Frank Lampard has widely been considered one of the best midfielders in his generation and he proved it on Saturday with two huge goals over Aston Villa to clinch a top-four spot in the Premier League for Chelsea. Lampard’s club went into Villa Park and walked away with a win to move into third place in the league table with 72 points.
The win practically guarantees Chelsea with a berth in the Champions League next season and makes things quite interesting for Arsenal and Tottenham as the season draws to a close. The Gunners are currently one-point ahead of the Spurs for fourth-place and the final spot in the Champions League with only two matches left.
Aston Villa jumped out to an early lead at home on Saturday when Christian Benteke went on a strong run and scored in the 14th minute. The score remained 1-0 in favor of Aston Villa until Frank Lampard came alive in the second half.
His first netter came in the 61st minute to level the match at one, just moments after Villa’s Benteke was sent off with a second yellow card in the 58th. Lampard’s 203rd goal of his career with Chelsea came in the 88th minute to pass Bobby Tambling as the club’s top scorer of all-time.
Frank Lampard joined Chelsea in 2001 after stints with Swansea City and West Ham. Since joining the Blues, Lampard has appeared in 559 matches, 382 of which have come in the Premier League, and he is now officially the club’s top scorer.
The crucial win for Chelsea didn’t come without the loss of two stars. John Terry was carried off on a stretcher with obvious pain in his left leg while Eden Hazard pulled up with a hamstring injury in stoppage time.
Chelsea finished the match with only nine players on the pitch and the club is more than likely going to miss both Terry and Hazard when they face Benfica in the Europa League final on Wednesday.
The loss keeps Aston Villa in the relegation drama with 40 points in the table as Wigan Athletic is just below the cut line at 35 points with two matches to go. Villa will face Wigan on May 19th in their final contest of the season which could be a crucial relegation match if Wigan tops Arsenal this coming Tuesday.
Chelsea will face Everton in their final Premier League match of the season on May 19th as well. Frank Lampard will need to stay hot in the final weeks as John Terry and Eden Hazard may not return due to injury.
Here’s video of Frank Lampard talking about his record breaking day after the win over Aston Villa.
[Image via Александр Мысякин]