The return to fitness by Chelsea hit man Didier Drogba has come at an important time as the West London club resurrects its charge for the English Premier League title chase this season.
The Ivorian danger man scored twice as the Blues overcame Valencia challenge to qualify for the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League competition. He has re-ignited Chelsea attack that had lost shape in the last few weeks.
Drogba was very inspirational in the Blues match that ended Manchester City’s unbeaten run this season in the Barclays Premier League.
The Ivorian has not been at his best so far this season in terms of his ability to find the goal and his apparent commitment towards removing opposition defenders by whatever means possible, but both of those features returned in full force at Stamford Bridge against Valencia and Chelsea.
Chelsea fans have started to watch a fantastic game from their team and were fully behind it against Manchester city on Monday this week. Chelsea looks a better team now with a completely functional centre forward.
Before City’s game, Chelsea was 13-points behind league leaders but has been reduced to 10-points after an emphatic win over the team from East middlands.
Recent Chelsea performance has also lessened pressure from the embattled Andre-Villas Boas.
Unlike in previous seasons, Chelsea has performed poorly defensively and in attack ever since the 2011-2012 season started.
Last month there was a huge amount of criticism leveled at Chelsea’s defenders, once tight defence was seemingly leaking goals on a far too regular basis so much so that the club has only managed to keep three clean sheets in the Premier League this season.
David Luiz and John Terry has looked a shaky partnership on several occasions, Luiz is error prone and Terry appeared partly distracted by off-field problems.
Chelsea defense has looked vulnerable especially in defeats against Arsenal, Blackburn and QPR.
However, the over emphasis on Chelsea’s defensive problems masks the realities of their deficiencies in front of goal as well.
Both Drogba and Torres have been the biggest beneficiaries from the defence’s poor form as it has taken attention away from their own dismal performances. Drogba started the season struggling and Torres is still a sick man infront of goal mouth.
The only chance for the blues is that Daniel Sturridge who is being played wide on the right has outscored Drogba, Anelka, Lukaku and Torres combined, all of whom have occupied the centre forward role at some time this season.
Of recent, Chelsea has been attacking more fluidly than last year but without a centre-forward who is successfully running the line or scoring goals which is seriously worrying and a serious factor behind the clubs recent poor form.
However, it is also noted that AVB has drastically changed the way Chelsea play both defensively and offensively.
Offensively Chelsea traditionally would counter as well as look to utilize the power of Drogba through long balls and a more direct style. Viewing Chelsea lately has made it clear that the emphasis is on a more concise build up.
The addition of Mata and Sturridge was aimed at supporting central forwards as they provide the flair and creativity to play balls in behind.
Sturridge and Mata have performed brilliantly well this season. They have pace and very skillful. They also put up brilliant performance against Manchester city that saw an equalizer and eventual winner from substitute Frank Lampard.
Chelsea has in past few lacked sharp forwards to combine well with these youngsters but the return to full fitness of Drogba has revived Chelsea’s offensive play.