After their capitulation against Man United, Chelsea's first chance to redeem themselves comes in the form of a F.A. Cup third round replay match against Southend tonight.
And Didier Drogba will not be playing.
The Right Decision
Dropping Drogba is the right decision and I'm glad that Scolari isn't too stubborn to realise it now rather than later. Since his return from injury, Drogba has been calling for himself to be put back into the lineup, but when he's been given the chance he hasn't taken it.
His performance against Man United on Sunday was probably the worst performance Drogba has ever put on in his career. He literally didn't do one thing right in the whole match.
Going back to Anelka is the right solution. I've publicly voiced my doubts about Anelka, but I never thought that Drogba would play this bad on his return.
So whilst Anelka may not be the one, later on in the season, to score against the toughest opposition Chelsea have more than enough great players like Lampard, Deco, and Ballack to rely on making the difference (although the latter two had a very disappointing game too on Sunday).
It's Up To You Now
Scolari is clearly a strong man, not afraid to make big decisions, and it's a good sign for Chelsea fans everywhere that he's recognised the problem and seems to be taking drastic measures to rectify it. It shows a good sign that he's a good manager.
But now, like Scolari said himself, it all depends on how the Chelsea players react to the changes. They looked so despondent on Sunday, really devoid of any energy or inspiration. Even after they were 2-0 down there was no sense of urgency. I've never seen a Chelsea team over the last 5 years play so poorly under pressure.
There's almost no doubt in my mind that the team morale isn't very high. But it can still change, with a few good results, and if they regain their early confidence and drive then they'll definitely still be in contention for all the competitions they are still in.
P.S.: I hope this doesn't sound cocky, but I predicted the problems under pressure (in big games), the defensive problems (especially aerially), Anelka not performing against the best teams (did you see him when he came on—he was playing as a midfielder rather than making runs behind the defense!), and also Obi Mikel (really poor defending and made some errors which could've made the scoreline even greater than it was for Man U).
I even semi-predicted the Drogba thing—saying that it wasn't a guarantee for him to come back and play well, and enhance the team—although I wholly admit that I never expect him to come back in such rotten form.
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