Chelsea Old Guard Helped Them To Top Four & Could Be Vital In FA Cup Bid

Chelsea managed to reach their Premier League target for this season and gain a place in next season’s Champions League.

This weekend The Blues could secure the FA Cup if they triumph over London rivals Arsenal at Wembley.

Now for much of this season Blues boss Frank Lampard has been applauded for giving youth a chance at Stamford Bridge.

The likes of Tammy Abraham, Billy Gilmour, Mason Mount, Reece James and Fikayo Tomori have all shone at different stages this season.

But after the pandemic lockdown finished and football returned, it was some of Chelsea’s older stars that really stood out and helped the side gain that all important top four finish.

Willian, Olivier Giroud, Cesar Azpilicueta and Jorginho have all stepped up and given Lampard’s side a solid backbone as they closed the campaign out.

Brazilian international Willian has created three assists and scored four goals in his side’s last ten games. The thirty-one year old’s contract expires after Cup Final and he’s been linked with moves to Arsenal, Manchester United and Barcelona.

Yet his stunning end of season form could see Chelsea agreeing to his contract demands with Sky Sports suggesting a new deal could be agreed some time this week.

Giroud is a World Cup winner and he has a history of grabbing goals in England’s top flight but for much of the early part of the season he was left on the bench as Tammy Abraham was given the striking starting berth.

Yet the Frenchman never took the huff and just waited for his chance to help out his teammates. That chance arrived earlier this year and after lockdown he’s been Chelsea main focus in attack. Giroud has banged in a whopping seven goals in his last ten games.

Lampard has triggered a one extension to key the thirty-three year old striker at Stamford Bridge and he’s been very complimentary of his experienced hitman:

“I’m really pleased, really pleased. Oli has to take all the credit from January onwards. We all know that he wasn’t playing much at the start. Tammy played a lot. I was never unaware of Oli’s talents, but that was just the circumstance at the time.” 
“But to have the personality, strength of character and talent to come in and affect things the way he has before the lockdown and then carried it on.” 
“He has always been big on the training ground and changing room for me, but I don’t want to talk about that too much because we have to respect the talent of the goals he is scoring. Players love playing with him, he is a reference point for the team and I am delighted to have him.

Lampard Via Sports Illustrated

Cesar Azpilicueta has been a Chelsea mainstay for years. He had a bit of a dodgy start to the season but by the end he was the leader at the back that helped gain the points The Blues needed. He helped his side to keep five clean-sheets in their last ten outings and he also created two assists.

Italian midfielder Jorginho only returned to the first team for six games in July but out of those games, Chelsea won five of them and he help kick things ticking over with his passing in the engine room.

In the final game of the season, which Chelsea needed to win to guarantee Champions League football for next term, Frank Lampard was worried about the goalkeeping position. In the end he decided that Kepa had made too many mistakes and he didn’t trust him for the important fixture with Wolves. Thus he opted to play veteran shot-stopper Wily Caballero.

The Argentine kept a clean-sheet and Chelsea pick up that vital win (BBC Match Report).

It has definitely been refreshing to see so many great young talented players getting the chance to shine at Stamford Bridge. Frank Lampard has been terrific in getting so much from these exciting prospects.

But as the race for a top four finish reaching a boiling point, it was impressive to see their manager realise that experience was needed to get them over the line. It was equally great that those older players rose to the challenge and helped their younger teammates end the season by reaching their main objective.

Now they have the chance to help them get their hands on silverware and be ready for next term!

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