Chelsea may have now dropped out of the Premiership title race but as I write this we are sitting pretty in fourth place and this is far better than most realistic Blues fans could have hoped for at the start of the current campaign.
The team has been far more resilient than in the past and for once the Chelsea players are prepared to fight for the right to play attractive football rather than expecting it as a God-given right.
Much of this mentality is, I believe, down to the excellent Frank Lampard, who has barely put a foot wrong for us this season and who really deserved his England call up.
A few eyebrows were raised when Frank signed for us at £11 million. Yet arguably he more than any other player epitomises everything about the ‘new’ Chelsea – committed, full of energy and determined to win every game.
Frank has been such a consistent performer this season, regularly winning the ball in midfield and retaining possession intelligently, but his recent performances at home to Leeds and away to Shrewsbury – the kind of place where previous Chelsea teams have been found wanting – particularly stand out.
If there’s one criticism of his play it is that he has not been as prolific in front of goal as many of us would like, but in my opinion he is a far better player than when he was at West Ham. He has a far greater influence in the midfield, be it in defence or going forward, and his form and fitness are vital if our Champions League aspirations are to be realised.
Over the last few years we haven’t exactly been renowned for bringing through English internationals, but given the chance I’m sure Frank could make a huge contribution to England. Admittedly he took a while to settle into life at Stamford Bridge but towards the end of last season showed signs of forming a formidable midfield partnership with Manu Petit from which we are now reaping the benefits. With a regular place in the England team I see no reason why Frank can’t reproduce his club form on the international stage.