trust their future in two of the greatest midfielders of the 2000s. Patrick Vieira and Frank Lampard are without a doubt icons of the modern sport, but they’re completely different managers. 

In the summer, Palace appointed Vieira as manager on a three year contract after he was dismissed by OGC Nice in 2020. Many were doubtful that Vieira was at the level to coach this historic Prem side given his lack of success in both the MLS and Ligue 1. Since his appointment, he has completely changed the team and pushed them to a new era of success. 

Photo: Sports Illustrated

This January amidst a growing relegation crisis at the club, Everton chose Lampard as the man to right the sinking ship. Lampard was also met with doubt, as his mixed bag of a time at both Derby County and Chelsea were hardly reassuring to worried Evertonians. Again, he has shown that he is completely out of his depth in the Prem as Everton is still in danger of being relegated.  

Both managers had immense success as players with one world cup, a champions league and six premier league titles between the two of them. However, as managers, they couldn’t be more different with one adapting to the Prem and the other sinking yet again.

Vieira is an icon of both France and Arsenal, one of the best midfielders of his generation who could control a game through his defensive work which led him to be a serial winner. It was interesting to see another London team take a chance on the icon to take on this challenge.

Palace hired Vieira despite his rather unimpressive time in both the MLS and Ligue 1 to help push the club to further heights than Roy Hodgson could have. When he took over NYCFC in 2016, Vieira was able to help the club turn things around by focusing on developing young players. This led the club to move from a “retirement” team to a successful one focusing on development, but he was never able to translate this to MLS playoff success.

At OGC Nice, it seemed as if Vieira was out of his depth, as he struggled in both European and domestic competition with his highest finish in Ligue 1 being 5th. Players like Youcef Atal and Kasper Dolberg both struggled in his formation, as he only had one player score more than 10 goals once . His failures at Nice are only magnified now, as current manager Christophe Galtier has taken a similar side to second. 

Impressive transfers and player development has been one of the hallmarks of Vieira’s time so far, as his formation and tactics have lifted Palace past their expectations. Despite his struggles in other leagues, the Prem seems to be perfect for Vieira as he truly understands this league.

Conor Gallagher has to be the posterboy for Vieira’s success at player development, as he has helped the Chelsea loanee become an exciting creative prospect in the Prem. Tyrick Mitchell has become a national team player and one of the more exciting full back prospects in the Prem . Across his managerial career, he has shown a willingness to develop youth and this has been a success at Palace so far. 

Photo: Crystal Palace

The differences between Hodgson’s side and Vieira’s are night and day, as Vieira has transformed Hodgson’s conservative approach that leaked goals to a competent attack that aims to possess the ball. In just one season, Palace has scored more goals, conceded 30 less so far and seen possession per game jump up 10 percent. This has allowed the team to jump up to 9th so far, as the team has beaten Arsenal, amongst others, and improved five spots so far. 

So far, Vieira has turned Palace from a conservative side that aimed to attack on the counter to a side willing to take the fight to the opponent and control the game. For Palace fans, Vieira’s tenure thus far has been exciting and clearly shows a club that is on the rise.

Lampard, on the other hand, has been a failure across his time in the Prem whether it’s his time at Chelsea or Everton now. Despite being one of the league’s greatest players ever, Lampard seems out of touch with the Prem and is more willing to blame players than himself.

In a desperate attempt to avoid relegation, Everton appointed Frank Lampard as manager along with signings Dele Alli and Donny van de Beek. Lampard’s time at Derby County was a disappointment for Derby fans, as he was unable to help the club to promotion. One of the best things he did there was help Mason Mount develop into a starting caliber player and an exciting prospect.  

Returning to the club where he became a legend, fans were excited to see what Lampard could do with a talented side that had just won the Europa League. His first season was promising with a fourth place finish, but he quickly fell out of favor as results got worse with a more talented team in 2021. Just to show how much he was holding back Chelsea, his replacement Thomas Tuchel won the Champions League at the end of the season.   

From an inability to adapt to the Prem to the refusal to blame anyone but himself, Lampard’s time at Everton has so far been an embarrassment. It’s almost a sure thing that he will not see out the entirety of the contract the club gave him.

He has only won 2 Premier League games so far, as the club has leaked 14 goals and scored just 6 goals, with new transfers Dele Alli and van de Beek being misused. Striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin has struggled with Richarlison looking awful on the wing. The construction of the midfield has been awful with center back Mason Holgate being used there, looking totally out of place with no support from other midfielders.  

Photo: Getty

In a press conference following yet another loss, to Crystal Palace in a very interesting coincidence, Lampard attacked his players for, what he perceived, as a lack of care. Criticizing your own players is a gamble that never really works out, as it usually turns the locker room against you. He still hasn’t stopped blaming other circumstances, as he’s now using the  schedule as a crutch for his own failures.

With Everton falling closer and closer to relegation, it’s clear that another club has failed with the Frank Lampard gamble, but this one may perhaps have the worst consequences. The issue for Lampard seems to be that he took the step to the Prem way too early and he’s unable to adapt to the nature of the Prem.

As the Premier League reaches its final stage, Everton and Crystal Palace find themselves in totally differing circumstances with Everton close to relegation and Palace entering a new era. Vieira has shown potential to be a top manager in the Prem while Lampard is continuing to fail in the Prem and should spend time learning in the Championship. Two icons of the league are now rewriting their legacies with one ascending to new heights and the other falling to lower depths.


Featured image: Getty

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