It was today confirmed by Carlo Ancelotti that Frank Lampard will be out for a further 2 or 3 weeks despite reports that he’d be back this weekend against Sunderland. Lampard has been absent since August, missing 14 games in this time. It is easy to have a moan about the bad-luck of it all for him and for Chelsea, but positives can be drawn from his absence.
Since Frank Lampard’s injury Chelsea’s strong squad has been experimented with and done very well. Whilst Yossi Benayoun’s chances were harshly taken away from him, there have been other players to make an impact.
Just as it looked as if he wasn’t going to make it at Chelsea, Yuri Zhirkov has been in excellent form recently and looks to be real competition for breaking into the Chelsea midfield three. Especially since his goal in Moscow, Zhirkov has looked ever more comfortable and happy with life at Chelsea.
Ramires was unlucky to become injured for a large portion of the last few months, but he has, in that time, begun to look better suited to the Premier League. When he first arrived he seemed out of sync with the team and worryingly weak for the Premier League. He put in a good display against Arsenal before being injured and was one of Chelsea’s best players against Liverpool on Sunday.
Another player who has had a few chances in the absence of Frank Lampard has been Josh McEachran. He has not been played extensively but has shown enough to really get Chelsea supporters excited about the future. He doesn’t look quite ready to be playing every week for a club the size of Chelsea but appears capable of doing so in the not too distant future.
Ultimately, considering Lampard is easily one of Chelsea’s best and most influential players, the team has been doing extremely well. Chelsea, without their most influential box-to-box midfielder, are top goal-scorers in the league and also have the tightest defence in the league.
There have been some slip-ups and disappointments in the league but Chelsea still stand clear at the top of the table by 4 points. As well as having a perfect home-start, Chelsea have, contrary to popular thought, had a good start away from home – they are, in fact, 2nd only to Arsenal on away-form. In addition, Chelsea have already qualified for the Champions League second round despite Lampard being absent throughout the group-games.
Of course it’s disappointing that Lampard will be out for even longer than expected but it’s not all bad news for Chelsea. Along with three younger players beginning to make a name for themselves at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea have also proven that they can still be the best team in England without one of their best players.