Frank Lampard’s blistering form for Chelsea last term virtually forced the club to hand the veteran a new contract, but there will no room for sentimentality after the return of his former mentor Jose Mourinho and he will struggle to author over 10 goals in the Premier League once more in 2013/14.
The Blues’ creaking midfield maestro has notched at least 10 league goals during each of his last 10 seasons at Stamford Bridge, clearing the 10.5 goal bar Bwin have set for him in 2013/14 in seven of those campaigns.
Few of those seasons can have been more impressive than the one just gone, when he defied efforts to finesse him into a more pipe and slippers role under Rafa Benitez by repeatedly scoring vital goals, ending up with the kind of scoring ratio – 15 goals in 29 starts – that most top flight strikers would be proud of.
However, despite the return of Jose Mourinho – under which Lampard enjoyed some of his finest moments as a Chelsea player – he’s expected to fall short of 11 strikes in this campaign, an eventuality which can be invested in at 7/10.
A long-standing vertebrae he may be for his club, but he has yet to play a minute of pre-season football for Chelsea after injuring his achilles.
This has seen Marco van Ginkel – an £8m arrival from Vitesse Arnhem – get plenty of game time for the Blues in his absence, even being trusted against the likes of Inter and AC Milan in the International Champions Cup friendly tournament.
As the Chelsea midfield evolves under Mourinho it will prove harder and harder for Lampard to get games and at 35 years old it seems likely that he’ll have to play a deeper midfield role than the one that has traditionally seen him get so many scoring opportunities due to his aging legs.
The Blues have also welcomed back Michael Essien from Real Madrid and have John Obi Mikel and impressive triallist Bertrand Traore also clamouring for inclusion, making it hard to see Lampard getting the Premier League game time to surpass the 10-goal mark once more.
Furthermore, having match fitness to make up on his colleagues could allow them additional time to shine in his absence and make elbowing his way back to automatic pick status all the tougher.