Terry or Lampard could be back at Stamford Bridge sooner than expected, as opponents this time

Chelsea legends John Terry and Frank Lampard are both vying to get their EFL Championship sides promoted to the Premier League in the upco...

Chelsea legends John Terry and Frank Lampard are both vying to get their EFL Championship sides promoted to the Premier League in the upcoming playoffs. If either of them manages to do it, we’ll be seeing them back in Stamford Bridge sooner than we perhaps expected, albeit on the away side this time around.

Lampard, Chelsea’s highest ever goalscorer, managed to sneak his Derby County side through in the sixth-place spot, with an incisive 3-1 win over West Bromwich Albion on the last league weekend. Derby County were helped on Saturday by some steady defending from our own Fikayo Tomori, who has played extremely well while on loan to the Rams since 2018. That win meant they went through one point ahead of Middlesbrough and faced Leeds United in the semi-finals. Lampard had aimed to get the side into the top 10 this year but even after a rocky start in the first leg, the Chelsea legend outdid his own expectations and crushed Leeds in the second for a 4-3 win on aggregate.

Meanwhile, Terry — who has the third most appearances across competitions by any Chelsea player — also saw the Aston Villa side that he assistant manages go through to the playoff finals. Villa finished two points clear of Derby County in fifth, meaning they faced West Brom in the semi-finals where they pulled off a victory by the breadth of a penalty. Having both won their semi-finals, Terry and Lampard are now set to face off in what will undoubtedly be the most important match of their managerial careers to date.

It is Villa who went through with the very slightly more favourable outright Championship betting odds of 2/1 at the time of writing, compared to Derby County’s 9/2 chances of winning the competition and being promoted to the Premier League. This despite it having been Leeds, who finished nine and seven points clear of Derby County and Aston Villa respectively, that went into the playoffs as favourites for the all-important third promotion, yet have had their chances of moving up along with Norwich City and Sheffield United quashed.

Lampard has of course already returned to Stamford Bridge once, when his Derby County side travelled there for their 3-2 defeat to Chelsea in the Carabao Cup in October 2018. That night saw Lampard getting a predictably great reception from The Blues fans. It was also a statement of intent from Lampard, who proved he can be a great manager as well as an exceptional player. Two own goals for Derby, one from Tomori, meant The Blues closed down the competition and it was great to see Lampard back in action at his old club’s ground.

Terry, meanwhile, is yet to make a return to Chelsea, but it will be a great occasion when he does. Either way, both sides have a tough competition ahead of them on Monday. If the rest of this past Championship season is anything to go by, the final at Wembley will be extremely competitive, and it is impossible for anyone to see which way that match will go. Either way, we will know by May 27, who will be in the away dugout at Stamford Bridge next year.

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