The importance of Lampard at Chelsea cannot be underestimated. But why is Lampard so vital?
Besides his unrivalled goals tally from the middle of the park, where he surpassed even Dennis Wise’s invaluable Chelsea career return of 76 goals, his range of passing from differing angles under pressure and his numerous assists in difficult matches, reflect his unforgettable attributes.
Often in important games, despite criticism from supporters and media alike, Lampard has delivered the goods. For example, only this season, Chelsea’s victory against Liverpool in the Champions League was eased by Lampard’s nerve in dispatching the spot-kick only weeks after his mother’s death in April, with Lampard helping Chelsea on their way to Moscow in May.
Lampard again gave Chelsea hope in the final against Manchester United by racking up an equaliser against the run of play after a torrid first half. Lampard therefore proves vital by scoring goals literally ‘out of the blue’.
Lampard’s commitment and resolve can be highlighted by his unrivalled number of appearances in the Barclays Premier League between October 2001 and December 2005.
Until an injury against Manchester City on December 28th 2005 forced Lampard to withdraw from the match, Lampard had made 164 successive appearances, holding the current record in the Premier League.
His tackling and running from box to box are often underrated, whilst his goals record is exemplary. As the seventh top scorer for Chelsea, behind such potent poachers as Kerry Dixon and Peter Osgood, Lampard has not failed to score 20 or more goals in the past three seasons for the Blues.
And whether Lampard is an attractive player to watch? Who can forget Lampard’s runner-up result, behind Brazilian star Ronaldinho in the FIFA World Player of The Year awards in 2005. Bettered only by Ronaldinho? There is no shame in that. Lampard has had his critics in previous seasons, but one wonders whether the unbelievably high standards he has set for himself in his Chelsea career, has effectively put even more pressure on him to perform.
Do critics of Lampard require him to be extra-terrestrial? For Chelsea fans with their feet on the ground and realistic of football’s demands, Lampard remains a hero continually in the making at Stamford Bridge.