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Under Jose Mourinho and for many years afterwards, Chelsea employed a 4-3-3 formation. With a holding midfielder in place, alongside a hard-working figure like Michael Essien, Lampard was given license to make forward runs at will, allowing him to ghost into the box to find scoring positions.
However, the arrival of Eden Hazard, Victor Moses and Oscar, to complement the talents of Juan Mata, has seen Chelsea switch to a 4-2-3-1, that needs the two central midfielders to keep their discipline and sit relatively deep.
England fans will remember how Lampard, along with Steven Gerrard, both found themselves unable to curb their attacking instincts for the greater good of the team when their country needed one of them to swallow their ego and play deeper.
As Lamaprd has gotten older, he has become more adept and willing to play in a deeper role. But for a player that still possesses such goal-scoring ability, it will always be difficult for him to resist the temptation to make those lung-busting runs, especially as he hones in on Chelsea’s all-time goal-scoring record currently held by Bobby Tambling.
Lampard can definitely do a job in a deeper midfield role, but there are clearly players out there who are better suited to the task. David Luiz has always looked like he would be better used in midfield and has been employed there by Rafa Benitez, who also has Ramires and Mikel available in this position.