Wednesday, 7 December 2011

The curious case of Didier Drogba

Last night we saw everything that is great about Didier Drogba; the power, the pace and the finishing ability that once made him the most feared striker in the Premier League. However, mixed in with this is a brooding figure who has been the figurehead of this Chelsea side since Jose Mourinho brought him to the club in 2004.

During his time at Chelsea he has played under five managers and two caretakers and has been instrumental in the recent success of the club. The introduction of Portuguese manager Andre Vilas-Boas was expected to signal the end of Drogba’s reign at Chelsea but the Ivorian has muscled his way back into contention, at the expense of Fernando Torres. His display at the weekend and again last night must surely now reaffirm his position as Chelsea’s number one striker.

It has been a puzzling few months in the saga that is Chelsea Football Club. The new manager clearly wants to instil a new style of play that has been fundamentally the same since Mourinho’s tenure. Every manager that has attempted to change this style has failed and has eventually paid the ultimate price by being sacked.

However, with Torres seemingly still struggling for form and confidence Villas-Boas has turned to Drogba and the clubs tried and trusted style to revive their fortunes. The high defensive line that we witnessed being ripped to shreds by Arsenal a matter of weeks ago was certainly not on evidence last night and the manager’s post match comments indicated that he is feeling the pressure. There is no doubt in my mind that this is a temporary solution to the problem but it also highlights the manager’s problems in changing the club.

There are too many players at Chelsea who feel they are bigger than the club and more important than any new acquisitions. It is clear already that until Villas-Boas can get rid of these players the transition into a more expansive and progressive side will have to wait. Getting rid of John Terry would prove too tricky in the short term but Drogba would represent a start. He carries far too much sway amongst team mates, fans and club associates and has hindered previous managers at the club.

There is no doubting that Drogba can still have a positive influence over Chelsea’s future but for me the negatives outweigh the positives and a move in January would benefit all parties; Sturridge, Torres and more importantly Villas-Boas. The club must always come first and the debacle that Abramovich has created must be resolved if they are to challenge for major honours again.

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