Player Focus: Nicolas Anelka

France and Anelka might believe they can live without each other but for us at Chelsea, Nicolas Anelka is more than welcome.

He might be considered ‘Le Sulk’ elsewhere and I’m sure very few gave him much chance of success when he came to Stamford Bridge but after some initial teething problems with dodgy managers, Anelka’s work-rate and ability have seen him establish himself as an ever-present in the first team.

Never one to shy away from bust-ups with management before his Chelsea days, Nicolas Anelka left Arsenal on bad terms, upset everyone at Real Madrid and fell out with the coach at PSG then had a loan spell at Liverpool before signing for Manchester City, Fenerbahce and finally Bolton before coming to Chelsea in the January transfer window of 2008. But for a player previously unable to settle anywhere, at Chelsea, he managed to hang on long enough for a manager who actually knew what to do with him and finally seems to have found somewhere he wants to stay – and the benefits are all ours.

With Didier Drogba spending more time out of the side in 2008/09, Nicolas Anelka not only stepped up to the plate but took the Golden Boot with 25 goals that season and whilst he didn’t manage that many last season, 15 was still a decent return given his number of assists.

With Didier Drogba uninjured and the main man up front in a 4-3-3, last season Anelka turned provider with the highest number of assists in his career. In fact, in a season where a Didier Drogba in blistering form managed the most goals and most assists in the Premier League, very few will have realised Anelka ranked in the top four for assists and higher still when it came to passes leading to chances.

So whilst Anelka, at 31, may well be one of the Chelsea players in the upper age group, he’s also one of the players who even at that age, is at the top of his game. And whilst France thought they were better off without him (and vice versa), from Chelsea’s point of view, he’s everything we want from a striker in his role. Gone is the cold and seemingly arrogant player whose relationship with his club’s management always seemed to be a bit of a time bomb and whose relationship with supporters was often distant at best and in its place is the Nicolas Anelka we see today. A player as happy to provide as he is to score, a player as happy to be noted for his work-rate as his skill – in short, a team player.

Nicolas Anelka finally seems to have developed into a player he’s happy to be at a club he’s happy to be at and his country’s loss will prove to be his club’s gain.

2 Responses to “Player Focus: Nicolas Anelka”

  1. Jetaime nicolas anelka.

    did I get that right?

  2. Does anyone else feel a little proud that it was Chelsea that finally sorted him out?