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Sunday, December 17, 2006

Just how important is Didier Drogba to Chelsea FC?!

As everyone on this site knows, I have a lot of time for Didier Drogba. For me he has so many good qualities and latent potential given his combination of high quality athleticism, power, passion, shooting ability and prowess in the air. When he was at Marseille I hoped that he would join Arsenal - seeing him as a great option partner for Henry and someone that Wenger should admire given his obvious potential.

Of course, this was not meant to be and instead it was Jose Mourinho who - in one of his first signings as Chelsea manager - selected him to be the striker he wanted leading his team. Although he was slow to win over football supporters with regard to his qualities as a striker I don’t think anyone can now doubt that in his third season at Chelsea he is proving that his worth and quality is very high. Indeed, with Crespo and Gudjohnsen gone and Shevchenko and Kalou nowhere near setting the high standards required of forwards in a title-chasing team, the importance of Didier Drogba consistently exploding his potential this season is even more significant.

His winning goal today at Everton was stunning: chest-controlling the ball and in the same movement swivelling and clean-striking a thirty yard dipping volley over Tim Howard. The technique was reminiscent of his winning goal against Liverpool earlier this season and I don’t believe many can have been surprised by the quality of Drogba's goal given his general quality of play this season which includes ten Premiership goals and two decisive Champs League goals home and away against Barcelona.

Drogba's goal completed a significant come-back over Everton when with ten minutes to go it looked likely that Chelsea would end the day a challenging eight points behind Man Utd. Instead, the gap is now just two points given Man Utd's later loss at West Ham… which underlines just what an important strike it was from the Ivorian and just how important a player he is truly turning out to be to Chelsea FC.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Diving, cheating and whinging are the 3 core ingredients of Chelseas play therefore Drogba is vitaly to Chelsea as he possesses all of these 'skills'.

12/17/2006 10:13 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL. I agree.

12/17/2006 10:22 pm

Anonymous Charlie Cooke said...

So anonymous agrees with anonymous's puerile remark. Like so many trained seals, the Chelsea haters mindlessly mimic criticisms levelled over the last few years.
Anyone who saw Manure today, particularly the snarling Rooney, would agree that whinging is not confined to a single team.
And the diving jibe against Drogba is oh so last season, but the seals keep waving their flippers because they don't know any better.

12/17/2006 10:33 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

stop hate and appreciate.. Drogba is actully the best striker in the world. If it wasn t because of him, Chelsea would have already almost lost the championsihp: in a week, he brought 6 points to chelsea with the winning goal against newcastle and against everton.. Real recognizes real.. Go Chelsea!! Go Drogba!!!

12/18/2006 1:41 am

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Go Chelsea, go Drogba, go, go, getout of here and dont come back! your manager is swarmy, pathetic and he has the cheek to run down the line again after the Drogba goal. Chelsea were damn lucky, lucky against Newcastle and lucky yesteday, lucky, lucky, lucky. I think the author does well to bring out the haters I think that was the main intention but the haters will hate when Mourinho keeps on rubbing it in our faces. Drogba was pretty rubbish against Werder Bremen and last week against Arsenal and he is not the best striker in the world, not even Henry. Diving and cheating are his skills, and the whinging is pathetic too.

12/18/2006 10:58 am

Anonymous Anonymous said...

U Chelsea haters really don't have a clue do u. Chelsea may not have been at their best yesterday but the fact that 2 very talented footballers in Drogba and Lampard came up with great strikes is a testiment to Chelsea's will to win. The fact that Man United have half that believe and a manager who seems to have lost his tactical edge means that you are going to have to continue with your stupid little digs which have absolutely no solidarity to them as Chelsea are going to be the dominant team for many years to come. So shut up and enjoy the brilliance of a truly masterful side.

12/18/2006 1:20 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Didi is well on the way to becoming a truly world class striker and in spite of certain un-fancied traits, he has done more to expose his more positive contributions which is simply brilliant.

the blues may not be playing well and lucky may be a little true in winning the past two matches, but they have made their luck by never giving up and pressing till the end. that used to be the man u coda in their heydays and when they were on top, ferguson was the whighner and similarly when arsenal was top, wenger was too.....wait, he still is.

so chelsea are going to retain the premiership and in the tightest race to date and BLUE IS THE COLOUR!

12/18/2006 3:35 pm

Blogger Abdul said...

T, I remember you eulogising over Drogba when he was at Marseille. Good spot!

I think this season has shown that Drogba has come of age in the English League - he is simply unstoppable and undroppable.

12/18/2006 5:52 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

And in contrast to Drogba, Shevchenko has been disappointing, considering his reputation, albeit it is not through a lack of trying. With Kalou aside, who is more of an assistant than a fully fledged striker, Chelsea have Drogba and Shevchenko upfront and I sometimes look on whether they actually need any more strikers. OK Shevchenko is potentially yet to come but Drogba is in great form, that is what a manager wants.


12/18/2006 5:58 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

drogba is the best best best striker reigning on the footballing world right now!!! not even the mighty ronaldinho can get close to him it come to score sensational goals.... drogba ur the best man!!! just keep on scoring goals... n abt those who r sayin chelsea is lucky... wat about ronaldo gettin penalty kick for diving against boro???? chelsea lucky? chelsea is strikin the woodwork almost twice or thrice in every match they play n yet they r lucky???/ go n have a checke on the definition of the word lucky dude!!!!
chelsea fc is the best n u must admit that!!!

12/18/2006 6:54 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reading these comments is interesting in that it reveals the "trained seals" syndrom that you mentioned at the beginning so eloquently.

I believe that Didier Drogba has acclimatised himself very well to the English way of playing. He has also tremendously benefited from the presence of Schevchenko whose reputation is affording his strike partner time and space he did not have before.

Those that believe that Scheva is under-performing are also suffering from the trained seal syndrome because when you look at his running and positioning, Scheva exudes class. It is only a matter of time before he starts scoring goals. Defenders will choose to ignore him at their peril.

Critics of Chelsea fail to realise that Chelsea play as a team and while Scheva's contribution is not currently measured in goals, his team contibution is contributing to Chelsea's results - why do you think Jose picks him almost everymatch.

Chelsea critics also fail to see that his tactics and selections are with the team in mind so that Chelsea get results as a unit. Individual brilliance is welcome but he looks to see how the team performs as a unit and calibrates his tactics during a game based on that requirement. That is why he is able to change a formation in a game and get the result in the process - as he did so successfully at Newcastle and everton when he brought in Scheva and got rid of Geremi.

Finally on the issue of Chelsea's funds - get over it. It takes a special manager to mold a championship winning team. Money helps to get the best palyers but it takes someone of Jose's managerial calibre to bring it successfully together.

And to those Chelsea haters - if it was your team that had the money, would you be saying that your team is bringing the game down or would you also recognise that the injection of Roman's investment capital into the footballing structure basically saved the premiership from bankruptcy.

I have been a Chelsea supporter for 35 years and I love the fact that we are doing so well. It is a delight to see Chelsea play football and get the results. We may have no history but I am more excited about the future and the fact that we are making history than those sorry supporters who think that the past is where the glory resides.

Sorry but I'm having a laugh and loving it!

12/18/2006 9:25 pm

Blogger T said...

Thanks for the comments everyone.

It seems clear from the comments that Drogba and Chelsea still divides opinion... but that is football and its good to have them put forward without resorting to insults.

Good comments last anon, I just wonder though about you saying that Shev is NOT underperforming. To me he looks low on confidence and his goals ratio is terrible compared to when he wore the Milan shirt. I take and agree with you say about measuring someones contribution holistically - but from what I've seen (I don't see every Chelsea game) I'm not convinced that his all-round game is making up for his lack of goals.

I do completely agree though that it is not right for anyone to write-off Shevchenko... like the majority of overseas players he needs a good few months to adapt to the pace and style of the English game. Because of this I reckon the most appropriate time to fully judge Shev is at the end of the season.

12/18/2006 11:51 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What are you on about trained seals? You were onof those poking at Man Utd and Arsenal when they were winning and now you grip e when we poke at you, you banana. So stupid you Chelski fans enjoy it while you can cos it runs out shortly when you think you are top of the world when youre not. Whats this abiout Maureen tactics during the game? He had sod all to do to change it at Everton for the first half and got lucky for the Ballack goal then went behind again thanks to Yobo's header, I suppose he planned all that too?!!!!!!!!! Rubbish, you got lucky and thats that. You need a slapping and brought down a peg or two....hundred and then see how brilliant you are, not from hovering at the top without being tested. Good show against Arsenal and Man United had to get back from going behind he planned fro that too yeah???? Woodworms all come out cos its good but when its shit you keep quiet, you need more defeats and see how good you are then. Twat.

12/19/2006 12:38 am

Anonymous Anonymous said...

what a dunce..your last comments anon are just a clear illustration of your depth of ignorance and the very,very deep green streak in it or not chelsea are the new say they have no history,but you know deep down thats all you have present ,or future..chelsea are the present and the future ...wake up dummy!!

12/19/2006 7:59 am

Blogger BlindJak said...

Coming in a bit late on this. Dorgba is very important to the way Chelsea play, irrespective of his current rich vein of form goals wise. The main reason for this is that he is an excellent target man and holds to ball up well allowing the midfield time to join any attack This is equally important when we play a 4-3-3 when he’s the lone striker and a 4-4-2 where Sheva has a tendency to drift wide or drop deep. But as well as that he also has the pace to be the spearhead for any fast break so constantly keep defences on their toes.

The Drogba of this season is chalk and cheese with the previous two where I have often been critical of him. His first touch was woeful and he wasn’t clinical enough in front of goal. This season however he has been a player reborn and his first touch has been excellent and the goals speak for themselves.

It should also be noted that his diving has declined drastically. While he’s still no angel, as evidenced by the comedy of the Lehman incident, he dive a hell of a lot less than he has the previous two seasons.

As for Sheva, although he’s not scored a great deal his presence is opening more space for Drogba and could be one of the factors in his improved goals ratio. It was also noticeable that he set up both the Newcastle goal last week and the winner at Everton so is making a telling contribution. As he is a player of great quality I believe that he’ll eventually settle and show us why he has the reputation he has. However, history is replete with players who fail to live up to reputation after a big money move. That’s not to say they’re not good players more that said move just didn’t work for them. Morientes, Veron, Wiltord, Kleberson, Kewell to name a few. Only time will tell if Sheva is destined to join that list.

12/19/2006 1:52 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

The jury is still out on Kewell with LFC fans, quite split on his influence in the team before injury whereas I was amazed he couldn't deliver the same impetus he gave to Leeds. Morientes couldnt settle in the EPL and that was a big shame, particularly as he was superb in the CL 2004 and made some way to scoring for us and well.

As for Drogba, he is the starting man upfront almost each game. It's also a good point raised that Shevchenko is not to be looked on for his goals alone, his play and work rate off the ball and playing in his teammates are also crucial. For them both, or individually, they are there and Chelsea are yet again competing for the league, one of two teams in a race that should have consisted of at least five with similar points.


12/19/2006 2:06 pm

Blogger T said...

Thanks BJ. I feel sorry for Sylvain Wiltord that you placed him on the same list as Kleberson!

For me Sylvain was a very solid player for Arsenal scoring 17 goals in our 2001-02 double winning season - including the memorable title clincher at OT - and in his four seasons could consistently be relied upon to put in a hard-working performance. His price-tag was big and with it came a big expectation that he maybe didn't quite reach. But all in all he was a good player for us.

12/19/2006 6:41 pm

Blogger BlindJak said...

I bow to your greater Gooner knowledge there t ;-)

12/21/2006 9:31 am

Blogger T said...

Thanks BJ... and I should highlight another quality Drogba goal yesterday... his confidence is sky-high!

12/21/2006 9:58 am


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