Frank Lampard is under more pressure than Mikel Arteta, according to Tony Cascarino, who says the Chelsea boss has a "real problem" on his hands after investing £220 million ($298m) in the squad during the summer transfer window.
Chelsea sought to build on a promising fourth place Premier League finish last season by bolstering their ranks in a number of key areas.
Big money was spent on Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Ben Chiwell and Edouard Mendy ahead of the 2020-21 campaign, but Lampard has only had mixed success in trying to gel a new-look team together.
The 42-year-old head coach recieved widespread praise for overseeing a 17-match unbeaten run earlier this term which saw the Blues emerge as potential title contenders while also advancing to the Champions League knockout stages.
However, a 1-0 defeat at Everton on December 12 brought the west London outfit crashing back down to earth, with subsequent losses at Wolves and Arsenal raising question marks over their trophy-winning credentials.
Chelsea have slipped to eighth in the top-flight standings following their recent dip in form, with Cascarino left fearing the worst for Lampard after the 3-1 reversal at Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
Arsenal were being tipped to axe Arteta before he masterminded that London derby victory, but a former Blues striker thinks the man who stood in the opposing dugout is now at greater risk of losing his job than the Spaniard.
“Frank has got a real problem at the football club,” Cascarino told talkSPORT. “I’m not convinced by the people that say Arteta is seriously under pressure; I think Frank is under every bit as much, and even more pressure.
“Think of the history of the club, think of the owner and how he’s sacked people quite confidently, think that he’s spent £220m, think that he’s brought in a young lad from Germany [Havertz] who is not even in the team and struggled, think of Timo Werner where they spent a lot investing and he’s struggled.
“You are under pressure as a Chelsea manager to challenge, because when you are given £220m I guarantee you that conversation before the start of the season would have been, ‘what do you need to challenge Liverpool and Man City?’. That conversation would have happened.”