What an interesting league the MLS is becoming. More and more legendary players are jetting off to the US for their career swansong. The league now boast an array of stars who, although past their best would collectively form an awesome team. Clearly the likes of Kaka, Pirlo, David Villa, Robbie Keane, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard believe that the lifestyle (plus the money) on offer in the United States compensates adequately for the lowering of footballing standard.
It is also fascinating that the curious tale of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard will continue in the MLS. Two iconic players for Liverpool and Chelsea respectively who went head to head through their careers will continue to do so across the Atlantic. Who will fare the best in MLS? Will Lampard continue to beat Gerrard in the scoring stake? At 4/6 the odds via BetSportsway the bookies are betting on Lamps.
As you can see from the above stats Lampard has scored more goals throughout his career than Gerrard, albeit having played more games (so I guess you would expect that). What is interesting is if you divide goals by games Lampard gets a score of 0.29 compared to Gerrard’s 0.26. Quite simply there is nothing in it.
Personally my money will be on Lampard (provided he can wrestle pens from Villa at NYCFC) to outscore Gerrard. Although Gerrard will benefit from a standard of football below that of the Premier League and the pace and the intensity will be below that experienced in England. The reality of Gerrard’s aging years has seen him move further back into a more defensive midfield holding role. This is how Brendan Rodgers deployed him in the last couple of years anyway. Years of ‘swashbuckling’ around the pitch have clearly taken its toll of the former Liverpool skipper.
Playing in the same position as Gerrard (with the exception of the aforementioned latter years) in the centre of midfield, Lampard while a superb footballer in his own right has been and is a different type of player. While not scared of a tackle, he was not renound for getting ‘stuck in’. His game and his extraordinary goals record (he scored 211 time in 648 games for Chelsea) resolves around being in the right place at the right time. For this his natural game should allow him to continue to do so with a general lowering of standard.
There is one final consideration – the quality of the team and their teammates. It is all well and good Lampard being in the right place at the right time if the ball is there! New York City FC are newbies to the MLS and no one knows how they will fare. Yes they have some big names in Villa, Pirlo and Lampard but what of the other 8 players on the pitch?
LA Galaxy on the other hand are an established franchise and current MLS Champions – therefore on the face of it a better team that NYCFC.
Clearly there are a lot of ‘ifs, buts and maybe’. But if I was a betting man I would still go for Lampard over Gerrard on this one.