Drogba and Anelka aren´t compatible?

December 11, 2008 at 9:54 am Leave a comment

deasillyChelsea legend Marcel Desailly admits Luiz Felipe Scolari faces a major struggle to turn Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka into a formidable Premier League goal getter.

Drogba rarely played alongside Anelka last season and the Ivory Coast star has yet to start a game with the France forward this season.

Even after Drogba came off the bench to score the decisive goal that booked Chelsea’s place in the Champions League last 16 against Cluj on Tuesday, Scolari admitted he is still unsure how to get his two leading hitmen firing on all cylinders.

It is not the first time it has been suggested their talents aren’t compatible and Desailly agrees that, although both are clearly gifted individuals, it will be hard to make them into a potent force together.

“The fact they have Drogba back is not so important. It is good because he is a top player but Anelka has done well. I’m not sure they can play together,” said Desailly, who won the 1998 World Cup with France.

Drogba’s ability to work as lone targetman has made him invaluable to Chelsea over the last four years.

In Drogba’s absence through injury and suspension, Anelka has scored 15 times but the Blues have often looked toothless without their powerful talisman.

With Scolari generally opting for one striker and two wide players, there will have to be a complete change in team philosophy to accomodate both.

Desailly, now working as a spokesman for the sponsors of the Premier League, believes it will take many hours of practice and discussion on the training ground.

“There is no competition between them on a personal level. They are friends. It is just a matter of communication,” he said.

“The manager has to tell them to adapt themselves. Drogba probably is the one who is able to stay more up front, where Anelka can turn and catch an opportunity.

“It is communication. If Scolari manages to explain this then maybe they can work together.”

After initially storming to the top of the Premier League at the start of the season, Chelsea have spluttered in recent weeks.

Desailly believes injuries to a host of key players are behind the slump and he expects Chelsea to get back on track once the midfielders have a chance to gel again.

“Remember the first 15 games of the season. Regardless of the result you could see a special Chelsea,” Desailly said. “It was something different from Mourinho or Avram Grant’s sides.

“They were more exciting and playing much more in midfield. Obi Mikel, Ballack, Lampard and Deco. This is what made the difference.

“I feel the stability of the team is the key. They don’t have Essien at the moment and Deco has been injured, Ballack the same. When all these players are fit they should be strong again.”

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