What a difference a year has made for Frank Lampard.

It’s been a good start all things told for Frank Lampard and Chelsea with the club occupying fourth position and five points ahead of nea...

It’s been a good start all things told for Frank Lampard and Chelsea with the club occupying fourth position and five points ahead of nearest rivals Manchester United, although they have lost three of their last four games. Indeed, Lampard deserves the praise that comes his way, especially if you consider just how far he has come in the last year.

Picking up three points against Aston Villa will always be considered the norm for the Blues but it’s worth mentioning how hard it was for Lampard to do that last year in the Championship with Derby County. On both occasions that Derby played Villa in the league last season, they were soundly beaten home and away.

The Rams suffered a 3-0 defeat at Pride Park before it got even worse at Villa Park where they conceded four unanswered goals. Then there was the heartbreak of the play-off final at Wembley where Dean Smith’s men made it a hat-trick of wins by beating Derby County 2-1.

You probably get the message by now that it was anything but smooth going for Lampard last season against Villa so Wednesday’s midweek win would have come as a welcome relief at a time where he was beginning to be questioned. Slaying the demons of the 2018/2019 campaign was a necessity if a mini-crisis wasn’t to develop at Stamford Bridge, especially as it has stopped them from being on a four-game losing run. You could argue that Lampard has a far better team to beat Villa with now and whilst on paper that isn’t untrue, there’s no denying that Dean Smith had the advantage in terms of experience over Lampard coming into the fixture. Week in and week out Stamford Bridge sees the growth of one of their favourite sons as he finds his way in management and more often than not Lampard is coming up with the answers in his quest to secure Champions League football next season. If that's not the sign of progress then it's hard to tell what is.

There was never any realistic talk of the Blues going all the way and winning the title this season. Lampard has acknowledged that Chelsea are some way behind Liverpool and Man City still and as things stand in the Premier League - Winning Betting Odds, Jurgen Klopp’s men are at 1/9 to finish on top of the pile. Truly staggering odds when you consider that we are still some weeks off Christmas.

It’s a relentless fight for the title that Chelsea were never considered to be in but you have to say that they are achieving the goals they set out for themselves at the start of the season.

There was never any guarantee that would happen with Lampard’s inexperience when it came to top-flight coaching and not having a transfer window to work with but in the face of all of that, the 41-year-old is outdoing himself. It now looks like Chelsea chose right with the club now settled, performing well and on course to overachieve this season.


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