Stats: Proof that Chelsea made right choice releasing Frank Lampard

Frank Lampard

The former England international is excelling for Manchester City, but the numbers show Jose Mourinho was right not to renew his contract.

Although Chelsea are top of the Premier League heading into this weekend’s action, there have been question marks of late over whether the West London club were right in not renewing Frank Lampard’s contract in the summer.

The Blues legend has since signed for Manchester City and is starting to play an important role in the Etihad Stadium outfit’s fight to retain their title - including scoring an equalising goal against his former employers earlier this season.

With City thought to be keen to delay Lampard’s impending move to New York City FC and the veteran playing a key role for the Manchester club, should Chelsea have given the midfielder a new deal in the summer?

It is worth going to the statistics before making any judgement.

The tables below compare Lampard’s attacking attributes from last season to that of Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic’s this term.

 2013/14 PositionTeamAssistsAssists a shotGoalsShots on targetAccurate passesAccurate pass in opp halfAppearancesMins Played
Frank Lampard MF Chelsea 0.12 1.31 0.23 0.92 33.12 19.23 26 1,702
 2014/15 PositionTeamAssistsAssists a shotGoalsShots on targetAccurate passesAccurate pass in opp halfAppearancesMins Played
Cesc Fàbregas MF Chelsea 0.73 3.33 0.07 0.4 76.73 51.27 15 1,327
Nemanja Matic MF Chelsea 0.13 0.67 0.07 0.2 59.8 32.07 15 1,350

Although Lampard is famed for his ability to get forward and cause damage in the opposition half, the figures show that both of Chelsea’s current central midfielders are this season outperforming his statistics from last term in almost every area.

Lampard did score an average of 0.23 goals per game in the Premier League last term, more than the current Blues incumbents, and also had more shots on target per game.

But, when it comes to passing, assists, creating chances and meaningful passes in the opposition half, the stats of Fabregas and Matic are much more impressive than those from Lampard in 2013-14.

Central midfielders also have defensive responsibilities and as such it is worth weighing up the respective players’ contributions going back towards their own goal.

Most would think that Matic should have the upper hand in these attributes given his role as an enforcer, while Lampard and Fabregas are more offensively minded. The tables below reveal the truth.

 2013/14 PositionTeamError leads to opp goalError leads to opp shotTackles wonDuels wonHeaders wonInterceptionsAppearances
Frank Lampard MF Chelsea 0 0 1.27 2.69 0.46 0.54 26
 2014/15 PositionTeamError leads to opp goalError leads to opp shotTackles wonDuels wonHeaders wonInterceptionsAppearances
Cesc Fàbregas MF Chelsea 0 0 2.2 5.27 0.73 0.73 15
Nemanja Matic MF Chelsea 0 0.07 2.67 6.73 1.2 2.13 15

As expected the Serbian powerhouse is the dominant defensive midfielder of the three players; apart from 0.07 errors leading to opposition shots per game compared to none by Lampard or Fabregas, Matic is the top performer in every other area.

However, the numbers also reveal that Fabregas is putting in more of a defensive shift this term than Lampard did last season, winning more tackles, duels, headers and making more interceptions than the now-Manchester City man.

There is a question of the respective teams that each players have featured in given that Chelsea are a stronger XI this term than last, but the numbers show that Lampard’s departure from Stamford Bridge can be vindicated.

Lampard may yet have a key role in this term's title race and the Blues may yet regret not keeping him in West London, but for the time being it appears that Fabregas and Matic this season are surpassing the veteran's achievements from last term.

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