Europa League Final: Frank Lampard proves the ideal stand-in captain for John Terry after leading Chelsea to second European title in as many years

The midfielder stood in for Terry last night and in the Champions League final last year

The Amsterdam Arena

The prospect of Chelsea playing a major final without their captain John Terry used to be a prospect that struck fear into the heart of each one of their fans.

It says a lot for his diminished influence at Stamford Bridge these days that when he took his place in the stands before kick-off instead, it barely caused a stir.

Naturally everyone was already aware that an ankle injury at Villa Park on Saturday had robbed him of any chance of facing Benfica, in much the same way that a suspension excluded the former England captain from the Champions League final 12 months ago.

The 32-year-old will never win any popularity contests outside SW6, yet Chelsea have always looked a slightly more fragile side mentally and defensively when playing without him, though it should be pointed out that he is not the reliable performer he once was and Chelsea did win that Champions League final last year. 

With Terry’s future at the club uncertain, what Chelsea required was someone to step up and be a leader in his absence. So it was helpful to have a figure of the experience and status of Frank Lampard wearing the armband instead. Sitting next to him in midfield was surely the captain in waiting, David Luiz. And this was the best place for the pair to be, because it was an area where the game looked likely to be won or lost.

Unfortunately, they couldn’t at first  make the kind of impact those in all-Blue wanted. They seemed to be surrounded by a sea of red shirts, which was in keeping with the scenes in the Dutch capital, where Chelsea’s support looked to be outnumbered by those from Portugal.

As the first half progressed, Chelsea needed more than the casual flick or hopeful punt from the foot of Luiz against his former club. It left Lampard, fresh from his two goals at Villa Park which secured his place as Chelsea’s all-time top scorer, to do his best to lead by example.

A trademark right-footed shot just before the break almost gave his team an undeserved lead. Then as Chelsea otherwise laboured for nearly an hour, the 34-year-old made it clear to his team-mates that their efforts weren’t good enough. He may not have the verbal volume of Terry, but the message came across loud and clear.

It is no wonder the Chelsea board have apparently seen sense and realised that life without Lampard would be immensely problematic, as they seem to be thinking again about letting him leave.

He almost won the game for Chelsea with just two minutes of normal time remaining, curling a trademark strike from outside the area which cannoned off the bar.

But the fact that Chelsea struggled to kill the game off when given the lead by Fernando Torres, summed up the calamitous defending that was on show and why Terry will always be hard to replace.

But in saying that, Branislav Ivanovic’s late header was one straight out of the Terry repertoire, and it was his name being sung by Chelsea’s supporters at the end.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable