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Frank Lampard

Frank Lampard Can Still Play a Vital Role for Manchester City

Lampard

As the twilight of players’ careers typically approach, pace, intensity and fitness typically dwindle. But for those few who have made a career out of sticking the ball in the back of the net, that desirable attribute of being in the right place at the right time rarely deserts them.

Goalscorers are simply a different entity. Players like Ronaldo, Robbie Fowler and Michael Owen—while fitness problems eventually curtailed all of their careers prematurely—were still scoring goals right up until the end of their playing days. The same can be said for Frank Lampard, who has made an important, but understated impact in his loan spell at Manchester City.

Even at 36 years old, the former Chelsea man looks hungry, bristling with energy and as he showcased throughout his distinguished career at Stamford Bridge, he’s a forensically clinical finisher. According to WhoScored.com (as of press time), Lampard has played 233 minutes of Premier League football, scoring three goals and notching one assist. He also bagged a brace in his only League Cup start for the club.

It came as something of a shock when City announced they would be signing the former England international on loan. Not just because of his age, but because the champions were set to battle it out with Chelsea—a club Lampard harbors an understandably massive affinity with—for the Premier League title.

Currently, the Citizens trail Jose Mourinho’s league leaders by three points in the race for the championship, and although the focus for those of a sky blue persuasion has naturally been drawn toward the dazzling exploits of Sergio Aguero, Lampard’s goals have also been critical to the City cause.

Indeed, his non-celebration of the goal against Chelsea—a match in which City were 1-0 down against the Blues, with 10 men no less—did plenty to gloss over the potential significance of it. Chelsea would have gone eight points clear of City that day had Lampard failed to net; assuming the consequential results would have followed suit, Mourinho’s men would now find themselves six points clear of the champions had they held on to victory at the Etihad Stadium.

It makes the title picture a lot rosier for City, but there have been other standout moments from their No. 18 too. Lampard’s late strike settled a topsy-turvy game against Hull City and in the vital match against high-flying Southampton—with City down to 10 men again—his textbook finish gave Manuel Pellegrini’s men a vital two-goal cushion.

It’s easy to talk about goals when it comes to Lampard—he is the Premier League’s highest scoring midfielder ever, after all—but his all round game can also be vital to the Mancunians. The subtle adaptations he has made to his game mean he is capable of playing as an advanced, orthodox or withdrawn central midfield player, and his steadying aura can settle nerves of his manager and supporters at the end of a frantic contest.

The former Three Lions man has only made five starts for City so far this season, but with a convoluted festive calendar to come, he will surely have a major part to play as Pellegrini’s team look to make steady progress in the Premier League. Lampard will surely be targeting a couple of goals that’ll move him ahead of Thierry Henry and into fourth in the division’s all-time top scorers list.

But it remains to be seen whether Lampard—on loan from New York City until January—will play a role in the FA Cup, the final knockings of the Champions League and indeed, the title race, which looks set to be an exclusive scrap between City and Chelsea.

The club want to extend his stay especially with midfielder Yaya Toure set for a temporary hiatus from domestic action because of the African Cup of Nations. But with New York’s inaugural season beginning in March, his future remains unclear, although Pellegrini has admitted a decision is set to be made on the matter very soon.

It’s easy to see why the manager will be desperate to keep hold of the veteran midfielder for the remainder of what’s set to be an intriguing end to the season for City. After all, not only is Lampard a three-time Premier League winner, he’s a player that knows what it takes to lift the European Cup too. The man is a born champion and those attributes can only have a positive effect on all associated with the Etihad outfit

It’s clear that Lampard still has a role to play on the field too. His vast array of talents mean that he can be of great use to Pellegrini in myriad different situations after all, but his eminent knack for goalscoring is perhaps the most significant. That should ensure, if he does end up extending his stay in the Premier League, that Lampard has a few more vital contributions left in him yet.

Follow Matt on Twitter @MattJFootball

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. firewonky

    December 16, 2014 at 9:22 am

    he should feel free to stay in eurodouche-land. there isn’t anyone in the U.S. who cares whether or not he comes here. there isn’t anyone in the U.S. who even know who this guy is. because nobody in the U.S. cares about soccer. NOBODY. and never has. and never will!

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