[Player Ratings] Aston Villa 1-2 Chelsea: Record Breaker Lampard Proves His Worth Again
Frank Lampard became Chelsea’s all-time leading goal-scorer, netting twice as his side came from behind against a resurgent Aston Villa. Here are player ratings.
Frank Lampard became Chelsea’s all-time leading goal-scorer, netting twice as his side came from behind against a resurgent Aston Villa.
Rafael Benitez’s side were staring defeat in the face when Christian Benteke put Villa in front after 14 minutes; the home side looking anything but the team that were thrashed 8-0 in the reverse fixture at Stamford Bridge in December. And when Ramires was dismissed moments before half-time, receiving a second yellow card for a high foot on Gabriel Agbonlahor, the stage looked set for a Villa victory which would all but ensure their Premier League survival.
But the game was turned on it’s head when Benteke saw red for a second bookable offence; a high foot on John Terry, and moments later parity was restored when Lampard struck following good work from Eden Hazard. Chelsea took control of the remaining half an hour and left it late to secure all three points: Lampard’s second of the game and 203rd goal in the blue of Chelsea proving decisive.
Cech- 6- made some decent saves when Villa caught the Blues on the counter but may be asked questions about Benteke’s goal which he might have done better with.
Cole- 7- was his usual, dependable self. Assured positionally and dealt superbly with an attacking Villa side. Regularly got forward to join the Chelsea attack.
Terry- 7- unfortunate that he had to come off injured with 15 minutes left. Had performed well having been restored to the centre of defence; may now be a doubt for Wednesday’s Europa League final.
Cahill- 5- has become Chelsea’s Mr Dependable this season but this was not his finest performance. Caught out on a number of occasions and was dominated by Benteke until he was dismissed.
Azpilicueta- 6– another player to fall below his usually very high standards. Whilst the Spaniard was keen to get forward, he was often caught out when Villa overloaded on the counter attack.
Ramires- 4– hardly set the world alight before seeing red for a second yellow. Let players and fans down with early dismissal.
Lampard- 9- a game-saving performance from Chelsea’s veteran. Worked hard when the game was going against Chelsea, and was decisive in his finishing in order to turn the game around. Wrote himself into the record books by becoming Chelsea’s all-time leading scorer with 203 goals. Past it? No chance.
Mata- 7- another player who let his own high standards fall way below the expected level. The Spaniard at least tried to make things happen, however his final ball fell short on a number of occasions.
Moses- 5- has found a Premier League starting berth hard to come by this season and won’t be rushed back into the team on this showing. Subbed at half-time after a lacklustre performance.
Hazard- 8- Chelsea’s second best performer after two-goal hero Lampard. The Belgian looked bright throughout and laid on Lampard’s first. Impressive.
Ba- 6- was outshone by Benteke in the battle of the lone strikers, but worked hard. Should have done better in the first half in a one-on-one situation with Brad Guzan.
Luiz- 7- was introduced at half-time for Moses and brought composure and surety to the midfield, helping to nulify the damaging effect of Ramires’ sending off.
Ivanovich- 6- came on in place of the injured Terry and played his part in a much improved defence in the second half.
Torres- N/A- came on with 2 minutes to play for Ba. Not enough time to impact on the game.
Defeat at Villa Park would have been disastrous for Benitez’s men, with Arsenal and Tottenham ready to pounce on any slip up. However, the Blues have all but assured Champions League football for next season, unless a freak number of goals help Spurs overhaul a 16 goal deficit, and not even odds of 1000/1 would see punters using their free bets to back Chelsea to finish fifth this season now. And victory was made possible by an ageing veteran who has constantly been made to justify his place in the side. Lampard will go down in history as the club’s most prolific goal-scorer but it is the goals of vital importance, such as these two, which should be heralded. The goals that clinch championships (think Bolton away in 2005), that win cups (remember his winner at Wembley, vs Everton in 2009?) and ensure Champions League qualification. Those goals are more than a number.
What did you make of Frank’s double? Having broken Bobby Tambling’s record, should Lampard go down as one of Chelsea’s greatest? Which of his 203 goals is the most memorable? And what are your thoughts going into Wednesday’s Europa League final? Please leave your comments below…
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