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Opinion: Chelsea Must Look Beyond The ‘Old Guard’ For The New Season

It was a rather symbolic gesture when Ashley Cole, John Terry, Frank Lampard and Petr Cech dispersed away from the rest of the Chelsea squad to applaud the Stamford Bridge crowd on Saturday evening, following Chelsea’s goalless draw against Norwich. It was a dividing of the past and the future of Chelsea’s squad, and questions arose of whether this really was the end for Chelsea’s old guard.

Cole, Terry and Lampard are all out of contract at the end of the season, and it remains to be seen whether their contracts will be renewed. When Mourinho was asked about whether they would be renewing their contracts, he responded by saying, “Again, they are talking to the club on their future. I think so. I think so. But now it’s time to wait a little bit.” Not exactly clear then.

The question we should ask ourselves is this: Will the aforementioned players be missed by Chelsea should they leave?

Ashley Cole is a vastly experienced left-back, and at one time, he was amongst the very best in world football. But, in the past couple of seasons, he has struggled. His defending has been shaky, and his bombing runs down the left are a thing of the past. Cesar Azpilicueta has kept him out of the team for the majority of this season, and he has looked more than capable of replacing Cole. Cole would not be sorely missed by Chelsea.

Frank Lampard has not really looked good enough this season. He has often looked out of sorts, and unable to keep up with the pace of the game. He has only managed eight goals in forty appearances for Chelsea this season. He is not the player he was. With Ramires, David Luiz, Nemanja Matic and John Obi Mikel Chelsea certainly have the players to replace Lampard.

It looks as if John Terry may well stay at Stamford Bridge, with both Chelsea and the Terry camp in negotiations over a new contract. Chelsea do have the likes of Gary Cahil, Branislav Ivanovic and David Luiz to play at centre-back should talks break down. Still, it would be a great loss to Chelsea if their talismanic captain leaves. His performances this season have shown that he can still play at the highest level, and lead Chelsea through another season.

Petr Cech’s future will very much depend on the situation with Thibaut Courtouis. If the giant Belgian returns to Chelsea, Cech may well be replaced as Chelsea’s number one. However, even if Courtouis does return to Chelsea, it is unlikely that Jose Mourinho would want to show Cech the door. Cech’s experience and consistency are second to none.

If there is one conclusion to draw, it is that the main benefit these four veterans bring to Chelsea is their experience. Chelsea, however, are a club rebuilding, restructuring and evolving. Mourinho has said this much.

If Chelsea want to look to the future and really build a new squad, they must make tough decisions. Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard have been brilliant servants to Chelsea, but they cannot be kept at the club purely on a sentimental level. Considering what they can actually bring to Chelsea in the long run, and their performances this season, they do not really warrant new contracts. It looks as if John Terry and Petr Cech will remain at the club which is good news. But, in the not too distant future, the time will come when they too must leave if Chelsea are going to truly evolve and move forward.

About Richard

I'm a freelance writer in the UK. A Chelsea fan. David Luiz is my favourite player. I am passionate about football and have been since early childhood. I have played for many years too. I have broad and extensive knowledge of football in general.

2 comments

  1. Lampard should stay. firstly.There is all this rubbish about how old he is but the simple facts are that in the last two seasons he has scored around 17 goals per season. And before anyone says that was then and this is now . I shall say that Lampard has been still making the same runs which defenders have not picked up but the problem is that willian, Torres, schurrie,oscar,Hazard, Luiz, ramires, and Matic(who shoots as well as obi mikel!) Do not pass the ball across the goal for the best chance of scoring a goal! They shoot from angles where they cannot score! Pass the ball to a proven goal scorer Lampard! one of the reasons chelsea have not won the league this season is that Luiz and Oscar have been taking too many free kicks when lampard should have taken them or at least his fair share. And those team mates are trying to shoot from too many stupid angles! he could have scored more goals and he still can.
    He is still good enough and a better player than someone for major league Soccer in fact Matic can’t shoot, Luiz has not scored and has injured both Cech and Terry this season by clumsy defending. Even Obi Mikel has Scored a goal this season. We need Costa, Drogba, Khedira and the club to have the good sense to keep Terry, Lampard, and Cole.
    I would also like to remind you of two facts The first that it was Lampard who scored a last minute and important champions league goal against galatasaray away! to earn a draw.Has anyone considered that we move have not got though tie if Lampard had not scored. The pace is also slower in the champions league. That with their vital experience is reason enough to keep the trio.
    As for Lampard scoring goals if Willian, oscar, Hazard, schurrie,Luiz and Torres passed the ball across the goal into the box instead of shooting from stupid difficult angles then the runs that lampard made this season would have resulted in lots more goals for him and another premier league title for Chelsea.
    Mourinho only needs to get Costa, bring back Drogba and get Khedira and let Lampard take more Free kicks (not Luiz) and play behind the strikers in an attacking midfield postion and you will see that I was right

  2. Hello Michael. Thanks for the reply.

    I have to contend with what you have said.

    First of all, I think it would be a very foolish decision to re-sign Drogba. What do you really think he could bring to Chelsea? Drogba is an absolute Chelsea legend, but this would be a crazy decision.

    Secondly, I think Chelsea will struggle to sign Costa and Khedira. Atletico look like they are going to win the title in Spain, and one of the Madrid sides are going to win the Champions League. There is not really any reason for either of them to leave. If they are offered a lot of money, or fancy a fresh challenge, it is a possibility I guess.

    I have to disagree with your opinion of Lampard too. I think you are exaggerating the amount of times Lampard makes those runs and doesn’t get passed to. Also, let’s be honest, most attacking players shoot rather than pass when they have the opportunity. And, it was Torres who scored in Turkey, not Lampard.

    Again, I reiterate that I think Chelsea need to move on from the likes of Cole and Lampard. They aren’t getting any younger. Chelsea have a squad of huge potential and must move on from the “Old Guard”