Jump to content
Join Talk Chelsea and join in with the discussions! Click Here

Inspirational Lampard fires Blues towards title charge


BlueLion.

Recommended Posts

Considering their early-season procession, it will be of little surprise to most that suddenly, from out of nowhere, Chelsea are back in for the Premier League title.

Rafael Benitez has quietly steadied the sinking Stamford Bridge ship. Grudgingly admire him or absolutely detest the man - whilst it is not quite Viva la Rafalución!, the Spaniard has most definitely made Chelsea that little more.. well, Chelsea-ish. Difficult to beat thanks to a miserly defence as well as ruthlessly clinical in front of goal, it might not be the flowing football that heralded such a positive start to the season, but more importantly, Rafael Benitez has brought about a return of winning football.

His formula for success is quite a simple one, and it is something that perplexes many. The Blues have invested heavily in flair - Juan Mata, Oscar and Eden Hazard being the foremost examples of an inherent desire to play the Barcelona brand of tika-taka - and yet their recent results have been borne out of reverting to a slightly-more-boring yet effective, direct style. It has brought something resembling the best out of Fernando Torres in a goalscoring sense at least, at the same time as fixing the dripping tap that was the Blues rearguard in the latter di Matteo days. Torres seems that little bit more lively and considerably less afraid to shoot, whilst Petr Cech is picking the ball out of the back of the net a markedly reduced amount.

Benitez will never be accepted for his scathing comments in the past, yet the cries of 'RAFA OUT!' are not quite so vehement. 'We don't care about Rafa, and he don't care about us. All we care about is Chelsea FC'. Maybe, just maybe, people are coming to terms with things, and this string of six wins in seven in all competitions has gone some way towards vindicating Benitez' appointment. It isn't quite a case of forgive and forget for Chelsea supporters in regards to the Spaniard. In fact, forgiveness seems most unlikely and the Blues faithful will not forget his past comments that Chelsea are an entirely soulless club, and Frank Lampard is overrated. Yet today's win at Goodison Park distilled both of those misconceptions; the Blues showed commendable guts to come from behind to defeat a team previously unbeaten at home since March, and they were inspired in the act by a many supposedly deemed surplus to requirements.

Wearing the armband, Lampard epitomised the Blues' performance. Granted they started horrifically - Steven Pienaar's goal inside 62 seconds was the deserving reward to Everton's dominance in the opening exchanges - but Chelsea rallied around their stand-in skipper in what must be the clearest message yet to Roman Abramovich. Lampard, out of contract in the summer, not only scored the goals that propelled Chelsea to within four points of second-placed Manchester City (and with a game in hand on those above them), but also embodied the belief and determination to see Chelsea past this tremendously difficult task.

Beating Everton has become something of a luxury in recent times, let alone away from home. For their last league win at Goodison, you would have to go back six years to December 2006 when Didier Drogba gave the Blues an incredible, last-gap win. Everton typically end the season well, but this time round they broken the habit of a sluggish start and began the season emphatically.In 2012 only the two Manchester sides have taken more Premier League points than the Toffees. From their lofty position of fifth, David Moyes' men would prove to be the toughest challenge of Chelsea's credentials under Benitez.

The home side began well - in fact, they began superbly. The intense scrutiny under which they placed a John Terry-less Chelsea defence was considerable, and Benitez' men did well to keep the arrears to a single goal. It took a mixture of magnificent goalkeeping and the width of the post to achieve that small victory, however; Petr Cech had to make two very good saves from first Osman and then Jelavic, whilst the latter also kissed the woodwork with a delightful free-kick in the eighth minute.

Chelsea rallied. The final ten minutes of the first half marked a considerable improvement in their play, and a warranted equaliser came when Ramires scooped a cross to the far post for Lampard to head across the goalkeeper; the ball nestling in the side netting.

It truly begs belief that a man who would go on to score his 192nd goal for the club later in the match should be allowed to leave on a free in the summer. The same applies to Ashley Cole, who put in a similarly impressive performance. With Terry absent, stalwarts like Essien and Drogba having moved on, and Mikel crucially missing in the midfield, the onus was on the likes of the England duo to step up to the fore. You could count on one hand the number of times that Cole was beaten out on the left, and those moments came only during a period that the Blues were well and truly second-fiddle in most aspects.

Both Cole and Lampard look certain to leave - Benitez has confirmed as much. People have earmarked the summer as potential departure dates, yet let us not forget that the club may cash in on the duo in January to prevent them leaving for nothing. How do you replace a player like Frank Lampard? Simply put, you can't. The man is a striker and a midfielder in one; a player that has revolutionised the attacking midfield position. He may be slower than he once was, and his deeper position may limit his goalscoring prowess, but his experience is irreplaceable. Cole, considered the best left-back in the world, is of similar importance. Whilst Ryan Bertrand has been touted to be a natural successor, the gulf in class is immense. That is no slight on the talented young man, but more a reflection of Cole's brilliance.

Yet what this does is only highlight the insanity of the powers that be at Chelsea. Didier Drogba left the club as a European Cup winner and the talisman of the team for the best part of eight years. Yet he was not given the contract he wanted. The same applied to Michael Ballack and Joe Cole before him. Drogba is still regarded as one of the best centre-forwards in the game, and many view his move to China as a form of premature retirement when he could still grace the majority of the top teams in European football. The situation involving Lampard and Cole is of the same ilk. The pair are still class players, yet you cannot see Abramovich back-tracking on his policy; a policy that is simply madness.

As for Chelsea's title challenge - well, you can't really count the European Champions out of it, can you? There is quality all over the pitch, and considerable experience. Not just match experience, but trophy-winning experience. Such an asset is unquantifiable as the old codgers over at Old Trafford would suggest. Even when Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes are not deployed on their mobility scooters, the pair are powerful dressing room influences on the young talent coming through the United ranks.

When you consider the two teams Chelsea are up against, you can see reasons to believe. United's luck has to run out soon. Surely. Actually, scrap that. Not whilst referees are quaking in their boots as far as Sir Alex is concerned. Yet they are bound to drop points, as their reliance on Robin van Persie infers. The Dutchman carried Arsenal for two seasons, it would seem the same applies to his new team. United, in 2010/11, won the title with their weakest-ever side; they have barely improved since. Losing out last season merely by goal difference offers an unfair reflection of their inferiority when compared to their European Cup-winning side of 2008. Frankly, they lack the quality of their cross-town rivals.

City themselves now command far greater respect from sides. Teams are more prone to setting up to defend against them, as Sunderland so effectively did on Boxing Day. At the same time, managers have figured them out. Even with the host of attacking talent Roberto Mancini has at his disposal, his own inability to decide on what is his strongest eleven is to his club's detriment. City are not the force people bill them as, and they are a side weighed down by a considerable quantity of dressing room egos. There is also a serious genetic fault in the City ideology. Even when 3-0 up, there seems to be a feeling of inevitable capitulation, inflicted by a 44-year-wait for a league title. After almost imploding and losing out on the title last term, there are fears that Mancini's men might become victims of their own success, after barely managing to shake off their title of being the great chokers of English football. When it comes to squeaky-bum-time, both Chelsea and United definitely have an edge.

What the Blues' win at Goodison shows is a resoluteness that goes beyond sheer defiance and stubbornness It is a sign of a desire to win, and win against the odds. Do not underestimate the magnitude of this result. This game is all about momentum and that is what Chelsea now have in abundance. The major asset in the Blues' favour is the surprising lack of expectation that revolves around them nowadays. There is no pressure to exceed, except perhaps from within, and the heat is firmly on the current league leaders and the defending champions. You can almost hear the pundits eating their hats - this isn't a two-horse-race after all.

Frank Lampard's brace highlights his importance to Chelsea Football Club, and whatever the outcome is of his contract situation, it belies belief that the club would even consider allowing a player of such class and commitment to leave in the summer.

You never really can rule Chelsea out of anything. The Blues clawed their way back into title contention in 2010/11 from a similar deficit, and it can be done again. Reinforcements will no doubt arrive in January, spearheaded by the (alleged) impending signing of Demba Ba from Newcastle. Let us remember that with a win in our as yet unscheduled game-in-hand at Stamford Bridge against Southampton, the Blues can go within eight points of top spot and a point off second.

And do I really have to remind people about Munich? Keep the faith.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How do you replace a player like Frank Lampard? Simply put, you can't. The man is a striker and a midfielder in one; a player that has revolutionised the attacking midfield position.

Juan Mata is on course for a 25 goal/30 assist season. Statistically that's better than any of Lampard's season and more than 3 times as productive as Lampard's season at the same age.

(Eden Hazard is on course for 30 assists too with 10 goals although I think he'll kick on in the new year).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How do you replace a player like Frank Lampard? Simply put, you can't. The man is a striker and a midfielder in one; a player that has revolutionised the attacking midfield position.

Juan Mata is on course for a 25 goal/30 assist season. Statistically that's better than any of Lampard's season and more than 3 times as productive as Lampard's season at the same age.

(Eden Hazard is on course for 30 assists too with 10 goals although I think he'll kick on in the new year).

just hope Juan can do it for as long as Frank has done

Link to comment
Share on other sites

just hope Juan can do it for as long as Frank has done

Actually Juan is doing it at an earlier age than Frank, whilst offering more to the team in terms of assists.

Lamps is a great player, arguably the greatest we've ever had, but we have to move on at some point and despite the despondency of some on here were actually seemed to have done it.

He's also scoring some of the important goals that Lamps made his trademark - the goals at Tottenham, the winner against Arsenal, the equaliser at Leeds, the winner against Norwich, the opener against West Ham.

How do we replace Lamps? Maybe we just open our eyes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Actually Juan is doing it at an earlier age than Frank, whilst offering more to the team in terms of assists.

Lamps is a great player, arguably the greatest we've ever had, but we have to move on at some point and despite the despondency of some on here were actually seemed to have done it.

He's also scoring some of the important goals that Lamps made his trademark - the goals at Tottenham, the winner against Arsenal, the equaliser at Leeds, the winner against Norwich, the opener against West Ham.

How do we replace Lamps? Maybe we just open our eyes.

Perhaps we should close our eyes and PRAY. Im not knocking Mata but you seem to be damning Lampard with faint praise/

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Perhaps we should close our eyes and PRAY. Im not knocking Mata but you seem to be damning Lampard with faint praise/

By saying he's arguably the greatest Chelsea player ever? By saying that Mata, who is having a fantastic season and is probably one of the top 3 players this season, is replacing a lot of what he brought to the team?

Lampard will leave Chelsea at some point. We're not simply going to turn the lights off and board up the windows. We'll move on, and by the looks of things we've made a decent start in that process.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I will leave you to argue with others on the Lampard thread . I was critical of Lampard at one stage of last season but I am amazed anyone would not

want to see him kept considering his form this season ,,,,but seems you are convinced ,,,

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I will leave you to argue with others on the Lampard thread . I was critical of Lampard at one stage of last season but I am amazed anyone would not

want to see him kept considering his form this season ,,,,but seems you are convinced ,,,

I'm not convinced, I'm just saying that I can see it from both sides and that we need to look at every factor.

Although the discussion in that thread is some 'Chelsea supporter' calling me a paedophile. You've been around the Bridge longer than me - did you come across the type of thing in the 60s and 70s?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not convinced, I'm just saying that I can see it from both sides and that we need to look at every factor.

Although the discussion in that thread is some 'Chelsea supporter' calling me a paedophile. You've been around the Bridge longer than me - did you come across the type of thing in the 60s and 70s?

no we called those we disagreed with plonkers ....I know how vile that peadophile insult is ... I have seen it used on here before

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not convinced, I'm just saying that I can see it from both sides and that we need to look at every factor.

Although the discussion in that thread is some 'Chelsea supporter' calling me a paedophile. You've been around the Bridge longer than me - did you come across the type of thing in the 60s and 70s?

Mate, with the way that you are blowing a cheeky stab at your rather radical beliefs in the ideal age of the squad completely out of proportion - you're basically calling yourself a paedophile at this point.

However please do continue parading around the forum announcing this; I would be lying if I said it isn't absolutely hilarious.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...