Frank Lampard Agrees on Contract-Extension With Chelsea

Frank LampardChelsea legend and history-maker Frank Lampard, having recently beaten Bobby Tambling’s record of most goals for Chelsea, finally put pen to paper on a new contract, keeping him at the club for another year.

Lampard, who’s been at the club since July 2001, has played 608 games and scored 203 goals for Chelsea. His record-breaking goals came early last month when Chelsea faced Aston Villa away in their second-last Premier League game this season. In that game, he scored his second Premier League brace this season; sealing a Champions League spot for his club. In addition to those two, Lampard scored 13 other Premier League goals (Chelsea’s top scorer in the League) and 2 FA Cup goals for Chelsea this season. He’s also provided 8 assists.

Chelsea Chief Executive, Ron Gourlay, said that talks had been going on since the end of last year, with discussions being positive, contrary to what many had started to speculate. It took some time, however, for an official announcement to be made. Lampard signed a contract extension on May 16th, right after Chelsea’s Europa League triumph.

The tree-time Chelsea Player of the Year did not hide his excitement and stated on the club website:

“I’m absolutely delighted. Everybody knows I always maintained the dream was to stay at Chelsea. We’ve been talking for ages and even though it went on for quite a period it was always amicable. I want to thank Mr. Abramovich for everything he’s done in making the dream a reality.”

“I love this club, the staff, the players and especially the supporters, who have treated me fantastically since the day I arrived. The thought of helping the club to more success in the forthcoming years is all I ever wanted. I couldn’t be happier.”

Frank LampardA large majority of Chelsea supporters were pleased with the news that their legend would stay for another season as well as Bobby Tambling, who presented Frank with a Special Recognition Award later on the evening of the 16th at Chelsea’s Player of the Year Award Ceremony:

“I have so much respect for him, both as a footballer and as a man. He might have a few trophies in his cabinet more than me, but he’s so humble and he treats everybody as though they’re the same as him.”

“I can honestly say that I am so happy, and I’m sure most of you are, to hear that he’s here for another season and there’s no bias in the fact that I think that he’s one of the greatest players Chelsea’s ever had.”

When asked what was going through his mind when he broke Bobby Tambling’s record (which had stood for 40 years) after picking up his award, Lampard answered:

“Getting the equalizing goal on the day and drawing with the great man himself was a big deal for me. I can’t really explain it. I thought it would be good when I broke the record, but I didn’t realize quite how good it would feel.”

The fans, Aston Villa, my teammates at the end, not just celebrating the goal on the pitch, in the dressing room, it was quite emotional for me. When I signed, I didn’t think I would get anywhere near 200 goals or all the medals that we all won so just a big thanks to the club as a whole.”

Frank Lampard will remain at Chelsea until 2014 before anything else is decided by the club.

Written by Ange Marline

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The Massive Effect Juan Mata Has Had on the Chelsea Club of Today

Juan MataFrom the beginning of this season, it was clear to see how important Juan Mata was going to be for Chelsea if they were to exceed the achievements of last season. The little Spaniard started the season off in fine form as Chelsea went to Wigan on the opening weekend.

He looked very bright going forward with his close-touch football and skillful style of play. He was an instant hit, and all throughout the season, has been the catalyst and play maker for most of Chelsea’s attacks during games. He has even chipped in with goals and assists too, something which he has added to his game more.

People may have expected summer signings Eden Hazard or Oscar to have more of an impact because of their stylish football backgrounds, but not many would have suspected Juan Mata to be so vital in what has turned out to be an up and down season for the West London side.

It’s clear that Chelsea do look to be a completely different side when Mata isn’t on the pitch for them. They lack that final cutting edge or extra creativity that they sometimes need in order to pick a pass out or create a chance from very little to start with. It’s not that Chelsea rely on Mata, but they do rely on a player to be productive on the ball.

Chelsea look to be a much better attacking side with Juan Mata, and for me, he should have a free role on the pitch to play on either wing or in the center of midfield as he is able to find a teammate in a dangerous position to kick start a move for his side. Not only are they a better attacking side with him on the pitch, but they do defend better, as he does help out his defense and makes up the numbers when the opponents are attacking.

Juan Mata influences a game and team like only he can. He uses his pace, vision, and natural instinct to create something out of nothing for his team. He possibly makes them look like they are serious title contenders for next season and a very difficult side to play against. Playing alongside the likes of Frank Lampard, Eden Hazard, Oscar, and Ramires is something which Mata has thrived on this season. Lampard has helped him improve immensely this season because of his experience in tough situations for his club.

Mata’s brilliant attitude to the game also brought back a lot of positivity to Chelsea during a difficult period in the season. He has since gotten better and better, and this talent hasn’t gone unnoticed either. He has developed into the player many thought he would become and has thoroughly settled into life in the Premier League.

Juan MataIn doing so, he has become Chelsea’s main man this season. In Chelsea’s current campaign, he has already managed a very respectable 18 goals and 27 assists in all competitions, making him the club’s top marksman this season. This more-or-less just indicates his total importance to a Chelsea team who are currently in a time of transition.

One game where you can look at his incredible influence is the win over Norwich City at Carrow Road back in December, where he got the only goal of the game in a hard fought victory. It was a rather lackluster performance from both teams as Norwich were set out to play for a draw, whereas for Chelsea it was a must win game for them.

Mata provided a piece of brilliance to lighten the mood in the whole ground and break the deadlock. Another game would have to be Chelsea’s 4-0 away win over Stoke City where he provided 3 assists, although 1 of his assist lead to an own goal by Stoke striker Jonathan Walters.

None-the-less, there is an ever-growing sign of importance for Juan Mata in this Chelsea team, and they look to be getting back on the right track and are ow picking up important results in competitions. He is developing and getting better and better as the season progresses, and very soon he could be considered as one of the best creators in the game.

Chelsea will surely count their lucky stars so they keep him on their team. This may just be the start of something very special for Juan Mata and his career.

Written by OneFutbol

The Weekly Football World Report: Issue #1

Wigan Athletic 2-1 Newcastle

Wigan Athletic 2-1 NewcastleThe Wigan-Newcastle match-up on Sunday proved a major talking point this weekend, and mostly due to controversial incidents. Newcastle, having had an injury to Mathieu Debuchy on 13 minutes, replaced him with Massadio Haidara. Newcastle had to make yet another substitution for Haidara, who was only on the pitch for 14 minutes, after a horrendous challenge by Wigan youngster Callum Mcmanaman,who was making his full premier league debut.

Not only was it a terrible challenge, but the referee Mark Halsey did not even blow for a foul! Replays showed not only was it worthy of a straight red card it could have been a career ending injury for Haidara.

Haidara luckily has got away with just ankle ligament damage and bruising. The tackle by Mcmanaman went unpunished  at the time, and the FA have issued a statement saying the Wigan youngster will face no further punishment as the linesman saw the incident!

And later on, the game was decided with the linesman failing to flag again despite his failure to spot Wigans winning goal being handled in the build up to the goal.

Illegal Goalkeeper Handling

Sticking with officials there seem to be more and more back passes being illegally picked up by the goalkeepers and going unpunished. In the Aston Villa win over QPR this weekend Julio Cesar clearly had the ball deliberately passed back to him, which he the casually picked up.

Blackburn Rovers Managerial Dilemma

Michael Appleton Sacked by Blackburn RoversBlackburn Rovers are looking for their 4th manager of the season after the surprise sacking of Manager Michael Appleton. Appleton had only been in charge for 67 days at Ewood Park after he left former club Blackpool after only 65 days in charge.

Blackburn started the season with Steve Kean in charge, and them had Eric Black in temporary charge as well as permanent appointment Henning Berg, who only lasted 57 days. Surely this is a sign that people who don’t understand football should not be allowed to take over Football Clubs. Nigel Adkins has been installed as favorite to take the managers hot seat.

Phil Neville to Join England U-21 Coaching Staff

Phil Neville will follow brother Gary into the England’s coaching set up. Neville, still playing for Everton (aged 36), will become part of the England U-21 Coaching staff for the European Championships hosted in Israel.

Michael Owen Set to Retire

Michael Owen has announced that he will retire at the end of the season. The former England international made 89 appearances for his country and has played a big role for Stoke City this season. The 33 year old has played for Liverpool, Real Madrid, Newcastle, and Manchester United before a move last summer to Stoke.

Frank Lampard Scores 200th Goal

Frank Lampard scored his 200th Goal for Chelsea at the weekend and is now only 3 goals away from passing top scorer in the clubs history, Bobby Tambling, who scored 202.

Written by ChalkOnYaBoots

Why Ferdinand Saga Shows England are Failing to Progress

Rio FerdinandIt was a development that bought all the typical England debates bubbling back to the surface. The classic club vs country row. The questioning of the desire of our top stars to turn out for their country. You know the rest.

But the quarrel surrounding Rio Ferdinand’s recall then withdrawal from the England squad for their upcoming World Cup qualifiers also highlighted another disparaging issue that continues to dominate England’s international scene. An issue that has been holding back England’s progress for some time and remains a concern despite some promising advances during Roy Hodgson’s reign.

It is the subject of this country’s so called ‘golden generation’, and the inability to move on from these players and think in the long term. The idea of the English golden generation, which has included the likes of David Beckham, Michael Owen, Frank Lampard, and Ferdinand, is a term that has caused much debate and ridicule.

They were the group of players who, after being so dominant at their clubs and winning so many plaudits at domestic level, were supposed to divert their class to the international stage and end England’s barren run in major tournaments.

But their time never came, as tournament after tournament has gone by with England failing to mount a serious challenge to claim their first trophy since their legendary 1966 World Cup win.

However, despite these shortcomings, many have clung to the idea that players of this ‘golden generation’ are untouchable when it comes to the England team. Despite the frustration of seeing England teams featuring the likes of Beckham and Lampard failing to deliver when it matters on the international scene, coaches and fans have developed a strong desire to see their names on the team sheet.

It is almost as if they can not imagine an England team without them and they see no other alternative. Even when attempts to take them out of the equation and try other systems have been made, it has not been received well.

Rio FerdinandWhen England were struggling away to minnows Andorra in a European Championship qualifying tie in 2007, travelling fans responded by chanting David Beckham’s name as a way of criticizing then manager Steve McClaren, who had dropped the former Three Lions captain upon taking over as head coach.

Many observers have also allowed their fondness for these players cloud their judgement and common sense when it comes to commenting on the issue. The calls by some for Michael Owen and Ferdinand to be included in Hodgson’s Euro 2012 squad last year was the perfect example of this.

Superb servants Owen and Ferdinand have been in for the national side at times over the years, it was ridiculous to consider them candidates for the squad given their record with fitness and injuries, especially Owen. Even Ferdinand’s club manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, doubted whether the defender could make a meaningful contribution in Poland and Ukraine.

He stated that Ferdinand’s fitness situation meant he would not be able to cope with the tight schedule of tournament football.

So it seems at times that many analysts concentrate too much on what players have done in the past rather than important factors such as more recent form and fitness.

Of course, we love to reminisce and treasure classic moments such as Owen’s hat-trick in the 5-1 win over Germany and Beckham’s last minute free kick against Greece in 2001. But to use moments like these as sole justification for their inclusion in vital tournament squads almost a decade later is ludicrous.

A mind-set like this also prevents younger, new talent getting opportunities in the side. England’s over-reliance and affection for their top stars has cost them dearly in the past.

England National TeamSven Goran Eriksson was particularly guilty of this, and his decisions to take a crocked David Beckham and Wayne Rooney to the 2002 and 2006 World Cups was to cost them dearly later in the tournaments. Fabio Capello took a reckless gamble on Gareth Barry in South Africa three years ago and paid the price when his lack of fitness was exposed by a rampant Germany side in the last 16.

Even the great Sir Alf Ramsey’s devotion to his World Cup winners was to prove costly, as this prevented a new generation of players gaining valuable international experience. This led to England failing to even qualify for successive World Cups in 1974 and 1978.

So England must break free of this habit and continue to blood new and younger talent. But this does not mean they should banish the more experienced in the squad completely. If they are in form and making valuable contributions to the team, of course they have earned their place.

But they should never be running unopposed for their place in the team, and we should not view a team without them as inconceivable. England only needs to look at how other nations have progressed for inspiration.

Germany’s loss of their captain Michael Ballack through injury was a huge blow to their 2010 World Cup hopes. However, this allowed younger players such as Thomas Muller and Mesut Ozil a chance in the first team. Both impressed hugely in South Africa and have been permanent fixtures in the side since.

Although Roy Hodgson’s squad is still a work in progress, it has been refreshing to see some of the younger and untested players getting time on the pitch.

This is a practice all of England must come to terms with if they are finally to shake off their under achieving international tag.

Written by Andrew Crawley

Frank Lampard Agrees to Join LA Galaxy at the End of the Season

Less than 2 months after David Beckham left LA Galaxy, it seems as though the MLS Champions have already found their replacement.

Frank LampardChelsea star Frank Lampard has reportedly agreed to join the Galaxy.

LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena made a public statement Thursday announcing his interest in the English midfielder.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if over the next week or so we’re going to have some sort of decision with a designated player. We wouldn’t rule a move for Lampard out. It’s always a possibility.”

The Galaxy has been in close contact with Lampard ever since Chelsea have made it clear that they will not be seeking a contract extension with him.

As of now, Lampard will be moving to the Galaxy on a free transfer at the end of Chelsea’s season when his contract expires.

However, a source told Goal.com earlier this week that although Lampard and LA Galaxy have reached an agreement, “It’s all but done.”

Ever since David Beckham’s departure after the Galaxy’s MLS Cup victory, the club has been search in for a “designated player” to fill his position.

Despite statements in December that Brazilian international Kaka was their prime target, it seems they have changed directions once they discovered a deal with him could not be reached.

LA Galaxy was not the only club looking to sign Lampard next season, though. Many other teams, including those playing in the Premier League, have declared interest in him.

As a result, the MLS Champions have made every effort to snag the midfielder, and it was a success.

Frank Lampard to Make LA Galaxy MoveDespite his age, the 34 year English international has been one of Chelsea’s leading goalscorers this season, racking up a total of 7 goals in his 14 appearances. He has also made the most ever Premier League appearances for Chelsea at a jaw-dropping 384 matches.

In addition to that, Lampard is also probably the greatest goal-scoring midfielder in Premier League history, finding the net 194 times in 584 appearances in England.

On Chelsea’s tour of North America last year, Lampard was questioned about his future at Stamford Bridge:

“I am not sure about a future in MLS. I have another year on my contract at Chelsea and we have a big season ahead of us with the Super Cup and the Club World Cup in December. It’s up to Chelsea to speak with me about my future and, at that time, I’ll speak with them.”

“I wouldn’t rule anything out at the moment.”

12 years at Chelsea have made Frank Lampard nothing short of a football legend. His leadership both offensively and defensively has been a vital aspect of Chelsea’s successes, primarily their Champions League victory last year, in which Lampard scored their 2nd penalty in a shootout that decided the match.

The Galaxy are extremely lucky to have reached a deal acquiring Lampard next season, filling the void left after Beckham’s departure from MLS. Lampard will certainly bring even more talent to the already dominant LA Galaxy, and will hopefully propel them to their 3rd consecutive MLS Cup victory in autumn of 2013.

Written by FutbolPulse