Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Torres Drought Continues, But Anelka Is On Hand To Inspire Blues

Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka (left) powers in a shot to put Chelsea in front against CopenhagenIn what is a result that may well have saved Carlo Ancelotti's job, Nicolas Anelka once again showed that he is Mr. Reliable in the Champions League for Chelsea. With seven goals in six matches, Anelka sits atop the Champions League scoring charts, and his brace away in Copenhagen will go some way to strengthening his case for a place in Ancelotti's starting line-up. Having pounced on a Gronkejaar mistake early in the first half, Anelka went on to torment the Copenhagen back line with his sharp movement and wonderful touch. Even more encouragingly for Chelsea, Fernando Torres began to show signs of a possible return to form, and his partnership with Anelka looks to be one destined for success.

Under pressure following a penalty miss against Everton, Anelka once again showed why he remains an important cog in the Chelsea machine. The quality of finishing that he is capable of producing was highlighted by his brilliant shot in the second half, one that was teed up by the ever improving Frank Lampard. If Anelka carries on the form he showed at the Stadium of Light a couple weeks ago, and the sheer quality which he displayed earlier in the day, then Carlo Ancelotti will have little reason for benching him.

Pre-match, the word on the street was that Ancelotti was one poor performance away from becoming unemployed, and with Claudio Ranieri handing in his notice at Roma, a return to Italy looked plausible. However, following Chelsea's blistering showing in Denmark, one would be hard pressed to imagine any scenario involving King Carlo receiving the sack.

On a slightly darker note, Didier Drogba continued his impersonation of "Stacy the sulking teenage girl" as, having come on to replace Anelka, he put in yet another performance devoid of any verve, passion or commitment. If the powerful Ivorian forward has any ambitions of reclaiming his spot in the Chelsea first team, he will have to come into form very quickly, as fellow countryman Kalou will be eying a sneak up the pecking order. If, in the coming weeks, Kalou does slip ahead of Drogba, then that long mooted summer move back to Marsielle may well become reality.

For Copenhagen, the result will come as a severe disappointment with much more expected from the Danish champions who, earlier in the competition, managed to hold Barcelona to a 1-1 draw. They will certainly have a mountain to climb if they expect to progress any farther in the tournament, but an early away goal at Stamford Bridge would make things extremely interesting.

Can FC Copenhagen overturn a two goal deficit?

Who are your preferred striking options for Chelsea?

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