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?
Latest in Sport
Sport
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.

Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test
Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy