It really has been a glittering career for one of the Premier Leagues finest players. I remember a press conference in 1996 at a time where a baby faced 18-year-old Frank Lampard was breaking into the West Ham United team, then managed by his uncle Harry Redknapp. One journalist was heavily critical of the young player by adamantly stating that he “wasn’t good enough”.
Lampard, seemingly bemused, watched as Redknapp leapt to his defence and argued that he would reach the very highest level of the game. It turned out that Lampard would reach feats that maybe even his uncle couldn’t have even predicted. A vital cog in Chelsea’s most dominant period in history, he has accomplished more than he could ever have dreamed of, including becoming Chelsea’s highest ever goalscorer. Now, having announcing his departure from the team he spent over 13 years playing for, it is only right to take a look back at his life in a Blues shirt.
Believe it or not, only Ryan Giggs has played more matches in the Premier League than Frank Lampard with 429 of those 577 coming in a Chelsea shirt. Summarising his achievements at Chelsea, Lampard has won;
- 3 Premier Leagues: (2005, 2006, 2010)
- 1 UEFA Champions League (2012)
- 1 UEFA Europa League (2013)
- 4 FA Cups (2007, 2009, 2010, 2012)
- 1 League Cup (2005, 2007)
- 2 FA Community Shields (2005, 2009)
Overall that is 13 trophies in 13 years as well as many personal accolades such as being named Premier League player of the season in the 2004-05 and 2005-06 campaigns and coming second in both World and European player of the year awards in 2005. That was the same year in which Lampard helped Chelsea to their first Premier League trophy in 50 years, with his brace against Bolton clinching the title.
The Influence in Midfield and Position Change
As an attacking midfielder, Lampard has been able to provide goals and assists from the centre of the field for many years now, with his consistent goal scoring tally being amongst the world’s best midfielders. In only three of the 13 years at Chelsea has Lampard failed to score at least ten goals per season, which shows incredible consistenty at such a high level.
After scoring five and six in his first two seasons, Lampard went onto score double figures every season until the last campaign, with a career high of 22 goals in the 2009/2010 season, in which he again won the Premier League title.
Not only did Lampard help break Chelsea’s 50 year wait for a league title, but was also at the heart of the side which won the coveted Champions League in 2012, the first in the team’s history. We can see from the table that from a personal view, Lampard enjoyed his finest season in 2009/10, in which he notched 22 goals, 14 assists and created 114 chances. Chelsea were highly dominant during this period and Lampard created a whopping 134 chances in the 2008/09 season, at a rate of one every 24 minutes, which is around four chances a game.
In the last few seasons however, Lampard has changed his role slightly. During the seasons in which Lampard was most influential, you would see him in a more central attacking midfield role, supporting the striker, then Didier Drogba, in their attacking play. In recent times, Chelsea have looked at younger playmakers such as Juan Mata and Oscar to provide the main bulk of goals and assists in tandem with the lone striker. Although this had cut the amount of chances that Lampard creates on a regular basis, he was still able to provide the goals and assists that attacking midfielders would be satisfied with. For example, in the 2011/12 season, Lampard was able to notch 11 goals and five assists, but only created 55 chances. In the following season, he managed a highly impressive 15 goals, and even though he had only one assist to his name, Lampard, now well in his 30’s, was still able to affect the game at crucial times.
In this latest season, Lampard was part of a Chelsea team reunited with Jose Mourinho, the manager who was in charge when Lampard was at the peak of his career and playing his best football. However, with a different generation of players, Lampard was amongst a number of players which were rotated and was assigned to a deeper role, similar to that of Steven Gerrard of Liverpool. The only difference being that Chelsea would play with two sitting midfielders rather than just one, giving them more solidarity in defence. Playing just 26 games during the course of his farewell season, he still managed six goals and three assists from this position.
After years of triumph and success year in, year out, Chelsea are now going through a transitional period. With younger players now breaking through and mega money transfer likely to be on the cards, it has already meant that players like Lampard and Ashley Cole are surplus to requirements at Stamford Bridge. John Terry has singed a one year deal whereas Petr Cech looks to have at least one more season as Chelsea’s number one between the sticks, although that could be a different case if they decide to bring back the highly rated Thibaut Courtois from his loan spell from Atletico Madrid.
Frank Lampard has been a fantastic individual for Chelsea however, with countless trophies, individual awards and firmly a fan favourite for being a key member of the clubs most successful period. He has his attention firmly fixed on the World Cup, likely to be his last international tournament in an England shirt. After returning back however, he has a big decision as to where he will ply his trade next, with up to 16 teams in for the running to sign the 35-year-old, including new MLS side New York City.
All that being said however, there is no doubt that he will be firmly regarded as one of the best players ever to put on a Chelsea shirt. Frank Lampard, Chelsea legend.