Lampard left to ponder future as Villas-Boas seeks to reshape Chelsea

Chelsea 4 Swansea City 1

When the teamsheet is handed out in the press room at the Mestalla Stadium on Wednesday night, before Chelsea take on Valencia in their Champions League Group E fixture, all English eyes will be focused on the selections of Andre Villas-Boas. Is Frank Lampard, the ever-dependable yet ageing midfield warrior, in the starting line-up? Or is it another stint warming the bench for Mr Reliable?

Once upon a time, Lampard was indispensable – the first name on the teamsheet, the Stamford Bridge rock, the axis around which all things good about Chelsea revolved. And he provided goals galore, too: 20-plus a season, from the penalty spot, the deadliest of long-range drives or his ghosting late runs into the box. The Chelsea managers, Jose Mourinho et al, swore by Lampard.

Not any more. Villas-Boas, at 33, may be only eight months older than Lampard and a Premier League and Champions League rookie, but he knows what he wants and he wants it now. And if that means sacrificing Lampard on the altar of squad rotation, then so be it. Reputations count for little and egos will be bruised along the way in the court of King Andre. A sort of unspoken message: "Like it or lump it, Lamps". Because that's the way it's going to be.

Fabio Capello, the England manager, seems to subscribe to Villas-Boas's way of thinking, to judge by his similar recent marginalising of Lampard. The sands of time, internationally and domestically, appear to be running out. Still, Villas-Boas maintains that Lampard has a role to play in the ongoing evolution at Stamford Bridge, bit-part or otherwise.

"We have to make decisions," Villas-Boas said. "I can't go on every week or every three days to discuss the choices I take. Yes, Lampard is still an iconic player and a fantastic player. And, yes, still a key player. For sure, no doubt about it. He's been doing magnificently well for the team. He has started five games, played 90 minutes in four of them. We count on him like we count on the others."

Lampard will not be happy. He is a proud man. Yet he may have to get used to the bench-warming, as he has in three of the past four matches, and perhaps wait a while before making his 350th league appearance for the club. However, contrary to reports, he did not "storm away" shortly before the end of Chelsea's clinical dissection of Swansea City at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. "Absolute nonsense," a Chelsea spokesman said. Lampard, apparently, disappeared into the dressing room to get changed into his training kit for the warm-down.

Storm in a teacup, more like, but Brendan Rodgers, the Swansea manager, knows Lampard well – from his time as the Chelsea reserve team manager – and insists Lampard will be hurting. "Frank's a great professional and, like every player, he'll be disappointed that he's not playing," Rodgers said. "When you've been a player like Frank, then it's hard to take. But whether he comes on as a sub or starts, you know you'll get 100 per cent from him."

Fernando Torres gave maximum effort on Saturday but, having nailed Chelsea's opener with a spectacular twist-and-turn shot, his delight at only his third goal in 25 matches spilt over into a red-mist horror challenge on Mark Gower, the Swansea midfielder. The Spaniard will receive a three-match suspension, during which he can ponder whether his scoring knack is really back or if it's just another false dawn.

"It was not a nice tackle," Gower reflected. "His feet came off the floor and there was intent. Thankfully, I managed to get most of my body out of the way. He's caught my ankle a little bit and I've got a little graze but it won't affect me."

Torres's early departure hardly affected Chelsea, though. Ramires, a pounding influence on the right of midfield, had already extended the lead to 2-0, three minutes earlier, and he added another midway through the second half. Ashley Williams nodded in a consolation for Swansea, a fair reward for their brio and bravado, but Didier Drogba came on to finish the job by scoring Chelsea's fourth goal.

Scorers: Chelsea Torres 29, Ramires 36, 76, Drogba 90. Swansea Williams 86.

Substitutes: Chelsea Malouda 5 (Mata, 59), Drogba (Anelka, 79), McEachran (Meireles, 83). Swansea Routledge 5 (Britton, h-t), Graham 5 (Lita, 59), Dobbie (Dyer, 71) Booked: Chelsea Cole, Mikel, Mata. Swansea Taylor, Monk, Dyer.

Sent-off: Chelsea Torres.

Man of match Ramires. Match rating 6/10. Possession: Chelsea 47% Swansea 53%.

Attempts on target: Chelsea 7 Swansea 4. Referee M Dean (Wirral). Att 41,800.

Euro watch

* Ahead of Chelsea's visit on Wednesday, Valencia surrendered their unbeaten record, losing a stormy match 1-0 at Seville on Saturday. Frédéric Kanouté put the hosts ahead before his team-mate Piotr Trochowski was sent off. Julien Escude then followed suit as Valencia were awarded a penalty but Ever Banega missed the spot-kick before the visitors then lost Aritz Aduriz for stamping. David Albelda and Bruno are injury doubts for the visit of Chelsea.

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
Sport
Jonas Gutierrez (r) competes with Yaya Toure (l)
football

Newcastle winger is in Argentina having chemotherapy

Arts and Entertainment
Blossoming love: Colin Firth as Stanley and Emma Stone as Sophie, in 'Magic in the Moonlight'
film

Actors star in Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
peopleThe Times of India said actress should treat it as a 'compliment'
News
news

Watch this commuter wage a one-man war against the Circle Line
News
We are phenomenally good at recognising faces; the study showed that humans have been selected to be unique and easily recognisable
science

Human faces unique 'because we don't recognise each other by smell'

Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show?
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
lifeShould we feel guilty about keeping cats inside?
News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
news

Man's attempt to avoid being impounded heavily criticised

Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Student
The Guildhall School of Music and Drama is to offer a BA degree in Performance and Creative Enterprise
student

Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum
theatre

Returning to the stage after 20 years makes actress feel 'nauseous'

Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week