Unwanted Frank shines again for Blues

Stoke City 0 Chelsea 4

Unwanted Frank shines again for Blues

Frank Lampard still has plenty to offer Chelsea.

But unfortunately for those who play with him and for those who sing his name loudly from the terraces, Chelsea’s hierarchy seem to disagree.

There will be no new deal offered to Lampard, 34, whose current contract runs out at the end of the season and the veteran midfielder will be told to empty his locker at the club’s training ground in May.

However, in the remaining four months of the season, there will be plenty of reminders of what the England international can do on the field and Saturday’s 4-0 demolition of error-prone Stoke, was one.

There was barley a minute on the clock before the cries of “super Frank” came from the travelling contingent at the Britannia Stadium and he responded with a stellar showing.

Lampard knitted Chelsea’s play together seamlessly. He also got his 194th goal for the club to move just eight goals behind the club’s all-time top scorer Bobby Tambling. His name is etched in the club’s history for sure, even if it is not on a new contract.

Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez remains coy on the future of Lampard and while he is unlikely to be in charge beyond this summer, even he must think the man who has won every major club honour at Stamford Bridge is worthy of a contract extension.

Cech is sure he is and seems to be struggling to accept that he may not play alongside the midfielder beyond this campaign.

“There is still four months to go to the end of the season and I couldn’t say anything about Frank,” said Cech before continuing to laud Lampard. “We will see at the end of the season whether he stays or not.

“I don’t know [if there is a chance Lampard will stay] as I am not a director but if he keeps playing like that then obviously he will keep asking about the extension.

“The team changed, his age changed, but he is still important for the team. You can see that he might not start every game, he might not play every game, but when he plays, he plays well with his quality and his experience.

“This is something that is great to see. I have known him a long time. He has been a fantastic player for the club. He continues to do so, so it is fantastic for him.”

Age seems to be the concern about Lampard, but he showed no signs of weary legs at 34 as he rampaged from box to box all day Saturday.

While Lampard had a good day, Jonathan Walters had the opposite. It was so bad for Walters, he would probably have lost a winning lottery ticket if it had fell into his grasp on Saturday.

Two own goals — heading Cesar Azpilicueta’s cross past Asmir Begovic before the break was bad enough, but nodding a Juan Mata corner past his own goalkeeper in the second half, was worse again.

But after Lampard had scored from the spot and Eden Hazard struck a stunning effort past Begovic from 25 yards, Walters was gifted a glorious chance to put a slightly good ending on a horror story.

John Terry tripped him in the area, he brushed himself off but then struck the penalty over the bar as his woe worsened. The Republic of Ireland international was probably waiting to wake up in his bed in a cold sweat as this, surely, had to be a worst nightmare for a man making his 100th Premier League appearance.

It was quite that bad, according to Begovic, who backed him to bounce back and expects Crystal Palace to suffer the backlash when they visit on Tuesday night for an FA Cup third round replay.

“I don’t think anybody will worry about Jon Walters,” claimed the goalkeeper. “His character and personality won’t be affected by anything that happens to him.

“It was a couple of unfortunate incidents for him. I take the blame for the second goal because I probably should have come for the ball, but seeing him there I decided not to.

“He is a big enough character to bounce back and I am sure he will probably score a goal on Tuesday.”

Walters is certainly a strong enough character to put this down in the book as just an off day but are Chelsea about to make a much more costly blunder in letting Lampard slip away? The midfielder will certainly have plenty to say on the pitch that will make it seem so.

STOKE (4-4-1-1): Begovic 7; Cameron 5, Shawcross 6, Huth 5, Wilkinson 7; Walters 4, Whelan 6, Nzonzi 7, Etherington 6 (Kightly 86); Adam 5 (Whitehead 79); Jones 5 (Jerome 78).

CHELSEA (4-4-1-1): Cech 7; Azpilicueta 6 (Ferreira 83), Ivanovic 6, Luiz 6, Cole 7; Hazard 7, Lampard 8, Ramires 6, Bertrand 5; Mata 7 (Terry 79); Ba 5 (Torres 71, 6).

Referee: Andre Marriner 7

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