Wednesday 22 November 2017

No guarantees for Lampard

Gerry Cox

Chelsea 3 Bolton wanderers 0

There were more questions than answers after Chelsea's ultimately comfortable victory over relegation-threatened Bolton, the most pressing of which concern the futures of Andre Villas-Boas and Frank Lampard.

Another defeat, and a sixth game without victory, might have spelt the end for Villas-Boas if some of the more dramatic stories coming out of Stamford Bridge were to be believed.

Lampard's place at the heart of Chelsea's midfield is no longer guaranteed -- a point made by Villas-Boas when he dropped the England midfielder for last week's 3-1 Champions League defeat by Napoli.

But after returning to the side as captain, Lampard produced an outstanding performance capped by his 150th goal in the league which took him past Jimmy Greaves in the Chelsea pantheon of scorers.

So the quandary facing Villas-Boas is this: does he persist with his policy of sidelining senior players, at the risk of more poor performances and results, and a continued failure to challenge for the big prizes, or does he swallow his pride, put the "period of transition" on hold and make the most of the talents at his disposal?

When asked outright if he expected Lampard still to be a Chelsea player next season, Villas-Boas replied: "I hope so but it does not depend on me. It depends on three parts -- I want him, the person wants to stay and the club wants him." So does Lampard see his future at Chelsea? "I just want to play. The way the fans were with me was amazing. It's lump-in-the-throat stuff when they sing your name."

David Luiz, clearly under orders to rampage forward, opened the scoring when he curled a fine finish beyond Adam Bogdan. Didier Drogba headed in Lampard's corner for the second and the midfielder stole in at the back post to steer home his 12th goal of the season. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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