Premier League review: In defence of Frank Lampard
Alex Sharp looks back at the sixth instalment of top flight action as Lampard warmed the Chelsea bench
He’s on the bench, he’s been dropped by Fabio Capello – and now he’s “stormed off down the tunnel”.
Frank Lampard’s England and now Chelsea future has been obliterated by the media following his bench warming duties at Stamford Bridge on Saturday – but it seems some have missed the point.
Twenty-two goals in 88 games for England, three Premier League titles, 349 Chelsea appearances, which includes a record of 164 consecutive appearances. The figures are staggering and so are the claims that Frank is finished.
André Villas-Boas looks like a cunning fox. Lampard is 33 and with Chelsea in four competitions these days the big boss made a shrewd move against Swansea City””a side they tore apart with 10 men””to rest a key figure in their trophy hunt. Why can’t he rest a star? He’s done it with Didier Drogba and will certainly have to with John Terry eventually.
For anyone who thinks Lampard’s days in a Chelsea shirt are over – just look at Ryan Giggs. Lampard may have to accept he’ll play less games and probably sit deeper in future but he’ll continue to be a key man for The Blues.
Elsewhere, and another nugget of news from the weekend: Sir Alex Ferguson claimed television is “God” and has far too much power in the Premier League.
If he stepped back and thought about his comments he’d realise the £60m Manchester United raised from TV rights for winning the title last time out paid for his summer signings.
However, Sir Alex will not have been too impressed to see his side’s perfect record this season blemished thanks to journeyman Peter Crouch’s header at the Britannia Stadium. It was Stoke’s first league point against United since 1984 and illustrates the exponential success being achieved by the Potters under Tony Pulis.
Lighting up The Emirates this week was Robin van Persie, who brought up his milestone 100th goal for the Gunners. His double against a hapless Bolton on Saturday meant he’s now banged in 20 goals in 23 Premier League appearances in 2011. It’s clear that if he could retain his fitness he would be plying his trade at the likes of Real Madrid, BarÃ§a or Inter. Without him Arsenal lack a certain pernash going forward, especially as Jack Wilshere is out until February after ankle surgery and won’t feature in any of Arsenal’s Champions League group games.
Bolton, meanwhile, have equalled their worst league start ever, which was back in 2007 when Sammy Lee was “˜in charge’. Could Owen Coyle’s tenure at The Reebok be on a tight rope? Routed to the bottom of the table, having already conceded 16 and lost the likes of Johan Elmander and Daniel Sturridge over the summer, The Trotters are in trouble. In their defence, they’ve had to play Manchester United, City, Liverpool and Arsenal in their first six games – and they’ve got Chelsea as the next visitors to the Reebok.
Meanwhile, Newcastle are riding high in fourth and unbeaten. How? Surely a club run by the insufferable Mike Ashley can’t be stable on and off the pitch? During a summer of turmoil and lack of transfer success, Alan Pardew lost Joey Barton, Kevin Nolan and Jose Enrique – yet somehow they’re still pulling out results above the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool and Spurs. Impressive stuff.