Andriy Shevchenko came under more pressure today as former Republic of Ireland striker Tony Cascarino proclaimed that the Shevchenko we know and have loved over the years for AC Milan will not regain his form on the pitch for Chelsea.
I didn’t get to watch the Chelsea versus Rosenborg match last night in the Champions League, but I did watch the highlights. And I did watch the full 90 minutes of the 0-0 draw from Saturday against Blackburn Rovers.
While Shevchenko is definitely not near his best, I feel the criticism aimed at Shevchenko for these past two matches is unfair. Simply put, he’s not getting the service he needs to score.
Against Blackburn, chances were few and far between for Shevchenko as Blackburn’s defence remained solid throughout the match providing the Chelsea striker (and his teammates) with relatively few clear-cut opportunities to score. I remember two chances Shevchenko had to score against Blackburn. The first was blocked by one of the Blackburn defenders as he outstretched his leg to fire the ball into the back of the net. The second was the last gasp header by Christopher Samba to deflect the ball away, while Shevchenko’s foot was already in midair attempting to hit the ball into the back of the net.
If pundits or fans want to criticize, why not focus on the 22-year-old Salomon Kalou who wasted several chances against Rosenborg to score (and in several matches he’s played for Chelsea). Or Michael Essien, normally quite skillful in front of goal, who blew a relatively easy chance against the Norwegian team last night? Of course, when Shevchenko got a chance against Rosenborg, he scored with a header to salvage a vital draw and to prevent embarrassment for Mourinho.
Sure, Shevchenko has been a flop, but based on his performances in the past two matches, I don’t see him getting the service or space he needs to score. Give the Ukrainian striker a few more matches up front and then see what he does. Then we’ll really know whether Shevchenko won’t show up for Chelsea or not.