DEFENSIVE LAMPARD: A different role but just as effective.
Has anybody else noticed what has happened to Frank Lampard in the last two months and ever since Roberto Di Matteo has taken over at the club?
Understated but more than effective, Frank Lampard has been outstanding and for me he hasn't got enough praise for his new role in Robbie Di Matteo's new Chelsea formation.
Now we all know Frank and the way he has played at Chelsea over the years. Always looking to break forward from midfield and making his customary late runs into the box, Lampard's goal scoring record from midfield will never ever be surpassed and is hugely under rated.
However, in order to remain part of the new formation that Robbie wants us to play, Lampard has been asked to play a much deeper role and I believe the role he is playing now could prolong his Chelsea career even further.
How many times in the last two months have you seen Frank making a late run into the box? How many times has Lampard scored? You'll notice a difference.
Playing the 4-2-3-1 formation, Lampard has been asked to sit in front of the back four mainly, next to Mikel. In doing so, this has allowed Juan Mata to play in front of him and behind the striker and the Spaniard has become The Ringmaster for Chelsea.
Think about it, it must have been difficult to adjust and to be asked to sit more rather then to get forward as much. It's been like second nature for him for so long.
To his credit, Lampard has done it without any problem and has become even more instrumental in our games.
I was watching the FA CUP final back yesterday and had an eye on Lampard's position. He works just as hard getting back into position, just as hard in defensive situations as he used to going forward and that's become a real difference in his game.
Think of Barcelona, In both games it was the same. OK, it was different situations because we found ourselves on the back foot and defending, but Lampard was again influential once more.
Look at the Ramires goal at the Nou Camp and Drogba's goal yesterday. There are examples of the new Lampard these days. In the Nou Camp, Lampard moved forward to receive the ball from Ramires and then played him in with a fantastic ball and Ramires did the rest. It was Lampard's awareness of a possible break that first put him into position to receive the ball and then his awareness of the game and Ramires' run to play him in.
On Saturday again he did the same. I said in my match report that as soon as Lampard stepped inside Spearing and moved into ten yards of space I thought he might have had a shot from 30 yards, being honest we've seen it before and wouldn't have been surprised.
However, from his deeper position, he played a slide rule ball once again, into Drogba and the big man did the rest.
Alot has been made of our old guard and the fact they were written off this season. There has even been Chelsea fans that have questioned Lampard. I guess the older you become, you will always come under scrutiny but Lampard has defied the critics once again to win his NINTH trophy with Chelsea.
With Munich in two weeks and the Champions League Final, Lampard and his Chelsea team mates have the chance to put right the wrongs of Moscow a couple of years ago.
The Frank Lampard you will see that night in Munich will be different from Moscow as again he will be deployed in this new deeper role alongside Mikel. Like I said, very different from the role he used to have here.
So I would like to give Frank Lampard the credit he deserves because it's almost gone UN-noticed. He has become instrumental in our success in the FA CUP and getting to the Champions League final.
Working just has hard without the ball as he always did with the ball, Frank Lampard could extend his Chelsea career even further and if he continues to play as he has in the last few weeks, I wouldn't be surprised.
Credit goes to you Frank for seeing an opportunity to become just as effective at the club but in a different way. Long may it continue!.
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