Frank Lampard's future at Chelsea in jeopardy after snub

18 October 2011 03:27
Frank Lampard's long-term future at Chelsea is in jeopardy after he was dropped and appeared to storm away from the Stamford Bridge pitch.

The 33-year-old midfielder was an unused substitute in Chelsea's 4-1 win against Swansea and seemed to react badly as new manager Andre Villas-Boas begins to make his mark on the club's old guard.

Lampard disappeared into the dressing room before the end of the second half after teenager Josh McEachran was preferred to replace Raul Meireles in the 83rd minute.

Now you see him, now you don't: Frank Lampard cuts an unhappy figure on the bench and, after being snubbed by Andre Villas-Boas, gets up and walks away without a backward glance five minutes from time

The victory could have marked Lampard's 350th Premier League appearance for the club he joined in 2001 in an ?11million move from West Ham.

But this is the latest chapter in what already looks like becoming a sorry season for him.

Lampard has now been left on the bench for three of the past four Chelsea games and he was taken off at half-time in the other, the 3-1 defeat at Manchester United.

Villas-Boas insisted Lampard should not be concerned but it is starting to look like the beginning of the end for the midfielder at the club.

The manager said: 'I don't know but this is nothing to speculate about. They are team players and the players want the team to perform, and Frank is like that. He is a fantastic player, a magnificent player and soon he will be back to the team, sooner than you expect.

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'The decisions today were mainly based on the fact we played 120 minutes (in the Carling Cup) on Wednesday and these players were fresh, apart from John Terry and Petr Cech. In a tight calendar like we have, it's important to have squad rotation.'

But Lampard losing his place in the Chelsea pecking order will add to his disappointment at international level, with England manager Fabio Capello apparently deciding the midfielder will no longer be a regular starter.

The Italian prefers Scott Parker and Jack Wilshere, among others, when they are fit and the Chelsea stalwart came off the bench late on in the European Championship qualifying win against Bulgaria earlier this month.

Changing of the guard: Lampard is substituted by Scott Parker against Wales

The pace and direction of Lampard's passing has been questioned by some observers, while Villas-Boas has looked to increase the speed of his team's play.

The Chelsea manager has been searching for a way to get Fernando Torres back to his best and employed new signing Juan Mata behind the ?50m striker.

It worked initially as Torres scored Chelsea's impressive first goal. But the Spaniard spoiled his day by getting sent off for an ugly tackle on Swansea's Mark Gower.

Lampard is fourth in Chelsea's all-time appearance list, behind Ron Harris, Peter Bonetti and John Hollins.

While he has not started the most recent Carling Cup and Champions League games, until Saturday he had started all but one of their League games since last December.

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Source: Daily_Mail