Thank You Super Frank – A Tribute

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Updated: July 4, 2014

These are tricky times for a Chelsea fan. Essien, Cole, Lampard – all these legends have made their way out of the door to make way for the next generation of Mourinho’s world-beaters. Of the three, it is Super Frank’s departure that has broken the most hearts. Not just because he was an amazing player, but because he was the reason many people, myself included, started following Chelsea. He remains the finest midfielder I have come across so far – hardworking, goalscoring and tactically astute. But despite all this, outside the Chelsea circle, he remains vastly underrated. Even in the World Cup dead rubber against Costa Rica, he was able to pull strings better than the much hyped and praised Gerrard. A smart guy with an IQ of 150, just 10 less than Albert Einstein, Lampard is humble and hardworking to the core, making him all the more endearing.

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Having adored Lampard more than any other player while growing up, my happy memories are full of his brilliance. The penalty against Liverpool right after his mother’s demise, and the subsequent outflow of pure emotion surely brought a tear to every Chelsea fan’s eyes. The video still makes me emotional. His penalty technique remains one of the best in the world. I was so influenced by Frank, that I used to imitate his penalty run-up and shoot right in the middle. But on account of not being Super Frank, my penalties got stopped. Also, the video where West Ham fans criticized Uncle Harry for picking Frank despite there being ‘better’ options ! How fitting was it that Lampard reached the 200 goal mark in Chelsea colours against the Hammers ?

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He had the special ability of shifting to the highest gear during the big stage.  The pressure of the big stage seemed to bring the best out of him, just like most others of Mourinho’s previous class. Be it in the title clincher against Bolton, or in the Champions League time and time again, he always had something extra to offer. He played not just an important part in helping Chelsea win titles, he had a knack of being the one collecting the trophy. The Champions League triumph in Munich and the Europa League win in Amsterdam came with Lampard leading the side.

While he has provided us with plenty of nostalgia, it the quality of his performances day in and day out that he will forever be remembered for. A total of 251 goals over around 844 appearances, with not a single game wherein he switched off or dropped his performance levels. Called ‘Fat Frank’ in jest by critics, he would always be ready for an attacking foray or for tracking back to defend. His defensive abilities are vastly underrated, with Frank being perfectly capable of positioning himself in order to cut out passing lanes or make in a clean tackle to retrieve possession. On the attacking front, while he was the scorer of many goals, he was also the source of many. His intricate through passes carving open a defence or his long passes setting an attacker through on goal are why he remained a regular under all Chelsea managers until age or AVB caught up with him. His partnership with Drogba, where both would create chances for each other is the stuff of legend.

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Being the best midfielder to have donned the Royal Blue of Chelsea, Lampard settled brilliantly with all the players brought in to shore the midfield up during his time at the club. Be it with the complete Michael Ballack or the tireless Micheal Essien, the tactically sound Claude Makelele or the eccentric David Luiz, the often inept Ramires or the rock-like strong Matic, Lampard was always at home in that pairing. His versatility also provided the manager with an option of either playing him in a pivot of a 4-2-3-1 or in an advanced role in a 4-3-3.

A nice gauge of Frank’s brilliance would be a comparison with Paul Scholes and Steven Gerrard, his finest peers in the center of midfield. Scholes basically ran United’s midfield during his day like a dynamo and he was so vital for the club that they brought him out of retirement to prevent their midfield from getting run over. Gerrard was aggressive and attack minded and has always been Liverpool’s most important outlet for goals and attacks.

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All mentioned Stats are from August ’09 to May ’13, courtesy WhoScored.com

Comparison

Goals

When it comes to scoring goals, no midfielder quite bangs ’em in like Super Frank. Chelsea’s all time leading scorer is, unsurprisingly the runaway victor if the tie were to be settled by goals.

Key Stats

Scholes and Gerrard boast of better tackles per game than Lampard, but Lampard’s inclination to let it rip has him leading the shots per game standing. Gerrard carried Liverpool on his shoulders when he was not busy slipping or passing to opposition strikers, and it is well manifested by him having more key passes per game than Lampard.

Pass Stats

The prime responsibility of a central midfielder is to recycle possession and these three players are among the best in the business for that. While Scholes towers over the other two in all three sections, they remain respectable stats that make the three stand out from the rest.

Chelsea were really lucky to have Lampard don the jersey and represent the club. He remains a one in a million player, who is bound to get success in his future ventures overseas. As Jose Mourinho rightly said, “It’s not the end of Frank Lampard’s career in Chelsea. It’s just a little break”. All Chelsea fans look forward to seeing Super Frank return in some capacity in the near future once his playing career is over. A smart guy like him who understands the game so well would surely be a good coach. But till then, thank you Frank for all these glorious memories ! You shall always be loved, and never be forgotten.

3 Comments

  1. Pingback: (Heart)Breaking News – Lampard Finalizes Move to Manchester City - Chelsea Index

  2. kali dass

    August 5, 2014 at 4:35 PM

    Great piece of work really

  3. Shane

    August 15, 2015 at 10:08 PM

    Chelsea’s greatest ever player……far more better than Gerrard and Scholes

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