Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas facing quandary as Frank Lampard shows he is still central to success
There were more questions than answers after Chelsea’s ultimately comfortable 3-0 victory over relegation-threatened Bolton, the most pressing of which concern the futures of Andre Villas-Boas and Frank Lampard.
Another defeat, and a sixth game without victory, might have spelt the end for Villas-Boas if some of the more dramatic stories coming out of Stamford Bridge were to be believed.
Lampard’s place at the heart of Chelsea’s midfield is no longer guaranteed, a point made by Villas-Boas when he dropped the England midfielder for last week’s 3-1 Champions League defeat by Napoli.
But after returning to the side as captain in John Terry’s absence, Lampard produced an outstanding performance capped by an assist for Didier Drogba and his own 150th goal in the league which took him past Jimmy Greaves in Chelsea’s list of all-time leading scorers.
The crowd sang for Lampard long and loud, and although the player admitted with some understatement that his relationship with the manager is not what it could be, he is still central to Chelsea’s success, a fact highlighted by his place as joint-top goalscorer this season.
So the quandary facing Villas-Boas is this. Does he persist with his policy of sidelining senior players, at the risk of more poor performances and results, and a continued failure to challenge for the big prizes, or does he swallow his pride, put the ‘period of transition’ on hold and make the most of the talents of Lampard, Drogba, et al?