The Frank Lampard Conundrum: What Should Chelsea Do With Their Legend?

Chelsea is in the middle of a forced – yet eventually necessary – transitional period. And during this weird season, the most reliable player so far is the guy who is on the opposite side of change.

Frank Lampard keeps scoring when it matters but apparently that trait doesn’t matter to Andre Villas-Boas. Lampard scored the winning goal in the 82nd minute against the Premier League’s newest super power Manchester City on Monday, putting in motion storylines about the league being wide open (no, it’s not) and how Lampard justifies his spot as a starter (yes, he does).

But Lampard still isn’t starting and according to him there isn’t a reason. “I want to play, simple as that,” said Lampard after Monday’s win. “I’m 33 – I understand that – but I want to keep playing regularly because I’ve got a lot to give. I’m as fit as I’ve ever been. I’ve been in a good run of form and now I’ve not been playing. I haven’t spoken [to Villas-Boas] so I don’t know [why], simple as that.”

Lampard’s deal is similar to the entire season. The entire Chelsea season has been under a microscope to the supporters and an almost non-issue to the rest of the league. United, City, Arsenal, Tottenham, even Newcastle and Stoke City have better story lines then the transition period, while also competing for every title mentality at Stamford Bridge. Instead, Chelsea have been a mixed bag of media hype, old vs. young, whether the manager is staying, and who isn’t performing this week.

Because of this uncertainty, only one solution is needed for the club. Heading into the transfer window Chelsea is going to have to either go all-in on changing the style of the team, or staying with the hot hands that they have. Lampard is rumored to go to Real Madrid (under old manager Jose Mourinho) and LA Galaxy (a very good pickup for the league as a whole). And if AVB really has an issue with starting Lampard, then he needs to get as much cash value as he can right now. The supporters will rightfully kill him over it, but if he has the vote of confidence from the board, then he would have to include Lampard with Anelka and Alex.

Should he keep Lampard, which in my mind is the correct choice, AVB should effectively realize the momentum and start Lampard. A midfield consisting of Lampard/Meireles/Ramires can be an attacking force, and having Lampard remain can work in several ways, including being an influence on Oriol Romeu, a stabilizing influence on Mikel and an interesting part in a more creative midfield consisting of perhaps Lampard/David Luiz/Miereles.

The strangest part about Frank Lampard’s 2011/12 season is the fact that he has been consistent enough in his play to warrant his starts. Coupled with his reputation, his England caps (another story for another time) and what he means to the club, it is surprising that he is even having a problem getting into the first team at all. With Torres becoming the Andy Carroll of Chelsea (and Liverpool fans can say that in reverse as well), Lampard to Drogba remains in effect, and Daniel Sturridge has proven that he can score no matter what the play is.

If Chelsea want to win anything this season then playing Lampard is a common sense move. Change is still going to happen – it has just been delayed.

18 thoughts on “The Frank Lampard Conundrum: What Should Chelsea Do With Their Legend?”

    1. Will never happen… Frank Jr. burned that bridge long ago as did the WHUFC support. And I don’t think he’d take the drop in levels. But, the David’s do have a perverse sense of irony, Still, never gonna happen.

  1. As a cfc fan, I would never argue against the legacy of Frank Lampard. However, I think you’re overstating his contribution so far this season. Lampard’s eight goals have been crucial, but three of those have come from the penalty spot. Five goals is no small feat, but there are multiple midfielders that have matched that total thus far who also fight for a place in their side (Rafael Van der Vaart comes to mind).

    My point is, by no means should Frank Lampard be an automatic inclusion in this team. He has had very positive matches, but some in which he was clearly (a) fatigued, or (b) unable to affect the gameplay in any meaningful way. With a midfield that also includes Ramires, Romeu, Mikel, McEachran, Meireles, and Malouda, squad rotation is an extremely valuable asset that the team should leverage.

  2. I’m in agreement with Bob on Lampard’s status.

    He’s been a legendary player for us but his place in the team is for the manager to select and not him. This is why Chelsea are on another manager b/c the players muted enough managers who didn’t bend to their will. This is the same Lampard subbed off at HT during the Man Utd match earlier in the season b/c of his poor play.

    Frank Lampard can still contribute to Chelsea but in a league that is getting faster each season, AVB has made the correct decision going for pace in the center of the pitch.

    Frank is going to play, just not every game and if he has a problem with that he can leave.

    1. Fernando, I agree with Lampard not playing every game and I am sure he wants to play every game but he knows that AVB won’t let him. Lampard has a huge impact on Chelsea in the few years, for people to write him now,well that’s pretty stupid. If he doesn’t play him he is only wasting the clubs money to buy another midfielder. He won’t leave and AVB won’t sell him because fans won’t like it and they will boo him. I am a fan of Frank Lampard and Chelsea, but Lampard is a huge player to Chelsea and always will be. He is one of their best playmaker ever and he is Chelsea’s 3rd highest goalscorer of all time.

      Wish Frank all the best on playing for Chelsea and the England National Team.

  3. I’m really going to be objective on this one, and try to understand what makes Frank Jr. tick…. We can’t forget that while he was raised in East London, that he was a product of Prep schools, and was raised getting a proper education and with certain sense of entitlement. He was rushed into the West Ham starting 11 by his godfather, and never had to pay the dues that many had to get to the top level. He moved to CFC at the start of the Chelsea revival, was a member of the golden generation of English football. All artificially inflated his self worth as a footballer. That being said, Lampard has been on of the great English talents ever. But, now he finds himself out of the England starting 11 and even worse the CFC 11. That, has to play funny tricks on your mind in a game that demands a a certain sense of hubris on the pitch to win. His real value on a top club now, is to be run out for 60 mins. Where he can have fresh legs… be the player he expects as do the fans. So maybe AVB is getting it right, and maybe Frank has to take one for the team… The bigger question is can his ego handle it. It may help that his friend and team mate Terry is going through the very same thing… MLS and Spain are not the answers, he has the support behind him in Chelsea. and he should end his career there. Can he find the happiness that comes from being an aging legend like say Giggs on a team… Can he expand his role as a player to be more of a mentor for the younger players coming through… I think those are the questions we should be asking of Frank Lampard Jr.

    1. “Can he find the happiness that comes from being an aging legend like say Giggs on a team…”

      Frank Lampard as Ryan Giggs? As Buddy Holly said, “That’ll be the day.” (Not that it wouldn’t be a good idea for both his team and him.)

      1. Frank Lampard is the the Premier League Player of the Decade and has done more individual brilliance on the pitch that Giggs ever has done. He deserves far more respect than he gets.

        1. More individual moments of brilliance than Giggs? I find that laughable. Giggs has always had more flair and “individual moments of brilliance” than Lamps. Both great players.

          Giggs legacy is far superior to Lamps.

  4. ” Coupled with his reputation, his England caps (another story for another time) and what he means to the club, it is surprising that he is even having a problem getting into the first team at all”

    what does this have to do with anything? The point is, Chelsea seem to perform more efficiently with a midfield of Ramires, Meireles and Romeu.

  5. for the people mentioning spain as a destination. I would say that they are underestimating the technical abilities required to play midfield in a successful spain side. If Lampard went to spain, he’d be used as a defensive midfielder.

  6. Frank Lampard will never see the end of days in a Hammers shirt (or Madrid’s, for that matter) – and his latest badge kissing is the latest in a line of evidence proving that!

    Lampard will serve out the remainder of his contract in the manner the manager sees fit, and that will be playing regular minutes in the XI should his goalscoring vein and form continue as it has.

    A midfield trio of Lampard, Ramires and Merieles is just horrible – there is no natural holding mifielder and when it’s been tried, it’s had disastrous results in allowing missed tackles and counterattacks for Chelsea opponents.

  7. “Frank Lampard keeps scoring when it matters but apparently that trait doesn’t matter to Andre Villas-Boas.”

    You lost me there. Clearly it matters to AVB, otherwise he wouldn’t use Lampard later in matches. Scored a big goal v. Valencia (as a sub), scored another big one against Man City (as a sub).

    If Lamps breaths Chelsea, maybe he should understand he brings more value to the team as an impact sub than a player going for a full 90.

    AVB clearly has figured this out.

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