At half time during the Swansea game, Bobby Tambling came out to thunderous applause and adulation from the Stamford Bridge faithful. Tambling is of course Chelsea’s goal scoring record holder and possibly one of the nicest most humble men in football. In a way it’s a shame that its his record that we are all hoping so desperately that Frank Lampard breaks.
Regular readers of this column will know that I have written a number of eulogies about Frank Lampard, but there are not enough words to fully convey what he has meant to Chelsea and us fans over the years. When he stepped up to take that penalty yesterday, the whole ground held their breath hoping, praying that he would score and inch himself even closer to the record. He duly obliged of course but he is so much more than “just” a goal scorer. When he plays, the whole team looks more at ease – more comfortable on the ball. I know that we can’t hang on to him forever, but he still can give the team so much and if those running this club cannot recognise this then you really have to question their judgement.
In fact as much as I know we will have to eventually move on, I can’t help but feel more confident when I see Cole, Lampard and Terry in the starting line up. I’m not sure if its just the familiarity, but I think generally the other players also have a confidence when they play and I don’t think the team either are quite ready to let them go just yet. It’s Catch 22 to be honest – the team are not ready to let them go – but will they ever be ready if they are still here and playing regularly? And anyway, can anything be decided in terms of the way we line up for next season if the new manager is not yet in place?
According to the papers we are on the verge of signing both Falcao and Schurrie – without a confirmed manager; so who exactly is buying these players? What kind of experience and track record do they have in buying top rated players? How do they know the style of football the manager is going to play & so will these new players fit? Answers on a postcard.
The Swansea result was huge – we needed to win that, especially given the Spurs draw the day before. With United next week and Spurs soon we need to pick up points at the “easier” games to lessen the impact should we drop points against our direct rivals. Every game until the end of the season is now a “big game” and Benitez has hopefully learnt a big lesson from the City semi-final – that you do not leave out your big game players for these types of games.
I thought it was interesting that he played both Terry and Lampard out in Basel – given that it has been pretty obvious up to now that Benitez does not perceive them as starters in what he considers his strongest team. There are some that believe that it wasn’t even Benitez’s decision to sideline Terry and Lampard – that these were orders from “above” – I’m not sure I subscribe to that – it would be a pretty dangerous strategy as those at the top have made it pretty clear that top 4 is a priority – and they are more aware than most what these players can give you. Personally I think Benitez sidelined them in an attempt to demonstrate to the footballing world at large that he calls the shots – despite his interim tag.
Not sure he’s pulled that one off. All it has demonstrated is that Benitez’s ego still gets in the way of him being an effective manager. And now that we get to squeaky bum time, he has had to go back to these same players to save the season.
Of course, he is not the first manager to try and dump the old guard – AVB tried this with unpalatable results too – as we know, he was sacked before he could put the remainder of this project into effect. But, I would guess that he too would have had to go back cap in hand at some point, although by the time his tenure ended he had already alienated certainly Lampard and most probably Terry too.
Benitez will want to leave Chelsea a “winner” and he knows that to do that, he needs to pick proven winners. Now that he has seen the error of his ways (hopefully), I feel a little more confident for the last few remaining games.
I would just like to sign off by waving Queen’s Park Rangers goodbye – West London is yours, apparently – well we’ll look after it for the next 20 years or so eh?
Posted by Trizia