Chelsea vs. West Ham United: Frank Lampard Proves the Blues' Hero Again

Garry HayesFeatured ColumnistMarch 17, 2013

Frank Lampard is mobbed by his teammates as they celebrate his 200th Chelsea goal on Sunday.
Frank Lampard is mobbed by his teammates as they celebrate his 200th Chelsea goal on Sunday.Steve Bardens/Getty Images

Frank Lampard has made a habit of stealing the headlines throughout a glorious 12 years at Stamford Bridge, and he did just that again on Sunday.

On an afternoon where the performance of Eden Hazard in Chelsea's 2-0 victory over West Ham United would normally have taken center stage, the real story was of Lampard scoring his 200th goal in his 595th game the club's colors. The goal, which came in the 19th minute on a header from a Hazard cross, made the score 1-0 at the time.

And how fitting that his landmark strike should come against former club West Ham, who sold him for £11 million to Chelsea in 2001? Oh, how they must be ruing the day they let him leave East London.

More significant from Lampard's perspective, however, is Sunday's goal brings the 34-year-old a step closer to Bobby Tambling's record of 202 for Chelsea—a record that has stood since 1970, when Lampard wasn't even born.

It was a vintage performance against the Hammers. Lampard has developed a tendency in recent years of scoring against West Ham, and with the added incentive of becoming just the second player in Chelsea's history to reach 200 goals, he raised his game that bit further.

Indeed, had it not been for West Ham keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen, the England international could very well have broken Tambling's record Sunday by adding more than his 19th-minute score. 

Arriving with one of his trademark late runs into the box, Lampard saw the Finnish stopper save well on more than one occasion, while he was also at it with the likes of Juan Mata, Demba Ba and Hazard, who were all denied at some point.

Chelsea dominated this match from the outset, showing very little sign of fatigue in the wake of Thursday's Europa League victory over Steaua Bucharest.

At the heart of the action was Hazard. The Belgian scored the second of the afternoon shortly after the interval, a wonderful strike following his assist for Lampard to open the scores in the first half.

He is proving a fine capture and one who has everything and more to emulate the achievements of his teammate. On Sunday, he was overshadowed by Lampard, however, and the afternoon belonged firmly to the veteran midfielder.

Hitting 200 goals would be a remarkable feat for a striker in the modern game, so that Lampard has scaled such heights from midfield just outlines all the more what an incredible talent he has proved for Chelsea in this past decade.

He brings so much more than goals, but when his time comes and Blues fans reminisce, it will be that outstanding statistic that reminds them of Lampard's legend.

So it's a double ton for Lampard, with five of them coming against West Ham. Not exactly what the Hammers had in mind when they agreed to transfer the England international way back when.