Frank Lampard and José Mourinho – Will the student beat the master?

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After opening an eight point lead over the second best in the Premier League, Chelsea are now leading the table with a total of zero points following their defeat at White Hart Lane. The gap has been closing for a while now as defending champions, Manchester City have been picking up the crumbs on the trail to the top and finally they are head to head with Chelsea, literally. The Premier League in its massive excitement proved once again it could surprise us as its writers scripted an insane roll call of New Year’s Day results.

Manchester City would play before Chelsea along with the rest of the exciting fixtures and would see their two goal lead against Sunderland disappear via two ex-City players. Both Jack Rodwell and Adam Johnson, League winners with City in their two title winning-seasons, scored to make it 2-2. City seemed to be slipping away from catching up with Chelsea and Frank Lampard was on the pitch for just a few seconds before the equalizer.  The game was set up for him to grab the winner, and he duly complied. City would win 3-2 and Frank Lampard had scored his third decisive goal for the Citizens.

Three years is a long time for a coach of Jose Mourinho’s caliber to not win a league title. Should he indeed go three years without one, his title of ‘the Special One’ might look to be merely a spectre of his past in Chelsea colors. Jose Mourinho won two titles in his three full seasons at Stamford Bridge before leaving only to return to Chelsea last season. In his return season, the Portuguese tactician played down his side’s chances of clinching

the league even when they were so close, but he assured the media that next season his ‘little horse’ would challenge. Well, Mourinho is always right isn’t he? Top of the league in January, but only byalphabetical order, his Chelsea side look very uncharacteristic of the stereotypical ‘Mourinho’s teams’ playing way too decent and easy on the eye football. Despite that being an aesthetic upgrade, every pro has it’s con.

Chelsea’s introduction of Cesc Fabregas has revamped an entire team in terms of gameplay and flow. Hazard, Oscar and Willian enjoy the burst and adrenaline of freedom teasing an taunting the opponents without worrying too much about defending, while Nemanja Matic is the embodiment of steadfastness in front of the defense. Thibaut Courtois is a breath of fresh safe hands and Diego Costa is ‘the Guv’nor’ controlling the outcome of pressing matters upfront. The bench is also adequate and more than able to make most starting 11s in the League, but what happens when this ‘sexy football’ doesn’t work against at team that has just come to defend? What happens if the eye of the needle is just a tad but strong to thread a pass?

Frank Lampard scored against Bolton in 2006 to cinch Chelsea’s second Premier League title. In 2010 that same man was the one to score an important goal in a 2-0 victory over Liverpool to put Chelsea on course to win 8-0 against Wigan to win the title on the final day. A day on which, of course, he scored again.

Lampard has been involved in all Chelsea’s title chasing teams and for the first time, he stands another chance of winning one in a different shade of blue. You can imagine the goosebumps on the skin of Chelsea fans every time he scores an equalizer or a winner for City. Thus far, three of his seven goals for the club have been vital and have helped City reclaim seven points. So do the maths, Chelsea led with eight points and Lampard is responsible for a full seven of City’s eight comeback points to be joint leaders of the League table. It couldn’t be scripted any better. Are we set up for a student vs. master finale in an absurd sort of way? All we can do is speculate and witness but nonetheless, the story is incredible..

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Aaron West

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