MIDFIELDER Frank Lampard scored his 201st Chelsea goal as the Blues moved closer to a return to the Champions League with victory over Swansea at Stamford Bridge yesterday afternoon.
Scorers: Oscar 43, Lampard 45 pen
Referee: M Clattenburg
Lampard, who began the game as a substitute, set up the opener and converted a penalty to move him within one goal of the club record held by the watching Bobby Tambling. Last season’s European champions moved three points clear of rivals Tottenham in the battle for a place in the Barclays Premier League top four and they extended Swansea’s winless run to six games. Chelsea’s next Premier League clash comes at Manchester United before the London derby with Spurs on 8 May which could prove decisive in the Champions League qualifying race.
For now, they remain on course to achieve their two remaining targets this term and they will seek to confirm their place in the Europa League final in Thursday’s semi-final second leg with Basle.
A victory in Amsterdam in May would provide a fitting finale for 34-year-old Lampard if he does leave Chelsea this summer at the end of his contract.
The goal was his 15th of the season and much of the performance was about Chelsea’s old guard with captain John Terry starting back-to-back matches for the first time since February.
Midfielder John Obi Mikel was left on the substitutes’ bench as referee Mark Clattenburg took charge of a Chelsea match for the first time since he was cleared of using “inappropriate language” towards Mikel in October.
Chelsea’s last home defeat was back in January against Swansea in the Capital One Cup semi-final, a competition which saw the Blues’ exit embarrassingly when Eden Hazard was sent off and banned for kicking a ball boy.
Indeed, the Belgian had the game’s first shot which Michel Vorm held before the Swansea goalkeeper saved further efforts from Demba Ba and Oscar.
Lampard’s introduction came in the 24th minute for the injured Ramires and it didn’t take long for him to make an impact, firing in a 25-yard shot which Vorm turned around the post.
The hosts’ opener came after Terry intercepted a long ball and fed Lampard who in turn found Oscar and he drilled a shot inside the far post.
Chelsea doubled their advantage just before the interval after Hazard was pulled down by Leon Britton with Lampard converting the penalty..
Further chances arrived in the second half but neither side could find the net. Swansea’s Jonathan de Guzman intercepted a Lampard pass but could not take advantage while Mata, Lampard and Ba also passed up further opportunities meaning Chelsea had to settle for two goals and a clean sheet.