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Loftus-Cheek into Lampardian double-digits in goals despite ‘usual’ cramps

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Operation Emulate Lampard well underway

Chelsea v Eintracht Frankfurt - UEFA Europa League Semi Final : Second Leg Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

The latest amazing fact from the wonderful @ChelseaChadder is that after last night’s opening goal gave him ten (10!) for the season, Ruben Loftus-Cheek became the first Chelsea Academy graduate since Graham Stuart in 1992-93 to reach double-digits in goals in a single season for the Blues.

Considering the dearth of Academy products in the first-team over the past two decades, that’s not entirely surprising, though John Terry did come close with eight (8) a couple times (2004-05 and 2014-15).

Stuart would leave the club after that season to join Everton where he’d hit double-digits once, in 1995-96, as well. But while he was never considered a prolific goalscorer, the last Chelsea midfielder to reach this mark was one of the most prolific ever in his position. Frank Lampard got to 17 in 2012-13, which, incidentally, was the last and only previous time we had reached the Europa League final.

Loftus-Cheek’s accomplishment looks even better if we consider his limited minutes, brought on largely by injuries but also a few head-scratching coaching decisions. Those two factors combined into an early substitution for the 23-year-old last night as well — much to the chagrin of the locals, who booed the occasion heartily (lot of that going around these days, seemingly) before getting back to supporting the team.

But as Sarri revealed afterwards, he had a good reason for making the change as Loftus-Cheek was cramping up again, just like in last week’s dominant performance in Frankfurt. Having had to play the majority of the weekend’s match against Watford as N’Golo Kanté’s replacement probably didn’t help. Still, better than the back injury flaring up again!

“It’s not serious but he had the usual cramp after 75 minutes. [...] Now we need to rest. Unfortunately, we have to go to the United States but we have 10 days to prepare for the final and we have to recover energy.”

-Maurizio Sarri; source: Metro

Chelsea finish out the season away to Leicester City where a win would guarantee third place but any result is good enough for at least fourth. A quick trip to the East Coast of America follows before the Europa League final on May 29th in Baku, Azerbaijan. So Chelsea will be racking up the miles but hopefully the snoozes as well.