Former Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard once again showed his worth to Manchester City as he hit the winning goal for the title-chasers in their 3-2 victory over Sunderland at The Etihad Stadium on New Year's Day.
Lampard came on as a second half substitute to head home the winner which ensured City's title challenge continued to gain momentum as they joined Chelsea at the top of the Premier League. Chelsea themselves fell to a 5-3 defeat at Tottenham later in the day to further encourage Manchester City.
Will Chelsea regret releasing Lampard in the summer? That decision could haunt them if Lampard plays a prominent part in the outcome of the Premier League title race this season, especially if it is to the London club's detriment.
Lampard's victorious goal against Sunderland follows the welcome news that Manchester City and New York City have agreed to extend his loan at The Etihad until the end of the season.
This is sure to give City's title challenge a huge boost in the next few months. City manager Manuel Pellegrini will now have a player who can offer his side a huge amount of experience and quality just when he needs it most. If he uses him wisely, possibly from the bench, Lampard could make an impact on any game he is introduced to. His goals from midfield will also give the side an added threat and dimension.
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Lampard could also find himself starting a handful of games so that Pellegrini can rotate his midfield and keep them as fresh as possible for what is bound to be a demanding second half of the season.
Whether City decide to make any more signings during the January transfer window, or not, Lampard's loan extension could be the most crucial piece of business they do this month.
However, whilst all appears rosy in the Lampard and City camps there is less celebration in New York as supporters of New York City are deeply unhappy because Lampard will almost certainly miss the beginning of the MLS season in March.
However, Manchester City know that Lampard is crucial to their immediate future and their supporters will be more than happy to see him remain in Manchester for a little longer if it means the title is their's once again.
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