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The Strikers' dilemma for Chelsea

This is Carlo Ancelotti’s biggest head ache at the moment:the selection of two amongst a spoilt choice of three world class strikers. The talented and clinical Nicolas Anelka, the powerful and lethal Didier Drogba and the out of form but devastating Fernando Torres. So who do you start with?

Peas of the same pod

Ever since the January transfer window, the signing which has raised a lot of eyebrows for various reasons is the Fernando Torres. Surely, a player commanding such an astronomical fee should be a confirmed starter. Or should he? The obvious answer is yes. The logic is quite simple- You surely did not make a British record fee for a guy to warm the bench. So an assured place in the starting line up for El Nino means the omission of either Anelka or Drogba or the complete absence of width which affects the balance of any team. Well to start off, most fans expected the Drogba-Torres combo to kick off.  The problem lies in the similarity of the two strikers. The fact is that Drogba is getting old and no longer has the legs that once terrorized and harried defenders. Anelka, on the other hand, is still quick and a willing runner. His clever movement and off the ball running is very good and plays brilliantly behind the main striker.  When Torres was signed by Chelsea, tactical pundits were excited about the possibility of seeing Anelka being played more as a ‘trequartista’ by Ancelotti, a role that really suits the silky Frenchman.

The real problem with the Drogba-Torres combo is that more are straight forward target men. Both are the fulcrums or focal points of the team they have been playing for so far. Now, no team can have multiple fulcrums. It might be appealing to know that you have more than one player to look out for, but this is where the fantasy stops. This might work on FIFA ’11, but not in reality. Egos and tempers start to flare up and the differences extend even if they don’t appear to exist. Just like the numerous baseless rumor mills circulating, this false to eye combos disparities start to crop up. Though the two players might be intelligent enough to play together, it really affects the team composition over all. With both players known not too much known for their defensive duties and discipline and an ageing Lampard starting every game with his tiring legs, it has a negative impact on the team. Anelka on the other hand fits the second striker’s role perfectly. Always a willing runner and clever to help and set up his team mates combined with excellent work rate fits the bill perfectly.

A potential winning combo

What is left now is how fast Ancelotti realizes this and brings down the axe on the Torres-Drogba combo. He might have less option but to rotate them this season, but it has to be different starting from the next. He needs to help Torres find his form as early as possible and make a big decision on his star strikers. It’s always better to smoothen the road ahead when you have the tools and not suffer on rugged roads ahead.  So Ancelotti should look to start with Anelka no matter what.

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