Lampard is without doubt the most underrated midfielder in the world. In a world where people are more concerned with flicks and tricks and completing 98% of passes that go only five yards, players of Lampard’s calibre are easily forgotten. But let’s see how Lampard does when compared to arguably the best midfielders of his Generation. Pirlo, Xavi and Gerrard in the categories that make a great midfielder.
PASSING: Passing of the ball is one of the basics of football especially for a midfielder, it is important you find your teammate. Xavi completes the most passes (albeit short ones) in world football. He has an incredible 98% pass completion rate followed by Pirlo who is the best passer of the ball in the Italian Serie A but the fact that you complete passes doesn’t make you the best (ask Carrick and Arteta). It should also be noted that in the La Liga, midfielders are given time and space on the ball and also the fact that Lampard and Gerrard have made more key passes in their careers that Xavi.
WORK RATE: This also another important part of been a complete midfielder. Xavi’s game is built around the middle third of the pitch ( although he covers a lot of grounds ) the same can also be said of Andrea Pirlo but Lampard is more of a box to box midfielder, one minute he is making tackles in Chelsea’s 18 yard area, the next minute he is at the other end scoring a winner. He also covers tremendous amount of grounds per game ( more than Xavi, Pirlo and Gerrad).
INFLUENCE: I think they are equal in this category. Xavi is very important in Barca’s passing game, Pirlo is vital to Juventus while Liverpool and Chelsea play without direction and lack leadership in the absence of Gerrad and Lampard. So, I believe they are all very influential in their teams.
CONSISTENCY: this is what separates good players from great players and this is also (in my humble opinion) what makes Lampard the best among the lot. He has been performing at a very high level since he joined Chelsea in 2001. Playing vital roles, even played 146 consecutive league games (premier league record), he is the only player to score at least 10 goals in 10 consecutive seasons. That shows consistency, Xavi has never been that consistent (maybe in the last 4 seasons). Pirlo, has always been a good player but not that consistent (maybe in the last two seasons). Gerrad, has been in and out of Liverpool in recent years.
ASSISTS: this is where the passes turn to goals, Pirlo in 616 career appearances has 80 assists (playing in a deeper role), Gerrad in 629 matches has 100 assists, Xavi in 676 matches has 143 assists while Lampard in 804 matches ( West Ham and Chelsea) has 145 assists. You can say that Lampard have played more games but its due to his level of consistency that made him to have that much appearances. He is also 2nd on EPL all time assist ranking with 91 behind only Ryan Giggs (who has played in all EPL seasons so far).
GOALS: My favorite statistics are the goals because goals are the most important in a football match. Goals win games not pass completion rates. In 616 matches, Pirlo has a total of 61 goals, Xavi in 676 matches has 80 goals, Gerrad in 629 matches has 159 goals while Lampard in 806 matches has 243 goals. He is Chelsea’s all time top scorer (203), 4th in EPL all time top scores (166). That is a remarkable feat for a midfielder. Haters say he scores all of penalties but the truth is he has only 46 penalty goals. Subtract 46 and he will still be above them all and will still be in the top 10 of the EPL top scorers of all time.
BIG GAME PLAYER: this is also important because the team might rely on their key midfielder to dig them out of trouble or come to the party in big games. Gerrad, Pirlo and Lampard have been key to their teams many times, scoring important and priceless goals, making assists, putting up MOTM performances but the same can’t be said of Xavi. He is often missing in big/key games. Pirlo put up a MOTM performance at the 2006 world cup final but the same can’t be said of Xavi in 2010. Lampard was the MOTM in the 2008 champions league final and also put in a fantastic performance in 2012, he has always shown up at big games (Man Utd, Liverpool, Barcelona, Bayern Munich etc) he has scored in Cup finals, semi-finals you name it.
ALL ROUND PLAY: Lampard can pass, shoot, assist, head, score among others. He is a better all round player than the rest of them, Xavi might be a better passer but he can’t score and he can’t head the ball, Pirlo might also be a better pass and might be better at dead balls but he can’t score or assist (as Lampard does), Gerrad might have more pace and more accurate shoot but he doesn’t score as much as Lampard does neither can he defend as well as Lampard.
Looking at all this, you can agree with me that Lampard isn’t suppose to underrated the way he is coz for me his is arguably the best of his generation. I will take Lampard ahead of them all anyway, anytime.
My name is Ifeanyi Ohaka (Follow me on twitter via @mazacar10 )