Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Ancelotti contemplates Chelsea strike force

Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti has hinted he would consider resting Didier Drogba against West Ham this weekend despite his outstanding recent form.

Chelsea have won six of their past seven Premier League matches – taking the club back to second – and their revival has coincided with Drogba’s return to form and Ancelotti’s final acceptance that the Ivory Coast striker, rather than Fernando Torres, should be the first name on his team sheet.

Drogba, controversially left on the bench for the Champions League quarter-final at Old Trafford, scored when he came on as a substitute in Chelsea’s 2-1 defeat and then made huge contributions to a 3-1 victory at West Brom (one goal and two assists) and a 3-1 win over Birmingham (two assists).

But Ancelotti refuses to accept the striker is now undroppable and even hinted Torres, left on the bench for two games in a row, could be back.

“We started with Torres against City. We won the game when Didier came on. It might be a good solution to give him the last 30 minutes of the game because he’s fresh and fit,” he said.

“Our shape is good. The players are comfortable with that. We can change it in the next game – it depends on the shape of the opposition team.”

“Everyone has to know that Fernando is the present and the future of this club. We cannot judge now the moment. He will play a lot of games for Chelsea and everyone will forget the two games he didn’t play from the start in 2011.”

Ancelotti accepts, however, that a London derby against relegation-threatened West Ham will be a big test for his team as they bid to catch leaders Manchester United.

“At this stage of the season, every game is difficult. It’s difficult to prepare, to stay in concentration, but we have to know we’ll have a tough game,” he said.

“When one teams needs the points to stay up, they will do more than 100 percent. For this reason, we have to be ready. It’s a very tough competition, the Premier League, so anything can happen.”

Ashley Cole is a doubt for the game after limping off in the midweek win over Birmingham. Defender Alex and midfielder Ramires are both major doubts but hope to be fit to face Tottenham a week later.

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