Love him or hate him, there isn’t any doubt Didier Drogba has started this season in devastating fashion. We rave about the attacking talents of Rooney, Torres, and Van Perise, but 2009/10 will be the Ivoirian’s season. He is fit strong, powerful, and any centre half’s nightmare.
He started his first Champions League game of the season at Athletico Madrid last night returning from a three-match ban following his appalling actions at the final whistle after Chelsea’s controversial semifinal defeat to Barcelona. And he put on a display that would leave any side in the competition fearing facing this beast of a striker.
I first watched Drogba dismantle a Gerard Houllier Liverpool team in the UEFA Cup in 2004 where he tormented the Liverpool backline over the two games which in a season in which he guided Marseille to the final and then sealed his big move to Chelsea.
He is now 31 by far the eldest striker out of the big teams but he is well and truly in his prime. He is fully fit after a good preseason lay off and he netted twice in the opening day victory over Hull. Drogba found himself on the score sheet again at Fulham and at Stoke. He grabbed the winner against Spurs and scored at the defeats at Wigan and Aston Villa.
He was outstanding versus Liverpool having a helping hand in both goals in a 2-0 victory and he got his eight of the season against Blackburn and helped himself to two goals in as many games against Bolton in the Carling Cup and League Cup.
Not to mention, in between of the above he has helped his nation to qualification for the World Cup next summer. God help Manchester United on Sunday afternoon if last night’s defensive display at home to CSKA Moscow is anything to go by, Drogba will have a field day.
Rio Ferdinand is now a major doubt for the game and looks unlikely to play whereas there is a good chance that Vidic will play but judging the problems United had at Anfield against a 80 percent fit Torres a fully fit on form Drogba will play United off the park.
United are one of the few teams Drogba hasn’t played well against. He has bagged himself a number of goals against Liverpool and Arsenal when it comes to United he has yet to perform, he now has his biggest chance yet on Sunday.
Carlo Anchelotti has said that he would not have any other striker in the world right now in place of Drogba and who would blame him. Torres is not fit and looks like he will struggle to play in a lot of the games this season and a lot is expected of the Spaniard like tonight for example at Lyon. Rooney is facing a potential burn out issue come the business end of the season and Van Persie is like Torres injury prone.
Chelsea’s advantage is in Anelka he has filled in for Drogba in the first three group games and did the business getting crucial goals but the Italian at the helm at the Bridge has managed to get the two ‘grumps’ playing in harmony and Chelsea football club are reaping the benefits. And don’t forget that for the first six weeks of the group stages Drogba has been resting.
Whilst every striker in the league is struggling with fitness and fatigue Drogba is on fire at the minute and this season is going to a career defining one for a player who twelve months ago looked destined to leave for Italy.
You get the feeling that this season is a big one for Chelsea in terms of winning their first Champions League title and the man from Africa is going to be central to their success.
I have a feeling that he will find himself up for all kinds of awards come May if he continues. He is my bet already for PFA player of the year. Fans of other clubs need to forget the petulance and play acting of seasons past and sit back and enjoy what Drogba has to offer, not only in the Premier League and Europe this season, but the World when he plays at the World Cup at the end of the season.