Finding himself unmarked in the box, Lampard rose high and connected with Eden Hazard’s pin-point cross to head home Chelsea‘s first goal in the London Derby against West Ham United, scoring in the process his 200th goal for Chelsea. It would have been a remarkable achievement for any striker in the world, only Lampard is a midfielder. The headed goal was perhaps a testament in its own regard to the man’s versatility; in that list of 200 goals there are tap-ins, 20-30 yard piledrivers, headed goals, cheeky lobs and a good number of skillfully dispatched penalties.
Lampard now stands just a couple of goals behind Bobby Tambling’s all time record for Chelsea – 202 goals. Three more and he will have added yet another feather to the cap that is pretty overcrowded by now. With him having achieved and won everything in football with Chelsea, how must West Ham feel to have let such a talent go to a club they decidedly don’t like a lot. Rubbing salt into their wounds, we take a look at some of Frank Lampard’s finest moments in a Chelsea shirt.
5. FA Cup Winner against Everton
May 30th, 2009
Frank Lampard has scored several screamers down the years, both from inside and outside the box and from most obnoxious of angles. Yet he hasn’t scored many from his left foot and certainly not many like this one.
Chelsea were drawing 1-1 with Everton at the Wembley Stadium in the FA Cup Final. The weeks leading up to the final had been underwhelming to say the least. Chelsea had been unceremoniously dumped out by Barcelona in the Champions League semi-finals and the Premier League had been lost long back under Luiz Scolari. So in the 76th minute, Lampard decided to take matter in his own hands. Skipping past a challenge, he stuck a left-footed screamer from outside the box, past a helpless Tim Howard to give Chelsea the lead for the first time in the game. Even in a season of turmoil, Chelsea managed to pick up the grand old cup.
4. The goal against Barcelona
October 31st, 2006
Barcelona’s goalkeeper on the night, Victor Valdes, still must think that, that shouldn’t be going in. But it did! Chelsea and Barcelona were playing each other in the Champions League for the third year running, only this time the stakes were not as high as the previous years.
With Barcelona leading 1-0 on the night at the formidable Camp Nou, Lampard received the ball getting dragged to the byline. With Barcelona players closing in, in a moment of brilliance Frank Lampard turned and decided to go for a cheeky lob, which paid off spectacularly. Puyol’s reaction to the goal was funny.
3. The Penalty against Liverpool
April 30th, 2008
There cannot be enough words of praise for a man who must have been emotionally torn and at the same time was shouldering the expectations of thousands standing there in front of Matthew Harding Lower to dispatch home the penalty which will pave Chelsea’s way to the Champions League final. Six days prior to this second leg clash of Semi-Final of the Champions League, Frank Lampard’s mother died of pneumonia.
Yet he sent Reina the wrong way, coolly slotting home the penalty kick. Again not the most spectacular of goals, but certainly one to be remembered of his very best when seen in the backdrop of all the emotions and grandeur of the stage. He let his emotions spill out in the celebrations but not in his performance. The fact that it made way for Chelsea’s advance to Champions League final at the expense of fierce rivals Liverpool is what will always make this goal even more special.
2. THAT Goal against Bolton
April 30th, 2005
Among the 200 goals he has scored, this one is Lampard’s favourite and with good reason. Not just the move or the finish but the history that is associated with this goal as far as Chelsea are concerned is quite frankly second to none.
The goal ended a 50 year wait for the Premier League title on part of the Chelsea faithful and paved way for a new era for the Blues when Frank Lampard, having run across the length of the field to latch on to Claude Makelele’s looping defence splitting pass, deftly sidestepped Jussi Jääskeläinen, giving Chelsea a two-goal cushion and all but winning the game and the title in the process. Chelsea weren’t renowned for giving away two goal leads in those days.
1. Leading Chelsea to glory in Munich
May 19th, 2012
There are two ways to see it, either that John Terry raised the bar of stupidity ever so high at the biggest of stages, or that it was Frank Lampard who was destined to captain the club on its greatest night. Either way, it was Lampard who wore the armband and led Chelsea out at the Allianz Arena to produce yet another display of grit and determination, putting aside football for a few hours, and finally claim the one trophy they had been running after for years. Even for a player who has achieved so much in football, the joy was almost childlike.
For Lampard as a footballer, the performance that night was yet another noteworthy one, when everyone had been writing him off. Lampard worked his socks off on a night when Chelsea needed his experience the most and was immense in the midfield throughout. He also scored the crucial penalty when Chelsea were 3-1 down at the hands of Bayern Munich and not many would have coolly roofed it like he managed to do. After years of heartbreak, he was naturally one of those who were absolutely overwhelmed by Chelsea’s achievement. At the end of the match, Lampard could be seen celebrating with the fans. Just typical of the man.
Didier Drogba once said that Lampard is a striker. Decidedly, the big man didn’t get many things wrong.