His first of the afternoon equalled club legend Bobby Tambling’s 43-year-old mark of 202, and with just three minutes remaining in normal time he completed his brace, bagged his team-leading 15th Premier League goal of the season and established the record of 203 Chelsea goals.
It was a long time in coming.
With just one start in Chelsea’s last four Premier League matches (he was an unused substitute against Tottenham Hotspur midweek) and with his future at Stamford Bridge very much uncertain heading into the summer, it looked as though Lampard was destined to stay on 201 goals for the club until a furious five minutes in the West Midlands changed the narrative for both him and his team.
Ten minutes after the restart, and with Villa ahead by one, goalscorer Christian Benteke was sent off for a second bookable offense—his high boot on Cesar Azpilicueta following a first-half elbow to the face of the Spanish right-back.
The ejection restored numerical equality, as Chelsea midfielder Ramires had been shown a red card for a high challenge on Gabriel Agbonlahor shortly before the break, and three minutes later the Blues were level and Lampard had his record-tying goal.
Accepting a short pass from Eden Hazard just inside Villa’s 18-yard box, the 34-year-old cut briefly along the face of goal before arrowing a low, hard drive that beat goalkeeper Brad Guzan to the far corner of the net.
And then, in the 87th minute, he finally surpassed Tambling.
Hazard, again, played provider, squaring the ball for Lampard to tap into the back of the net following a neat one-two with Ashley Cole.
In addition to setting an individual record, the goal also confirmed Chelsea’s place in the Champions League next season.
Following an £11 million move from West Ham in the summer of 2001, Lampard scored the first of his 203 Chelsea goals in the old UEFA Cup at home to Levski Sofia that September, and his first Premier League goal came against Bolton Wanderers on December 23.
With his contract set to expire at the end of the current campaign and with no new deal in place just yet, it could be that Lampard will depart Chelsea at season’s end, and a move to Major League Soccer is among his options.
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