Emma (crouchea) wrote in ontd_football,
Emma
crouchea
ontd_football

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The Spartak Redemption.

Chelsea booked their place in the knockout stages of the CL yesterday, thanks to a goal apiece from Anelka and Drogba, and two from Ivanovic!!! The game was notable mainly for the fact that it was Drogba's return to the CL after serving a three-match-ban following his red for a foul on Motta against Inter in that game last season (D:). 

 The Guardian have provided us with 20 stunning photos from the photo, they were too lush not to share!

 

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Plus an artcile about Didier's return to the European big-stage: -

Didier Drogba lacks fire but fuels Chelsea win over Spartak Moscow
Chelsea's captain for the night made his belated Champions League bow without any theatrics but with an inevitable goal
Stamford Bridge had to wait until just after the hour for Didier Drogba to signal his return. The Ivorian emerged from his customary autumn hibernation away from the group stage of this competition, a legacy of misdemeanours sparked by elimination the previous year, to face Spartak Moscow. With their talisman restored, Chelsea's latest pursuit of this trophy feels as if it is gathering pace.

This was a gentle welcome back, lacking the emotion of the visit of Internazionale in March that had seen Drogba rake his boot down Thiago Motta's achilles to prompt a red card. Three campaigns in a row have begun with a ban, not a bang.

The fever that kept him out of the trip to Moscow having subsided, Drogba eased his way back in here, stirring midway through the second half to ensure his side's passage into the knock-out phase.

He had been drifting somewhat in the early stages of the half, before he snapped awake to induce Evgeni Makeev's foul in the area after 61 minutes. The penalty was dispatched comfortably for a 32nd goal in 61 Champions League appearances. Moments later it was Drogba's free-kick that was headed down and in by Branislav Ivanovic to add gloss to the scoreline. In truth, Drogba's display – occasionally almost uninterested, at other times alert and productive – summed up his campaign to date.

If there has been a vague criticism of the forward this season it would be of his apparent desire to supply rather than score. Selflessness is rarely cause for concern but at times, when Chelsea have been strolling against the lesser lights in the Premier League, Drogba has meandered out of the centre and sought to present team-mates with opportunities. It is as if scoring has become too easy, as if he considers the goals to be somewhat devalued.

That should hardly constitute an annoyance. Florent Malouda and Nicolas Anelka have benefited – the Ivorian's lay-off for the latter at Ewood Park on Saturday was immaculate – and Frank Lampard's absence has gone relatively unnoticed with his goals being supplied by others in this supremely effective team. The manager sees the value in Drogba's assists.

"He is a striker, but I think he has always shown unselfish behaviour on the pitch," said Carlo Ancelotti.

Yet, on a humdrum occasion such as this it would have been refreshing for Drogba to rampage again, his focus fixed solely upon swelling his own tally as it was on the season's opening day, against West Bromwich Albion. There had only been three goals since that hat-trick before last night, including his customary score against Arsenal. The sight of Drogba at his best generates its own drama. This return to European competition had offered a platform.

There were hints of urgency in his first-half performance. Chelsea's better opportunities, Alex's horrible miss from a yard out aside, had generally been provided by their captain, though Drogba had rather scuffed Yuri Zhirkov's early free-kick and then seen Andriy Dykan block a near-post attempt. His free header over the bar from Zhirkov's corner was wasteful. More impressive was his collection of Mikel John Obi's punt, barging a passage between Nicolas Pareja and Aleksandr Sheshukov before Dykan stifled his shot.

Thereafter, frustration threatened to set in and he was rather overshadowed by Anelka's slickly taken goal – his fifth in four Champions League games – before he roused himself. Ancelotti had pointed to the positive impact the Ivorian can make on this competition if he can keep his temper. Feistier nights lie ahead; for now, Drogba will be content to be back.

sauce
I kind of love Chelsea and Didi rather a lot =) The first half was yawn-inducing 2damax, but it picked up in the second half and Chelsea have deservedly booked their place in the knockout stages. Now just watch us draw Inter again or s/t and get knocked out immediately. *clown music* Up until now, Chelsea had been getting along quite fine without him in the CL, 9 points from 9, but even so, any team would rather have Drogba than not have him. He also wore the armband last night, with John Terry an unused sub and Lamps still injured. And yeah, even though it wasn't one of his best games, I am so happy to see him in Europe again. When I think of Drogba, I always think of that Nina Simone song lyric "I'm just a soul who's intentions are good, oh lord, please don't let me be misunderstood", as well as this pic: -

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Chelsea is <3
Tags: bungsten burner, club: chelsea, didier drogba, league: champions league, picspam
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