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What is this guy's problem?


kalpitv

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Some Matt Monaghan from http://www.goal.com/en/default.aspx has come up with this silly (please help me find a worse word) conclusion of the Lampard-Ballack partnership...

Frank Lampard & Michael Ballack: Together/Apart

As Chelsea prepare to face off against Manchester United in the fight for the Premiership and Champions League trophies, Michael Ballack will surely be feeling that he has made a more than significant contribution to the progress of Avram Grant’s side in recent weeks.

Indeed, the ex-Bayern Munich man has been putting in the kinds of performances that fully justify his £131,000 a week wage packet, with his two goal salvo against Manchester United a fortnight ago seeing the Blues draw level with the Red Devils at the top of the Premiership table, whilst his vital opener against Newcastle United on Monday saw the men from Stamford Bridge take the Premiership title race to the final weekend with only goal difference separating these two exceptional sides.

That these strikes have seen Chelsea manage to claw their way back in to a title race that seemed lost only a few short weeks ago is made all the more remarkable by the tragic absence of Frank Lampard from several of the Blues recent Premiership fixtures.

For Lampard, not Ballack, has been the real talisman of Chelsea in recent years, with his annual twenty goal return from central midfield inspiring the Blues to an unprecedented spell of success in the club’s history.

However, the fact that Ballack has so successfully taken the baton on from Lampard has led to an argument from some quarters that the England international’s presence in the Chelsea midfield has a significant negative effect on the output of his German colleague.

Stuck Together?

Whilst in many cases people are quick to dismiss such a view, and state quite simply that top quality players can always play together, there seems ample evidence that this statement is not correct when applied to these two.

For when one looks at the seven goals that Ballack has managed to score for Avram Grant’s side so far this term, they will see that six of these came when Frank Lampard was not on the pitch. That this is such a large percentage would seem to show that this difference in goal scoring return must surely be more than mere coincidence.

Also, this season has seen Michael Ballack returning to the sort of world class form that so eluded him in his first season in the Premiership. Indeed, if we rewind to this time last year, we will see that rather than being the darling of the Stamford Bridge crowd that he is now, Ballack was instead the villain of the piece as he and Andrei Shevchenko were blamed for the Blues' faltering challenge for domestic and European glory.

The vitriol directed at the big money pair from the terraces was considerable, with Ballack being faced by accusations of being a mercenary who was more than happy to take home the astronomical wages offered by Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich without putting in the types of displays that would merit such a large financial outlay. Indeed, the season ending ankle injury that Ballack picked up in the final month of the campaign was greeted with indifference by many Blues fans, sick of the lack of effort displayed by their supposedly world-class midfielder.

However, parallels can again be drawn here between Ballack’s dramatic upturn in form this term and the absence of Frank Lampard, as the ex-West Ham player was an almost ever present in the previous campaign, whilst throughout this season he has been faced with uncharacteristic bouts of injury.

In Lampard’s absence, the sentiments of those who decried the signing of Ballack as being an unnecessary addition to an already well-stocked Chelsea engine room could be construed as having more than a grain of truth to their words.

For with Ballack blossoming in a team geared around his undoubted match winning attributes he has staked claim to Lampard’s position as the pre-eminent member of Chelsea’s midfield, with this being the type of role that the German was born to play due to his incredible self assurance and determination to play the key role in every side that he has featured in.

Eleven Against Eleven

But why should this matter when one argues that a successful team needs to be a sum of its parts, and not just a side that is geared towards the prominent role of a single exceptional individual?

Whilst this viewpoint is undoubtedly true, I believe that in the coming weeks the disappointing midfield tandem between Ballack and Lampard could potentially prove the un-doing of Chelsea’s push for glory.

I would like to argue that whilst not for one moment decrying Frank Lampard’s undoubted ability, his history of performing in big games does not stand up to Michael Ballack’s. For instance, when one compares the contribution of the two players to the last World Cup, the biggest stage of all footballers to perform on, Lampard sank in to the background, not being able to score a single goal in the competition whilst Michael Ballack was heroically leading his German team to a heart breaking semi final defeat to eventual winners Italy.

With the upcoming Champions League final presenting to both of these players a platform of almost equal standing, my money would be on Michael Ballack having a better chance of prospering in this pressure cooker environment, and scoring the goals that could see the Blues defeat Manchester United in what would be an historic victory.

An interesting aside to this debate can also be observed when one sees that many Chelsea fans are worried about the deadlock in negotiations over an extension to Frank Lampard’s current contract, and the rumours that he will follow ex-boss Jose Mourinho to his next managerial role.

However, with the news that Michael Ballack is about to commit his future to Chelsea with the signing of a new two year contract extension, maybe a future without Frank Lampard is not as bleak as many would like to portray?

The next few years for Chelsea could instead see a team built around their brilliant German international wrestle back domestic control from Manchester United, then apply this dominance to the European game, thus allowing Roman Abramovich to win several of the Champions League trophies that his investment in the club has been geared towards.

Matt Monaghan

This guy probably missed the Chelsea-Olympiakos secong leg. When Ballack assisted Lampard's goal and Lampard assisted Ballack's.

And anyway, they have had no issues playing together. I don't understand what point he is trying to make?!

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What is this guy's problem?

his brain was removed and replaced with a bowl of cornflakes?

his brain was removed and replaced with a fiat pandas rear brakes?

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The Journo obviously isn't as well informed on anything footy wise except for stats and bloody more stats".

Bally And lamps" were a mouth watering prospect when they were thrown together,now they are imho the best midfield duo around,both composed,classy,and can finish what more is their to add

ballack.giffrank.gif

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To be fair, the bloke does make a valid point. And that is that it might not be such a disaster if Frank Lampard were to leave Chelsea this summer. To my mind, this is the pivotal section of the entire article:

However, with the news that Michael Ballack is about to commit his future to Chelsea with the signing of a new two year contract extension, maybe a future without Frank Lampard is not as bleak as many would like to portray?

The rest is mostly waffle.

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To be fair, the bloke does make a valid point. And that is that it might not be such a disaster if Frank Lampard were to leave Chelsea this summer. To my mind, this is the pivotal section of the entire article:
However, with the news that Michael Ballack is about to commit his future to Chelsea with the signing of a new two year contract extension, maybe a future without Frank Lampard is not as bleak as many would like to portray?

The rest is mostly waffle.

You called... icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

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The whole "Lamps and Ballack can't play together" is a load of clap trap if you ask me.

It is basically an extension of the well known "Lamps and Gerrard can't play together for England (so obviously Lamps should be dropped)", which is partly true - at least if you try and put them together in a two-man central midfield under the guidance of the tactical genius that is Steve McLaren.

Lamps and Ballack at Chelsea are different for two main reasons:

1. We play a midfield 3, with the best screening midfielder the world has seen behind them in Maka (or one of two very able deputies in Mikel or Essien). This means that it is not a case of 1 forward and 1 back - they can both do what they want. They can both get forward to support Drogba, without worrying too much about leaving space behind them.

2. Ballack is (in my opinion anyway) one of the most intelligent (at least in a football sense) players I have ever seen. He knows exactly what to do and when to do it. He never sprints 50 meters across the pitch to slide tackle an opposition player if it is his job to keep position and mark someone else. He is not afraid to play short simple passes if a 30-yard defense-splitting pass is not the best opition. And he never shirks his responsibility as a midfielder trying to get forward and score himself - he somehow manages to consistantly get into scoring positions without going missing in midfield. In other words, he is not Steven Gerrard.

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In other words, he is not Steven Gerrard.

high praise indeed. ive argued that for years with dippers. gerrards main problem is his lack of tactical discipline. he spends so long chasing the ball round the pitch like a 10 year old hes rarely in the right position. and this also impacts on whoever pays alongside him. they spend a lot of time covering for the tin tin haired git.

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What's the problem here guys? He's said that Lampard is a fantastic player, the driving force behind a brilliant Chelsea team, and that Ballack has taken on the role in Lampard's absence effortlessly and done a great job.

The only negative thing he says is that he doesn't think they can play together, which firstly isn't even that negative (and certainly doesn't make him an 'anti Chelsea w**ker') and secondly, may not be that far from the truth. Yes we'd all like to see them play together, as they're undoubtedly two of the best centre midfielders in the world, but they're better playing separately then so be it.

And as Lofty said anyway, he raises a good point about Lampard's future; personally I love Frank, he's probably my favourite Chelsea player (you cannot believe how much stick I get for this at work, but I'll defend him to the death) however, should he chose to move on in the summer, I think Ballack is a perfect replacement; amazing work rate, amazing in big games, amazing strength, amazing in the air, cracking shot, very good technical ability and dribbling and finally someone who's great at defending when he has to.

Can't go wrong, really.

(unless they both leave and then I'll cry)

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