Apart from the time he blamed Newcastle’s ball boys for Chelsea’s first defeat of the season, Jose Mourinho hasn’t looked foolish very often over the course of the campaign so far. But perhaps his decision to let Frank Lampard leave looks a little premature.
Granted, the veteran goal-scoring midfielder was never likely to demand too many starts with a concrete midfield partnership of Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic to break, but then again he’s only made the first XI five times as a City player since joining on loan from New York FC.
Where his capture has been invaluable for Manuel Pellegrini is his impact off the bench, coming on in nine all-competition matches for the Chilean and scoring three of his six goals for the club in those cameo appearances.
Having scored twice in the last four outings, and with the congested festive period fast-approaching, the former England midfielder could be in line to play from the beginning when City welcome Crystal Palace to the Etihad this weekend.
With all three of the Citizens’ out-and-out strikers struggling with injury, Lampard could slot into midfield if Yaya Toure is pushed further forward against the Eagles and an anticipation of his inclusion has caused Ladbrokes to boost the former Blue’s price to bag the first goal.
The midfielder was originally priced up at 5/1 to get the scoreboard rolling, but can now be backed at a whopping 7/1, a price that makes him a far more juicy proposition.
Manchester City have broken the game’s deadlock a total of 15 times in the Premier League this season, but Sergio Aguero and Stevan Jovetic account for eight of those strikes.
With both a doubt for the Palace clash, the onus could well fall to Lampard – who has two first-goal medals pinned to his seasonal lapel already – to give City a scoring spark in proceedings.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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