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It’s Time to End Talk of Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka Being Strike Partners

Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka

When Nicolas Anelka arrived at Stamford Bridge 13 months ago, pundits everywhere talked up the possibility of a devastating strike partnership between him and Didier Drogba. Even Drogba himself described the potential pairing as “terrifying.” One year later, however, it’s become plainly obvious that the strike partnership everyone wants is simply never going to materialize.

Anyone could see in Chelsea’s 0-0 draw at home today against Hull City that Drogba and Anelka simply don’t provide the offensive spark the Blues need. To be sure, Chelsea had their opportunities throughout the day — as did Hull — but Drogba’s entrance in the game after an hour didn’t give Chelsea any extra scoring threat. Perhaps against a West Brom or a Newcastle, Drogba and Anelka could have teamed up on a goal, but against a Hull side that showed a good amount of fight today, they produced nothing.

There are plenty of reasons why this strike partnership is doomed to failure. The personalities of these two players might have something to do with it. Drogba has been in the doghouse at Chelsea and has made no secret that he doesn’t want to be there anymore, and when Anelka isn’t the primary target up front, he tends to sulk. He seemed to live up to that sulking reputation today, fading into the background whenever Drogba entered into play.

A bigger deterrent, however, might be the fact that Chelsea simply doesn’t use a 4-4-2 formation. Luiz Felipe Scolari has stuck with the 4-3-3 formation that took Chelsea to the UEFA Champions League final last year, and that formation doesn’t lend itself to the talents Drogba and Anelka bring to the table. Only one of them can fit in the center of that front line, and with Drogba on the outs at Stamford Bridge, Anelka will get the nod from Scolari every time.

Why Chelsea won’t change their formation remains a mystery. Maybe Scolari believes this is still the best formation for his side. Maybe Roman Abramovich has demanded that Chelsea stay in the 4-3-3. (We all know he’s not above tinkering with the lineup.) Maybe Drogba’s petulance has forced everyone’s hand. We don’t know for certain.

All we really know is that no one will ever be terrified by the partnership of Drogba and Anelka, because that partnership never materialized and probably never will. It’s far from the only reason Chelsea suddenly find themselves in fourth place today — injuries to Michael Essien and Joe Cole certainly haven’t helped — but it’s definitely played a role.

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  1. claude gikwerere

    June 29, 2009 at 11:22 am

    je peut commente sur drogba c’est une melleil jouel qui vois la ou il a le poton defille merci

  2. pavanman

    February 9, 2009 at 2:33 am

    why not play a diamond 4-4-2 like west ham

  3. Mohammed

    February 8, 2009 at 8:18 pm

    Its amazing how Chelsea have fallen apart. Honestly as a die hard united fan, its been a good feeling but one I must say is sad for football. Don’t blame the players or the coaches blame that dumb Russian billionaire that you call an owner. How could you sack Jose, honestly think about it, your first trophy in 50 years, carling cup, FA Cup and then a second premier league title. Come on DUMBramovich. Regarding Drogba and Le Sulk, it could work if you bring back the special one, honestly Chelsea will finish 4th and that is it, Its a shame a big shame. Oh well even the city of Troy had to come down and its because the royal family then was stubborn so i guess we should not be shocked by the demise of CHELSEA.

  4. Moussa KZ.

    February 7, 2009 at 6:22 pm

    IM really depressed…. WHERE THE HELL IS ANELKA?
    Why did Scolari get Ballack out for Deco?!?!?!
    Please no more Drogba pleaseeee.

  5. craig

    February 7, 2009 at 6:20 pm

    I have to disagree. I believe they would be good together. Their styles are a perfect match. But I wouldn't play them as a strick 4-4-2. I would have anlkea as a floating cf and Drogs as the target man. Anlkea is no good as a lone striker which he admits himself . He is more of the poacher and needs the space/gaps to operate which teams do not give him when they park the bus etc. Bring in Drogs who is excelent at holding up the ball and drawing defenders. That should provide Anekla the space and runs to operate off.
    This extra threat means teams could not afford to sit on Drog in a attempt to close him (or Anlkea) down on the final 3rd pass. Which has been a masive problem for the blues and also provide drogs with a looser defence to muscule through.
    They both have egos but Anelka wants this postion (or similar) so should stop the sulk. He disapears when he is put on the wing. Because he dosn't want to play there. I believe if anleka was proving fruitful in thsi role it would cause Droga to lift his game to remain the star blues striker.
    I think Scolari also dosn't want to change formation because he knows his defence stragey is shit and dosen't want to lose the extra DM cover.

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