Two Frank Lampard strikes earn him record breaker status, whilst putting a big smile on the faces of those who took a short-term punt on the now Chelsea legend. Villa are consigned to defeat and are not out of the mire just yet, as they face a final day trip to Wigan without Christian Benteke after the Belgian saw red. Here’s the Stock Check on Saturday’s single league encounter…
On the Up
Selected for the Scout Picks ahead of both Eden Hazard and Juan Mata, it looked as though Lampard would be hard pushed to come out on top when the that pair were named in Rafa Benitez’s lineup. A brace of goals saw to that, however, sealing Chelsea’s club goalscoring record in the process. With 15 goals for the season, it seems remarkable that there is still doubt surrounding Lampard’s future at Stamford Bridge. Those who invested this week will be more than happy with the short-term returns and will hope that Lampard gets to say a potential farewell to the Chelsea faithful against Everton in Gameweek 38 with a Champions League place now all but sealed. Ramires’ suspension for his two yellows today can only help matters in that respect.
It was perhaps as surprise to see Hazard named on today’s teamsheet given his recent calf injury, as Benitez chose to risk the playmaker ahead of the midweek Europa League final with Benfica. Hazard duly delivered both assists for Lampard’s goals, taking him onto 16 for the season with frustrated Mata owners put in the shade again. The sight of Hazard limping from the field late on will be a concern for Benitez and, to a lesser extent, his Fantasy owners, however. The Chelsea boss has confirmed a hamstring problem and that Hazard will undergo a scan ahead of the midweek final.
It looked as though Benteke’s match was taking on a familiar pattern: a superbly taken opening goal took the Belgian to 19 for the season and continued an extraordinary run of form that has brought 14 goals since the turn of the year. However, a red card for two bookable offences ended Benteke’s day early and will see him suspended for what was a potentially profitable final day trip to Wigan, with Villa still not yet safe from the drop. His absence will be an unwanted final day problem for his owners and a major headache for Paul Lambert.