Frank Lampard moved one goal short of Chelsea’s all-time scoring record as Chelsea beat a lacklustre Swansea side 2-0 at Stamford Bridge to move closer to a Champions League place.
Lampard, who came off the bench midway through the first half, converted a penalty after creating Oscar’s opener two minutes earlier.
That strike moved the former West Ham midfielder on to 201 career goals for Chelsea, with Bobby Tambling watching from the stand as Lampard moved one shy of his record of 202 that dates back to the 1960s.
Swansea, for their part, were terrible, with Ashley Williams dreadful by his standards and the Welsh side appearing to be on a mental summer vacation after securing both European football and continued top-flight status well ahead of schedule.
After a ragged start, Chelsea got into their groove after around half an hour as a goalmouth scramble saw Oscar and Demba Ba – back in for Fernando Torres after being cup-tied for the Europa League win at Basel – both have efforts blocked.
Michel Vorm made a smart stop to deny Lampard an opener, the veteran England midfielder having come on for the injured Ramires to make his 400th Premier League appearance for Chelsea and 800th senior game for all clubs.
Lampard was getting involved regularly, putting in a corner that the returning Gary Cahill headed over before creating the Blues’ opener one minute before normal time ended in the half.
After John Terry won a header, Lampard was able to trade places with his former England team-mate before threading a superb pass to Oscar, who took one touch and smacked an unstoppable drive across Vorm and inside the bottom left.
It was a fantastic team goal with a finish to match and, with Swansea barely competitive, it was only a matter of time before Chelsea added to their lead.
Hardly any time at all, as it happened, because – barely two minutes later – Juan Mata’s skill draw a lazy foul from Leon Britton that gifted the hosts a penalty.
Chasing two records, Lampard was always going to take it. He made no mistake with a crisp low finish that ensured he joined Andy Cole as the only men to score against 38 Premier League sides in his career, and one goal short of Tambling’s Blues record, an incredible tally for a midfielder.
The visitors started the second goal with a more positive outlook as the teams traded attacks in the early stages.
Lampard had an effort blocked by the face of Williams, who was at fault when Ba got in behind the defence to force a stop from Vorm; then down the other end Pablo Hernandez fired over after good work from Michu, while the impressive Cahill – himself returning from injury – spared Terry’s blushes with a fantastic tackle after Wayne Routledge got past him easily.
Cesar Azpilicueta was lucky only to see yellow after a wild lunge at Ben Davies, who fortunately escaped injury, with Angel Rangel denied by a smart low stop from Cech as Swansea finally looked like the side who went all the way in the League Cup.
That appeared to snap Chelsea back into life as Ba saw his fierce low drive brilliantly tipped away by Vorm. Swansea’s burst of enthusiasm soon fizzled out as well, as the likes of Williams and Chico appeared to suffer from bouts of narcolepsy, at one point allowing a short throw to release Ba, although his final effort was blocked.
Williams was playing as poorly as he has since the start of the season and he was very fortunate not to be shown a second yellow for a cynical tug back on Ba – Mark Clattenburg instead issued a final warning.
Mata was then inches away from finding the bottom left, while a heavy touch off the chest prevented Lampard from finishing to match that record.
It was not all bad for the Swans as Neil Taylor made a quicker-than-anticipated return from his horrific broken ankle, coming off the bench for Ben Davies, the youngster who has ably deputised in his absence.
The hosts continued to chase a third goal as Mata curled an audacious attempt just wide, but it stayed 2-0 while Lampard – expected to leave Stamford Bridge this summer – has three matches to etch his name in Chelsea history once more.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Frank Lampard (Chelsea) – The veteran had a fine game after coming off the bench early on, creating one goal and scoring a penalty to take him one goal short of Bobby Tambling’s club record of 202.
CHELSEA: Cech 6, Azpilicueta 6, Terry 6, Cahill 7, Cole 7, Ramires NA, Luiz 6, Oscar 7, Mata 7, Hazard 7, Ba 6; Subs: Lampard 7
SWANSEA: Vorm 6, Rangel 6, Flores 6, Williams 4, Davies 6, Britton 5, Ki 6, De Guzman 5, Routledge 6, Michu 6, Hernandez 6; Subs: Dyer 6, Shechter 6, Taylor NA