Frank Lampard expects John Terry and Chelsea to rebound from slow start
NEW YORK -- Despite Chelsea currently sitting 15th in the Premier League with seven points from six matches, the club's all-time leading scorer Frank Lampard still expects the Stamford Bridge club to contend for a league title this season.
"They started slow but they beat Arsenal recently so that gives them a bit more mentally and I think they'll come back into the race," Lampard told ESPN FC, after he was honored along with fellow NYCFC teammates David Villa and Andrea Pirlo by the Gray Line's Ride of Fame.
Much of the blame for Chelsea's early-season problems has been pinned on the team's defence and club captain John Terry. However, Lampard believes the 34-year-old, who was recently dropped by manager Jose Mourinho, can still be effective.
"I think John can carry on for years. I've been through it, everyone goes through it as you get into your 30s. The minute you turn 30, everyone starts to speculate how much you've got left. So the minute you don't play well, people start to talk about it," Lampard said.
"But I know John's attitude and I know his quality. I think he's 34 years of age and the way he plays, how quick his mind is at his position, I see him being an important part of Chelsea for a few years to come."
Lampard's Chelsea career, which lasted from 2001-14, was played alongside Terry and he hopes the club will stick by their longest-serving player.
"I know John feels Chelsea like I did when I was there," Lampard said. "John is an emblem of the club so I think fans always relate to him being there, he's a huge part of the success we've had over the last 10 or 12 years. So I'd like to see him carry on there but again, it's not my decision."
Rather than blaming the defence, Lampard suggests Chelsea are simply struggling to hit top form after winning the league title so emphatically last season.
"I think sometimes when you win a league, you put a lot of effort into it over a year like they did comfortably last year," he said. "I think they may have had a second-season syndrome, which Man City have had twice now actually when they've won it."
He expects his former manager Mourinho to resolve the issue soon.
"I know Jose Mourinho and I know the pressure at Chelsea, they want themselves to be challenging every year," Lampard explained. "So I think it will be addressed very quickly, if it hasn't already.
"We all have patches, unfortunately, when you have patches at the start of the season, it makes the table look really bad early on but I think they'll change that because they still have the same quality of player there."
As for the Premier League title race, Lampard wouldn't predict who will win the league but expects both of his former teams to contend.
"For me, they [Manchester City and Chelsea] are the two top clubs in England. They'll fight it out for the title," he said. "They are the two best squads in the league and I'm very close to both of them so I kind of know what they've got. It's hard for me to call who's going to win it but that's how I see it panning out."