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CHELSEA CHATTER

Top four secured, The epitome of Chelsea and more

Panic over ladies and gents. We left it late but there will be no trips to Kazakhstan for us next season.

A crazy 5-3 loss at Liverpool was remedied by a 2-0 win over Wolves and a guarantee we will be battling it out with the big boys in the Champions League next campaign.

There is no denying we have overachieved in Lampard’s first season and, with one domestic game to go, it could turn out to be the perfect second year in management  for Super Frank.

Never in doubt

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Never in doubt

PROVING THE DOUBTERS WRONG

Cast your minds back to last June when our former number eight was putting pen to paper on his Chelsea contract and remember what rival fans and pundits were saying.

There wasn’t a prayer for us to finish in the top four, lots didn’t even think that Lamps would make it to Christmas. From Graeme Souness to Jose Mourinho, we were written off before a ball was kicked.

No one gave Frank or the young players a chance

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No one gave Frank or the young players a chance

So while celebrating fourth doesn’t feel like something us Chelsea fans aren’t used to – and shouldn’t get used to – considering the circumstances, this has been a brilliant season.

I was scared it could be a horror show after we lost 4-0 to United on the opening day but over the course of 11 months I, like so many others, have been proved wrong.

Frank has become the first English manager since his uncle, Harry Redknapp, to qualify for the Champions League back in 2012… keeping it in the family, are we?

Next season with half a dozen new players making their way in will be the true test of Frank Lampard’s Chelsea but he has made an absolute flyer of a start. Just Wembley and Arsenal to deal with now!

THE EPITOME OF CHELSEA 

The heartbeat of the side

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The heartbeat of the side

One man singled out by our boss after the Wolves win was our captain Cesar Azpilicueta, who is one of a few senior players who you would consider as a leader.

Lamps described him as ‘The epitome of Chelsea Football Club’ and that he was the ‘absolute standard for any young players.’

It might not have been his best year on the pitch, although he rarely has a bad game, his leadership both on the pitch and off it will have been vital for the young players breaking into the squad.

Azpilicueta was an understudy to John Terry for three years and was Gary Cahill’s vice captain too, he gets what it means to be Chelsea and he will have rubbed that off to the youngsters.

Azpi has learned from the best

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Azpi has learned from the best

Can you remember a time Dave hasn’t been a fixture in this side since Jose Mourinho’s return all those years ago? A real Chelsea great for a meagre £7million to Marseille back in 2013. Merci beaucoup lads.

Our Spanish captain is very much a leader and well on his way to becoming a Chelsea legend. I’d love to see him lifting the cup next weekend.

Do you now Azpilicueta as a Chelsea legend? How happy are you with Lampard’s season and the top four finish? Let me know – finlo.clarkson@thesun.co.uk – and some of your replies will make it onto next week’s newsletter. 

HAS KEPA PLAYED HIS LAST CHELSEA GAME?

Kepa was dropped for the biggest game of the year

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Kepa was dropped for the biggest game of the year

It doesn’t look like we will be seeing five foot two Kepa Arrizabalaga between the sticks for us again, does it?

I maintain it will be hard to shake the Spaniard as the board will want a large percentage of what they paid for him back two summers ago.

If we were to go for Jan Oblak we would need to send Atletico Madrid a similar amount of money that we paid Athletic Bilbao for Kepa. That’s over £150m on goalkeepers in two summer windows.

But if we were to keep ahold of Kepa as our number one, surely he would have played in the game against Wolves? You know, the biggest game of the season.

Oblak wont come cheap

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Oblak wont come cheap

Lampard has clearly got no faith in the 25-year-old and will probably now pick the 39-year-old backup, Willy Caballero for the Cup final. It’s worth remembering that Petr Cech is a year younger than Caballero.

Fancy one more game, Pete?

With the worst save percentage in Premier League history (54.5%) it is no surprise to see him potentially cast aside.

He hasn’t moved for 14 of the Premier League goals he has conceded and he has already let in 8% of Chelsea’s goals in the Premier League era.

It seems like the writing is on the wall.

MEMORY LANE

Wallop

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Wallop

As a Chelsea fan born in the mid 90s, the FA Cup has a special place in my heart.

While I don’t quite remember Di Matteo’s goal against Middlesbrough one minute in, my childhood was littered with Wembley wins.

I was there for when Didier Drogba lobbed van der Sar in 2007, there for Lampard’s screamer against Everton and there for the win over Portsmouth in 2010.

The Cup final is a landmark in any football fan’s calendar and for both Chelsea and Arsenal it feels like ‘our’ tournament.

Either us or them have won 14 out of the last 23 FA Cups and that is guaranteed to become 15 in 24 on Saturday afternoon.

What I would do for this man to lead the line on Saturday

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What I would do for this man to lead the line on Saturday

Arsenal need to win if they are to secure Europa League football next season but the main incentive for both managers will be to win their first piece of silverware in charge of a side.

Whatever happens on Saturday, it has been a pleasure covering this season, despite the unusual circumstances, and I will go into the Arsenal game with everything crossed that we can put that cherry on top of the cake.

MINI-LEAGUE MAYHEM

I sink Garry Brown is the special one

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I sink Garry Brown is the special one

It looks as though we have our champions in the Chelsea Chatter mini-league after nearly a year of highs and lows.

My transfer policy and trust in the Chelsea defence has cost me throughout the season – it turns out Reece James didn’t quite get Liverpool fullback assist numbers.

Garry Brown lead is now 23 points with just the FA Cup final to play. He has been there or thereabouts throughout and looks a worthy champion. Although the fact he might be cheering a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang goal does worry me.

The season is all but over for me. I’m already planning for next year with a complete overhaul required if I’m going to be challenging like likes of Garry next season.