If Chelsea do want to finally start some new era without the relics of the past, the wise thing would be to let go of Frank Lampard. Don’t let the goals distract you from the fact that Lampard hardly does anything on the pitch anymore, and his winning goal for England in the friendly match against Brazil doesn’t change his age or diminishing abilities.
One thing you can’t take away from Lampard is his positioning and ability to finish in front of goal when given the opportunity, but when you take away the penalty kicks, the scoring record in the league doesn’t look as impressive. When you look at what he did in the win against Brazil, a friendly (something England might be forgetting, despite the extra special effort their players put in) if you haven’t forgotten.
The real strength and source for encouragement was the combination between Jack Wilshere and Steven Gerrard in the middle of the park, as the Liverpool man accepted the role of an anchor while the much more mobile and active Wilshere ran the show a bit deeper in Brazilian territory. Lampard, like Cleverley before him, wasn’t too involved, and got off one good shot to give England the win.
Chelsea didn’t make so many wise choices during the summer. Heavily spending on Eden Hazard and Oscar didn’t automatically make them the best team in England. Someone forgot that their no. 10 player is Juan Mata, already occupying, and doing a very good job at the position both Hazard and Oscar are adept at. Sure, Hazard can be moved to the wing and Oscar too, or even play a little behind, in the same role Lampard does now, but there’s no room for all three of them together. Giving up too much on the physical side.
And then there’s Lampard, who was never an holding midfielder, but has to play one now under Rafa Benitez. The problem? His natural tendencies to move too forward leave gaping holes in the defense. Things will probably change when John Obi Mikel comes back, but that doesn’t mean Lampard is in a position he can do the most damage. The presence of Mata, undoubtedly Chelsea’s best player at the moment, makes Lampard’s presence on the pitch a tad redundant. Maybe moving Mata left to the wing while giving Lampard the more advanced role, to play behind Torres/Ba, might be a short term answer, until Hazard and Victor Moses return.
The fact is that there are better players than Lampard on the team to do what he used to do best, and was a tad overrated for it throughout his career. Never as versatile as Gerrard, just on a better team, with a better group of talented teammates. Lampard can stay in Europe, but if Chelsea are thinking about being great again and not winning titles by luck and grinding out wins by parking the bus, Frank Lampard isn’t a player they should be using in their starting lineup, not matter the position.