Ranking the Best Seasons of Frank Lampard's Chelsea Career

Garry Hayes@@garryhayesFeatured ColumnistFebruary 17, 2014

Ranking the Best Seasons of Frank Lampard's Chelsea Career

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    Signed for just £11 million from West Ham United in the summer of 2001, Frank Lampard has gone on to become arguably the greatest player in Chelsea's history.

    His 13 seasons at Stamford Bridge have been the most successful in the club's 109 years, with the Blues winning three Premier League titles, four FA Cups, the League Cup twice, Europa League and the jewel in the crown, the Champions League.

    In that time, Lampard has made a little history of his own, too. The Englishman has become Chelsea's all-time leading goalscorer—his tally standing at 209 and counting—while he has also been named the Blues' Player of the Year a record three times.

    He has been a fine servant to the club, so to pay homage to his achievements, Bleacher Report counts down his finest years in Blue.

12. 2001-02

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    With just seven goals in his first season as a Chelsea player, it wasn't exactly a sign of things to come for Frank Lampard in terms of his strike rate at Stamford Bridge.

    He had big boots to fill, having replaced the popular Gus Poyet, who had departed for Tottenham Hotspur. He didn't quite set the world alight, although it was an encouraging season for the then 23-year-old.

    Lampard scored his first Chelsea goal against Levski Sofia in the UEFA Cup, although he had to wait a little longer to get off the mark in the Premier League, scoring his first goal against Bolton Wanderers on Dec. 23, 2001.

    You can view that strike in the video above.

    Lampard did get his hand on a medal in 2001-02, but not the type he got used to at Chelsea. The Blues reached the 2002 FA Cup Final, but lost 2-0 to Arsenal, with Lampard and his teammates picking up losers medals for their efforts.

11. 2002-03

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    Lampard went one better in his second season as a Chelsea player—literally.

    The Englishman scored eight goals, so it may not have been significant progress, but it was progress all the same.

    He got the campaign off to a flier, scoring on the opening day in 3-2 win over Charlton, while he also scored a late equalizer against Southampton to bring his tally up to two goals in three matches.

    Chelsea didn't reach a cup final in 2002-03, but that disappointment was replaced with Lampard forcing his way into the England set-up having narrowly missed out on the 2002 FIFA World Cup.

10. 2010-11

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    It's not often that Frank Lampard has found himself on the treatment table, but niggling injuries in 2010-11 ensured he had a frustrating first half of the campaign.

    Indeed, he missed all of September, October and November of 2010 on account of injury, with the Blues worse off for his struggles.

    Still, he made up for lost time and it wasn't long before he was back among the goals, scoring the opening goal of a 3-3 draw with Aston Villa on Jan. 2.

    Despite winning the Premier League and FA Cup double the season previous, Chelsea ended 2010-11 without a trophy, while Lampard recorded his worst goals return in eight seasons, scoring 13 throughout the campaign.

9. 2003-04

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    In Roman Abramovich's first season as Chelsea owner, Frank Lampard also got his first taste of Champions League football.

    The Blues had narrowly beaten Liverpool into fourth spot when they defeated the Reds on the final day of 2002-03 and with Abramovich's takeover putting the club on another level financially, Lampard raised his game to become an ever more important asset.

    Chelsea reached the semifinal of the Champions League that term, losing to Monaco.

    Lampard more than left his mark on the competition, though, scoring four times, including a fine effort against Lazio in the group stages.

    He finished the season with 15 goals in all competitions.

7. 2007-08

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    The season started with Jose Mourinho leaving Chelsea and it ended with the Blues appearing in their first Champions League final.

    Both major events ended in tears, though, as the Mourinho era came to a premature conclusion and Chelsea were defeated by Manchester United on penalties in Moscow.

    Cristiano Ronaldo had put United on the night, but ever the man for the big occasion, Lampard pulled Chelsea level right on half time.

    It remained 1-1 and the Blues could have won the shootout but for John Terry's slip which saw his effort canon back off the post.

    United eventually won in sudden death.

    For Lampard, despite that disappointment, it was still a fine season for the Englishman, who broke the 20-goal mark for the third successive year.

7. 2008-09

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    With Chelsea chopping and changing their managers, it took Guus Hiddink to come in and save the Blues' season in February 2009 after Luis Felipe Scolari had been sacked.

    The Premier League title was beyond them by that point, but Chelsea used the FA Cup as a means to revitalize their season and eventually finished by lifting the trophy at Wembley.

    Lampard scored Chelsea's winner that day, too, securing a 2-1 victory over Everton. A wonderfully struck long-range effort, it is his only goal in an FA Cup Final and put him on 20 for the season.

    Chelsea also came close to a repeat of their 2008 Champions League final with Manchester United, but lost out to a last-minute strike from Andres Iniesta that sent Barcelona through on away goals at Stamford Bridge.

6. 2006-07

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    It would have been a disappointment for Chelsea to lose their Premier League title to Manchester United in 2006-07, but they were able to get one over on their rivals by winning the FA Cup.

    Indeed, not for the first time in Lampard's Blues career, Chelsea made history when they defeated United 1-0 in the Final by becoming the first club to win the FA Cup at the redeveloped Wembley Stadium.

    Lampard was among the goals for Chelsea that season, scoring 21 times to make 2006-07 his most prolific up to that point in a Chelsea shirt.

    He capped off another excellent season by setting up Didier Drogba for the game's only goal, too.

5. 2004-05

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    Chelsea had waited 50 years to win the league title and they were finally named England's No.1 in 2005 after a magnificent campaign.

    It was Jose Mourinho's first season in charge and with the Portuguese ringing the changes at Stamford Bridge, Lampard was among those who would have feared for his place in the starting line-up.

    From the outset, though, it was clear Mourinho was building his team around the likes of John Terry and Lampard and they didn't let him down, either.

    While Terry was busy helping keep the goals out, Lampard was scoring them at the other end.

    He finished the season with 19 goals, but the two that counted most came at the Reebok Stadium as Lampard bagged a brace to seal the Premier League crown with a 2-0 victory over Bolton Wanderers.

4. 2005-06

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    Chelsea recorded back-to-back Premier League victories in 2006, becoming only the second club to do so since the league was rebranded in 1992.

    The Blues had Frank Lampard to thank for it, too, with the midfielder enjoying another fine campaign that marked him out as one of the world's best players.

    He found the back of the net 20 times that year and was also named Chelsea Player of the Year for a second time, a season after he first won the accolade.

3. 2009-10

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    On the back of four successive seasons where he broke the 20-goal barrier, nobody expected Frank Lampard to be so prolific in 2009-10.

    Just when we thought his performances couldn't get any better, though, he smashed home 27 goals to help Chelsea to their third Premier League title in six years.

    The Blues even broke the 100-goal barrier in the league that season, becoming the first team ever to do so.

    There were plenty of highlights for Lampard, notably scoring against old club West Ham at Upton Park. The best came at Stamford Bridge, however, as the Blues romped home to a 7-1 victory over Aston Villa in March.

    Lampard scored four that day and two weeks later was on hand to score another against the Villans, this time at Wembley as Chelsea booked their place in the FA Cup Final with a 3-0 win.

    Chelsea defeated Portsmouth in the final to complete a league and cup double that season—another first in the club's history.

2. 2012-13

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    All the years of training, the goals, the blood, sweat and tears came to this one moment for Frank Lampard.

    Villa Park. Saturday, May 11, 2013. Every Chelsea fan knows it well. It's when Lampard became Chelsea's all-time leading goalscorer.

    As personal accolades go, they don't come much better than that, with Lampard's brace against Aston Villa to give Chelsea a 2-1 win, edging him one goal beyond his fellow Stamford Bridge legend Bobby Tambling onto 203.

    He had been within touching distance of the record for some time, but as the games counted down and the end of the season beckoned, it seemed fate was working against him.

    The goals had appeared to have dried up and Lampard's Chelsea contract was due to expire in a matter of weeks—the gossip coming out of Chelsea was that he wouldn't be getting a new one.

    Thankfully he broke the record with with just two games of the season to spare, though he needn't have worried as a new contract was soon agreed to keep him at Chelsea for at least another season.

    Five days after breaking the goalscoring record, Lampard also captained Chelsea to Europa League glory as the Blues beat Benfica 2-1.

    Chelsea made history themselves that night in Amsterdam, becoming the first team ever to follow up winning the Champions League by lifting the Europa League trophy.

1. 2011-12

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    Frank Lampard could score another 209 goals for Chelsea this season alone, but unless the year ends with him holding aloft the Champions League trophy, it will never come close to 2011-12.

    Nothing will.

    They had come close so many times before, Chelsea were running the risk of becoming obsessed with winning the Champions League.

    The Blues finally did it in 2012, however, defeating Bayern Munich on penalties after drawing a dramatic game 1-1.

    It was a sweet moment for any Chelsea player or fan, although for Lampard it came that little bit sweeter with him wearing the captain's armband. John Terry had been sent off in the semifinal against Barcelona, leaving Lampard with the honor of leading the team out at the Allianz Arena.

    There have been seasons with more highlights and goals, but nothing will top 2011-12 for Lampard. It was the pinnacle of his Chelsea career.

    Garry Hayes is Bleacher Report's lead Chelsea correspondent and will be following the club from a London base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here @garryhayes