Anelka-Mazing! Chelsea's New First Choice

chris daviesAnalyst INovember 16, 2008

For the past four seasons at Stamford Bridge it has been the Ivorian Didier Drogba atop the Chelsea eleven leading the attack. Without question he has been the most dominating force in front of goal for the Blues.

How the mighty have fallen.

A coaching change, a lingering injury, and a looming suspension have left Drogba kicking his boots against the bench instead of looking for the back of the net.

After sitting out for a month with a knee injury suffered against Cluj in the Champions League he has struggled to find the form that made him a prolific striker.

Shades of his former self appeared against Burnley as he opened the scoring for the Blues, only to be booked for tossing a coin back in to the stands, for which it seems he will receive a mandatory three match ban from the FA.

Then, in what could be his last game prior to suspension, he watched for 75 minutes Saturday as his replacement, Nicolas Anelka, notched his sixth and seventh goals in four matches.

Anelka, to his own credit, has been nothing short of amazing so far this campaign. He has found the back of the net 12 times in 13 league games and added another in Champions League play.

Under the reign of Luiz Felipe Scolari Anelka has been able to shine. With the focus more on flowing football, with short effective passing more prominent than deep balls, Anelka has put on a clinic for each opposing team.

His domination of the league has placed Drogba on the outside looking in, for more than a little while, it would seem. Both strikers are the solitary type: They prefer to patrol the box alone, and it seems would not do too well sharing.

Assistant first-team coach Ray Wilkins expects nothing short of a battle between the two in the coming months.

Wilkins said: "I think the system we play—with one central striker—suits them both down to the ground. Using 4-4-2 would only come in to play if we were losing, although I wouldn't fancy playing against them both!

"It is up to whoever has the shirt to make sure they stay in's a healthy rivalry. Felipe is getting the quality out of Anelka. He can get hold of the ball much better now and has been working so hard in order for us to play around the opponents' penalty box. That is what Didier is exceptional at, though.

"I have only known him for about six weeks, but I can see he has an in-built determination to succeed and I don't think he is going to lie down lightly."

Such competition can only be good for a team searching to reclaim the Premier League title and their first Champions League title in club history.

Though it remains to be seen how the rivalry will pan out, it is evident which striker has the upper hand currently, and who will continue to be favored. For the time being at least.