Are those of you who wrote Frank Lampard off feeling a teensy weensy bit silly now? I am not going to list all of the impressive stats connected with this goliath of the game – after all, I only have 800 words, but one stat that did catch my eye at the weekend was that Lampard has scored 13 more goals than Giggs having played 200 less games. Now I am not saying that Giggs is a bad player, because he evidently is not; I am not even saying that Lampard is a better player than Giggs – as that is down to opinion; what I am saying is that I think it goes under the radar exactly what a phenomenon Lampard is.
And putting the football aside, one can’t help but draw comparisons between the way he has handled his current situation and how a certain Argentinian has dealt with being benched at Manchester City. Lampard simply reiterated his mantra of working harder and doing whatever was requested from the manager. He repeated his respect for the manager when it would have been so easy to whine about his situation to the papers. Instead those aforementioned papers were once more reduced to making up stories about the midfielder allegedly storming out – not true as confirmed by AVB.
All in all, the perfect professional – a manager’s dream – a player that does what he’s told without whinging; one who works hard, keeps himself supremely fit, is articulate and a role model to the youngsters in the academy. – just a shame we can’t clone him!
Lampard and Chelsea’s display at Bolton was sublime (with just a tiny blip when not concentrating) – some of the football was simply dazzling. The intricate passing, the link up play, the movement – it seems to all be coming together – some of the football we witnessed on Sunday would have been salivated over by the media had the players been wearing Barcelona shirts or even Arsenal shirts – but we are given little credit which is actually fine with me. We are currently flying under the radar with all eyes on City and United. For what it’s worth, for all the power and the might of United, City’s results and sheer will to win reminds me very much of our first season under Mourinho – they have the attitude of Champions.
The only thing that could de-rail them is the kind of thing we are seeing with Tevez at the moment. They have a number of volatile, potentially disruptive players and how they handle this current situation could have far reaching consequences. Mancini has made his position very clear – the club have to back him now – no half measures – they are one of very few clubs that can do that without having to consider the financial aspect of the situation – waver now and it will end up costing more than just money.
But I digress….
Those of you who read this column often may have expected to see an endless diatribe against Kalou following his less than glorious contribution last week against Valencia – well you are going to be disappointed (or not as the case may be) – his absence in the team facing Bolton I believe spoke volumes. I think his days are numbered – about time, he can’t complain – he’s had a good run in a team which was and is way beyond his capabilities. AVB has proved that he is neither a stupid nor a sentimental man. You play on merit alone – ask Daniel Sturridge.
He is looking a class act and also proves that if you are good enough – you will play. I know this seems a bit petty and mean spirited but I was really hacked off with his not celebrating his two goals against Bolton. He played there I know – blah blah blah – it was just twelve games – TWELVE games – he hardly could have developed a bond that requires such a reverential display? To be honest it all looked just a little contrived and just added to my general negative attitude towards him. Don’t get me wrong, I think he’s a great footballer and seems to moving up leaps and bounds towards an automatic first choice position, but personally, I just can’t seem to force myself to like him – and that’s quite unusual for me.
Put someone in a royal blue shirt and that makes them family but that just hasn’t happened with Sturridge – even Kalou – although I find him flawed as a footballer, I like him as a person – Sturridge not so much. There seems to be an arrogance there that someone of his limited time at the top should not have yet developed.
I am hoping his meteoric rise through the ranks continues, obviously so that the team benefits but also as an interesting social experiment on myself to discover when I like him more, the more successful he is – watch this space.
As usual, the international break falls just as things were beginning to tick for us – typical. I am taking advantage and heading off to Spain for a week and hoping the break doesn’t interfere with the progress we are making. Still early days, but AVB looking good up to now. Come on you blues!