While doom and gloom often prevails when a star forward gets sold to another club or happens to be injured for several weeks, there are a couple of London clubs who are seemingly bucking the trend. Over at White Hart Lane, Darren Bent is hungry like a wolf after Tottenham sold Robbie Keane, with the former Charlton man banging in the goals during pre-season. It’s a similar story with Chelsea, where the absence of Didier Drogba is bringing out the best in one of his team-mates.
It’s fair to say that Blues fans did not see the best of Nicolas Anelka last season, after the Frenchman signed in January for £15 million. The player claims he was not used in his best position of centre forward, regularly having to forage out on the flanks. His penalty miss in the Champions League final were as unfortunate as the comments he made following the match, claiming that he wasn’t mentally prepared to take a spot kick.
However, the Daily Mail report that the striker bagged a hatful of goals against Milan on Sunday, and that Scolari is loving his front man.
The £15m signing from Bolton completed his hat-trick early in the second half after a neat move involving Deco, Ashley Cole and Malouda, rising unmarked to head past the former Leicester keeper.
Anelka stabbed in another Malouda cross before being replaced by an unfit Andriy Shevchenko, Scolari said: ‘It was important for Anelka but more important for us to have more confidence for this player.
‘He’s one of the players that we need this season. Today, not because he scored four goals, but he played with more quality and freedom than in the other games.
‘It’s fantastic for his confidence to score four times against Milan. He believes more and the other players believe in him more.’
Will it be Anelka, rather than Drogba, who is the star of the show next season? The Ivorian is once again plagued by injury, while rumours continue to surface that the forward might leave the club. However, if Anelka can keep banging in the goals, his team-mate’s absence won’t seem like that much of a blow.