Just Lay Off Shevchenko

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BubblyMickey can’t understand why Didier Drogba’s spectacular form hasn’t taught us anything about players who need time to settle.

Andriy Shevchenko’s life got that extra bit worse over the weekend. Chelsea beat Macclesfield 6-1 in the FA Cup Third Round, with even miniature footballer Shaun Wright-Phillips getting a notch on his belt. But the rather expensive Ukranian striker failed to score again.

He even got dissed by a barely professional footballer. Macclesfield Town captain David Morley saying

“If he played for us and wasn’t banging them in he wouldn’t get that support. He should be scoring goals and he’s not doing it. He cost £30million and he’s on £120,000 a week, but he’s not doing it. There is a difference playing against Shevchenko, as his touch and movement are good, but he never really troubled us. I think his pace has gone.”

When a man whose just conceded six goals feels the need to take the piss out of an opposing striker, you know there’s something’s wrong. When said man even patronises that striker with “his touch and movement are good” then maybe the world is upside down.

Fact is Shevchenko is struggling to adapt to the Premiership and isn’t getting enough chances to do so. Serie A is a vastly different game, so you can’t expect Shevchenko to just pull on a blue shirt and away we go. Just because a striker has a barren spell that doesn’t mean he’s suddenly lost it forever, just means he needs to find it again.

It’s the same argument as Shaun Wright-Phillips, but with one major difference. We all know SWP is talented, we saw it on a regular basis at Man City. We all know opportunities have been scarce for the wee man at Stamford Bridge, and so all the talk is that a move away will solve his problems. No one just assumes he’s crap.

But because no one saw too much of Shevchenko in Serie A (and don’t pretend you did, if anyone was watching then Bravo wouldn’t have canceled their Italian football coverage and James Richardson wouldn’t be standing outside a Rome coffee shop holding a “will pun for food” sign) we all just assume that he’s suddenly shit. Even if Shevchenko had lost his pace, how would David Morley know? Did he used to compete in a secret “Top of Serie A vs Bottom of League Two” 100 yard dash we don’t know about?

Shevchenko still has the same talent he had last season, he’s just not the key striker like he was at the San Siro thanks to Didier Drogba’s excellent form, much of which was attributed to Shevchenko creating space for the Ivorian in the early part of the season. Let’s not forget he even drew the foul that got the Macclesfield keeper sent off on Saturday.

So how about we all lay off Shevchenko, stop reading and writing stories about how he’s washed up because he’s not justifying the exorbitant fee Chelsea payed for him and just wait for one of Europe’s deadliest strikers to rediscover his touch.