Frank Lampard is officially a New York City FC player, so what should we expect on the field?
After months of speculation, New York City FC finally landed their man on Thursday, introducing a smiling Frank Lampard to the New York media at Brooklyn's Pier 5.
The 36-year-old Englishman joins the club after winning three Premier League titles and a UEFA Champions League title in 13 decorated seasons at Chelsea.
Last season, Lampard logged 1,702 minutes in the Premier League, his fewest ever in a Chelsea shirt, scoring six goals and assisting on three others. This came after scoring 15 goals for the club in 2012-13. So just what kind of player is NYCFC getting?
To put it bluntly, a very prolific one.
While his production may have slipped last season, “Lamps” still managed to be a vital piece in Chelsea’s third-place Premier League finish. He also made 11 appearances in the Champions League as the Blues advanced all the way to the semifinals.
The veteran mainly operated as one of the two defensive midfielders in José Mourinho’s 4-2-3-1 system last season, but was still given freedom to push forward from time to time. While Lampard wasn’t making the signature third runs into the box that allowed him to accumulate more than 200 EPL goals, he was still able to contribute effectively in the attack. Thanks to Opta we can check out some of his attacking stats compared to a few of the best defensive midfielders in MLS.
Of course, only Jason Kreis knows for sure what role Lampard will be asked to play for NYCFC. In all likelihood, it will be something closer to what Toronto FC asks Michael Bradley to do as opposed to the more conservative roles Osvaldo Alonso and Kyle Beckerman play for their clubs, meaning the comparision isn't necessarily like for like.
Moving on to the defensive side of the ball, Lampard showed he is more than capable of doing the dirty work, but certainly shouldn't be considered a destroyer like Alonso.
Kreis is likely to use Lampard as the fulcrum of his team, a player who gets on the ball and moves it on to teammates in advantageous positions. That sounds an awful lot like the role Beckerman played under Kreis at RSL, but with Lampard's attacking chops, the expectation is that he'll fill that need higher up the field.
And that means Lampard’s chance creation stats could jump, much like Bradley’s did when he returned to MLS, and he has the perfect player to finish up those chances ahead of him.
That would be fellow DP David Villa, who could very well help form one of MLS' top midfield-forward duos. Now we just have to wait until March to see how it'll actually play out.