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Chelsea’s Lampard injury may not be the blow it seems

| 02.01.2014

Chelsea were dealt a double injury blow in the wake of their 2-1 win over Liverpool, with Frank Lampard and Branislav Ivanovic both ruled out until the end of January.

However the loss of Lampard in particular needn’t be of concern to punters of a Blue persuasion, or those considering backing them at 4/9 to overcome Derby in the sides’ Pride Park FA Cup third round clash.

Jose Mourinho’s side have won a modest 55 per cent of the matches in which the veteran midfielder has featured from the get-go this season.

When the West Ham Academy product has made the bench at best that win total rises to an impressive 80 per cent of the club’s 2013/14 outings.

Those victories include impressive home and away successes against Southampton and a 3-0 Stamford Bridge romp against Schalke in Champions League action.

Another potential benefit of Lampard’s spell with the nurse will be the increased likelihood of starts for Juan Mata.

While the pair cannot be said to perform exactly the same function, they seem to have an oddly polarised relationship in Jose Mourinho’s understanding of the Chelsea dynamic.

The two-time reigning Chelsea player of the year has struggled for game time this term, yet he has started all bar two of the 10 games Lampard hasn’t.

Meanwhile the Stamford Bridge side’s shift towards a 4-3-3 formation has accompanied their coalescence into serious title challengers over the Christmas period.

Setting up in this manner would seem to precluded the regular starting of Lampard, who may not be able to stand up to the physical rigours of the more box-to-box nature of playing in a midfield three on a week-in-week-out basis.

One of the withdrawn roles in a 4-2-3-1 seems far more suitable for a veteran of his ilk these days, so if Mourinho is to switch his formational allegiance, Lampard’s absence will also offer a useful trial period in the new permutation.

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Thomas Reynolds