It is perhaps a sign of how good a job Rafa Benitez actually did in the Chelsea dressing room, but there hasn’t been the kind of media outrage at John Terry’s exclusion from the Chelsea first team that we might have expected in recent years. Terry has struggled all season with injuries, and while he is still capable of big performances, he is in no way guaranteed to be first choice come the end of the summer. Terry fell behind David Luiz, Branislav Ivanovic and Gary Cahill this season, and all 3 are far from falling into decline. It seems incredible that Terry can no longer get in to the team, but the question now becomes what will Terry’s role be at the club?
Chelsea have had their ups and downs in the last 2 years. The unmitigated joy of Champions League success, tempered by poor performances and the sacking of club legend Roberto Di Matteo. Frank Lampard’s record breaking goalscoring antics against Fernando Torres’ continued shyness in front of goal in the league. Eden Hazard dominating a game…Eden Hazard kicking a ball-boy. It’s been a bit up and down, and any level of normality can only be achieved by the installation of a new manager.
Lampard signs on the dotted line……Finally!
It’s been a very good couple of weeks for Chelsea, and the season is really ending on a high. It stated with victory over Aston Villa which secured our top four spot in the league. That match included a brace from Frank Lampard, pushing him to 203 Chelsea goals and overtaking Bobby Tambling as the club’s record goalscorer. Wednesday brought us further joy and European success with a hard fought win over Benfica in the Europa League final, making it two European victories on the trot. And now, we can all celebrate the end to this year’s on-going Frank Lampard contact situation.
Frank Lampard is set to lead Chelsea out as captain for tonight’s all important Europa League final in Amsterdam. The veteran midfielder, who is believed to be on the brink of signing a new one year contract extension, will be the focal point of Chelsea’s midfield spine against an always dangerous Benfica side. The match will be the 68th of Chelsea’s season – far more than they would have anticipated or indeed liked. However, at this stage of the season, the weary legs and bones will be forgotten about. If you can’t get yourself motivated for a European Cup final, then you’re in the wrong sport!
Lampard breaks record to become all-time top goalscorer!
As if it was ever in doubt before, Frank Lampard has ensured his name will be remembered in Chelsea football club long after he has hung up his boots. Lampard scored both of Chelsea’s goals in a challenging and hard fought 2-1 victory over relegation strugglers Aston Villa. Lampard’s record equalling 202nd goal was a stereotypical edge of the box smash, while his 203rd was the kind of poacher’s finish that has become synonymous with Lampard. Beating Bobby Tambling’s 43 year old record, Lampard can finally get that particular monkey off his back and focus on his future.
He’s off again. The Portuguese manager (not him, the other not so special one). As Chelsea prepare to welcome Tottenham to Stamford Bridge tonight, there is a great deal at stake. Perhaps that is why Andre Villas-Boas seems to be suffering from verbal diarrhoea, especially when it comes to talking about Chelsea.
Whoever wins the game tonight will take a huge step towards a top four finish and the Chammpions League football it entails. There are quite a lot of bragging rights on offer as well, such as being the best of the London clubs, with Arsenal still in the race, and doing the double over Spurs. What is likely to get the Chelsea players really going, though, is the sniping of the former manager.
There are very few Chelsea fans that will be sorry to see the back of Rafa Benitez at the end of this season, but his tenure here has not been a complete disaster. Rafa has brought the club to the final of the Europa League – navigated a truly horrendous fixture schedule that has seen a staggering number of games played, and looks well on course to securing Champion’s League football for the 13/14 season. For many, this in itself is not enough. That being said, and for all that the criticism that you can throw his way, Rafa does seem to have managed to do one thing that so many previous Chelsea managers could not. He has destroyed the player-power mentality.
Chelsea and Lampard – The End of an Era?
Sunday’s match with Swansea City saw legendary Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard score yet another goal to edge him closer to the record held by Bobby Tambling who was in attendance for the match himself.
There have been doubts over Lampard’s future all season with the club refusing to offer him a new contract or make any official statement on the matter. He has said himself that he would of course love to stay for as long as his body enables him and pretty much 100% of the club’s fans have voiced their desire for him to stay, so what is the problem?
Rafa Benitez did not start Frank Lampard yesterday but, once Ramires picked up an injury, the 34-year old midfielder came on to put Chelsea withing touching distance of Champions League qualification. Lampard looked like a man on a mission when he came on and a typical bursting run and pass set up Oscar for the opener after 43 minutes. Just two minutes later, Lampard was given the chance to add to his 200 goals from the penalty after Maya was fouled. Nobody expected him to miss, and he is now just one goal behind the all-time club record of Bobby Tambling.
Rafa Benitez is not exactly the most popular Chelsea manager ever, but the fans have relented a little on him recently. His comments and statement that he would definitely be leaving the club at the end of the season have drawn an uneasy truce, but if Chelsea go out of the FA cup against Manchester United today after resting key players and losing to Southampton, he will get dog’s abuse.