Frank Lampard makes case to be Premier League's greatest midfielder

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Frank Lampard's winner for Manchester City against Leicester on Saturday saw the former Chelsea midfielder move level with Thierry Henry in the Premier League's top goal-scorers list with 175 strikes.

The veteran now sits joint fourth in the list with the former Arsenal captain and is the only midfielder to have cracked the top 10.

With that in mind we look at the greatest central midfielders to grace the Premier League.

Frank Lampard

The former England international started his Premier League career at West Ham where he made 150 appearances, scoring 23 goals.

After a £11m move to Chelsea in 2001 Lampard became a fan favourite and managed a then-record 164 consecutive league appearances between 2001 and 2005.

His invaluable goals and assists for Chelsea fired them to three league titles and saw the midfielder break Bobby Tambling's goal record for the west Londoners.

Despite being 36 years old Lampard has continued to impress, having been loaned to Manchester City from New York City FC.

Even though eight of his 11 appearances for the Citizens coming from the bench he has still managed four goals; if his talent wasn't enough, his longevity surely sees him earn a place as one of the greatest midfielders to ever play in the Premier League.

Cesc Fabregas

Fabregas is by far the youngest player to make it on to the list; he may only be 27 years old but his performances for Chelsea and Arsenal deserve a mention.

The Spaniard made his debut in 2003 become the youngest Arsenal player in the history of the club. Fabregas secured his place in the side and only injuries could stop him from being in the starting line up.

In 212 appearances Fabregas managed 35 goals and 72 assists for the Gunners including one season where the midfielder's eye for goal saw him bag 15 goals in 27 appearances.

A move to Barcelona in 2011 deprived the Premier League of one of its finest talents but Fabregas is back with a bang this season in a Chelsea shirt; in just 15 appearances he has one goal and 11 assists to his name.

The Spaniard is one of the finest passers of the ball in the world and could easily become a Premier League legend if he maintains his form at Chelsea for coming years.

Patrick Vieira

The Frenchman polarises fans but his talent was undeniable. Vieira was never one to shy away from confrontation and was a key figure in Arsene Wenger's early days at Arsenal.

The combative midfielder not only used his 6'4" frame to good effect but it was coupled with superb passing skills that saw him become club captain after Tony Adams' retirement.

Three league titles and four FA Cups were the Frenchman's reward for 286 fantastic performances for the Gunners who clearly miss him; since his departure in 2005 Arsenal have won just one trophy.

In spite of a poor return to the Premier League with Manchester City this Arsenal legend is more than deserving of a place on the list of the greatest Premier League midfielders.

Roy Keane

Vieira's arch-rival may have had an acrimonious end at Manchester United but the Irishman had a fantastic career that saw him lift the famous treble among seven Premier League titles and four FA Cups.

Keane took the captain's armband from Eric Cantona and thrived with his passion and work rate carrying United through many difficult matches.

He never suffered fools gladly and on occasion over-stepped the boundary, his career-ending tackle on Alf Inge-Haaland in particular, but Keane always shot from the hip, even with his own team-mates. His criticism on MUTV spelled the end of his career at Old Trafford.

If it wasn't for his talent and success that saw him find a place on this list it would be his incredible passion that makes him one of the greatest Premier League midfielders.

Steven Gerrard

The Liverpool captain easily makes the list; he has been one of the finest English midfielders of all time with his loyalty and character mirroring his immense talent.

The 34-year-old has scored 114 goals in over 500 appearances for the Reds and his set pieces and long-range shooting ability are worthy of a mention among the greatest Premier League midfielders.

It will remain one of the greatest injustices that Gerrard is unlikely to win a Premier League title but his immense talent alone is not enough to lift Liverpool to the top spot.

Paul Scholes

The former Manchester United midfielder is admired the world over by fans and players alike the world over, Zinedine Zidane said: "You rarely come across the complete footballer, but Scholes is as close as you can get.

"One of my greatest regrets is that the opportunity to play alongside him never presented itself during my career."

While his tackling ability less than brilliant and suspensions were never far away Scholes' eye for a pass was almost unrivalled.

He could light up a game with one of the powerful volleys he was famous for or deliver a killer pass that had the ability to change the flow of a game; something that United have been missing in recent years since his retirement.

Scholes managed 107 goals in 499 Premier League starts putting him 12th on the list of the most league appearances. But is he the best ever?

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Francesc Fabregas
Paul Scholes
Frank Lampard
Patrick Vieira
Roy Keane
Patrick Vieira
Manchester United
Premier League
Steven Gerrard

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