Sep 19, 2014

    Lampard could play for City against Chelsea


    FRANK Lampard could make an emotional appearance against former club Chelsea this weekend, as his new employers, Manchester City, host Jose Mourinho's side in an early showdown between the English Premier League's heavyweights.

    Lampard, who became a talismanic figure at Stamford Bridge before leaving in the close season after 10 successful years, is in contention for a place in City's midfield for Sunday's game, despite earlier reports that he had asked not to play.

    Chelsea have a 100 per cent record so far this season, with four wins from four, and lead the table with 12 points, five ahead of fifth-placed City.

    However, both suffered disappointing nights in the Champions League on Wednesday, Chelsea drawing at home to Schalke 04 and City losing 1-0 at Bayern Munich, courtesy of Jerome Boateng's last-gasp goal.

    With City manager Manuel Pellegrini serving a touchline ban, assistant coach Ruben Cousillas insisted City could recover against Roma and CSKA Moscow in their bid to qualify for the knockout stages.

    "We played a really good game and it was also good entertainment for the public, because there were two teams that tried to score goals," Cousillas said.

    "Conceding such a goal in the last minute, that's what makes it really frustrating. It's not good to start with a defeat, but there are five games left, so that means it depends on us."

    Lampard, 36, might have presumed he would never have to face his former Chelsea teammates when he signed for New York City in the summer.

    But with the new franchise not entering Major League Soccer until next year, the midfielder was given the chance to make a quick return to English football with a loan deal to City. The former England international made his competitive debut for the champions last weekend, but was withdrawn by Chilean boss Manuel Pellegrini at half-time after an unimpressive display.

    Yaya Toure's possible return to the City midfield means Lampard might have to settle for a bit-part role, as Pellegrini and Mourinho seek to register an early blow in the title race they are expected to dominate.

    Diego Costa, the Spain striker with seven goals in four games so far for his new club, will likely be instrumental again in Chelsea's chances of success, although manager Mourinho revealed that the player is unable to play three games in a week after being injured while on international duty with Spain.