Let’s be Frank about Lampard

April 28, 2008

Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard has returned to training following the death of his mother last week but, even if he wants to, should he play in Wednesday’s Champions League game against Liverpool?  

Lampard sat out Saturday’s top-of-the-table clash with Manchester United, which came two days after the death of his 58-year-old mother Pat, and in his absence Chelsea produced their best performance for months.

It was probably no surprise that Michael Ballack, finally given the main man mantle he revels in for big games, stepped up to the plate and capped an impressive all-round performance with both goals in the 2-1 win that kept the title race alive.   

Lampard is undoubtedly a hugely influential and popular player for Chelsea, with an uncanny knack of timing his runs and choosing his positions perfectly to ensure a remarkably regular and prolific goal return.    

However, as England have found to their cost all too often with his failure to gel with Steven Gerrard, his presence does not always seem to bring out the best in those around him – Ballack being the obvious example at Chelsea.    

What a dilemma for Grant. He could leave Lampard on the bench on Wednesday and retain the powerful trio of Ballack, John Obi Mikel and Michael Essien, who performed so impressively against United, but it would be a tough and emotional call to tell Lampard he was surplus to requirements in the most important game of the season so far.

Mitch Phillips, London

5 comments

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

It is a difficult one to call. If it was me personally I would start with Frank on the bench. I am a huge fan of him and he is one of our most influential players and is always there when we need him but at the same time after everything he has been through I would worry that it is not the sensible option to start with him. Bringing him on would lift the rest of the players and the crowd who genuinely love him.

Chelsea did play well on Saturday, very well but there have been examples of Frank and Ballack playing well together this season. Also, the fact that their team mate who they are all close to was a big factor in how they played also and as has been touched on by Ballack, they did it for Frank.

I think as much as Grant says its Franks decision it is his ultimately and it has to be made for the right reasons. Yes, Frank always scores important goals at important moments but he doesn’t necessarily have to be on from the beginning to make the difference.

Posted by chelseagirl | Report as abusive

I agree with Mitch Phillips. It is quite difficult to tell Lampard to stay aside for Wednesday match.

Posted by tuan | Report as abusive

this article is rubbish. Why bring up the whole lampard can’t play with another good midfielder debate. IT HAS been proven this season that Lampard, Ballack and Essien IS our best midfield and they have performed very well together.

Posted by Jeff | Report as abusive

Ballack for Chelsea has been a bit like the curate’s egg — good in parts. Even when Lampard has not been playing Ballack has been inconsistent with flashes of brilliance and periods of indifference. Lampard is Chelsea’s most consistent player. It would surely be foolish to leave out a player who is their highest scorer this season (and has been in previous seasons) scoring more than 100 goals for the club. He also has the highest work rate, running further than any of his team mates. Lampard, Ballack and Essien with Makelele behind has got to be the strongest lineup.

Posted by Clare Lovell | Report as abusive

@Clare Lovell: people tend to be the high scorer when they take the bulk of the penalty kicks.

Ballack is superior to Lampard in every possible way. If Playing Ballack means Lampard sits, you have to do it. Without him, as Mitch mentioned, Chelsea looked better than they have in a long time and they were led by Ballack.

Posted by papa bear | Report as abusive