Drogba set to start for Chelsea against Blackpool

Drogba set to start for Chelsea against Blackpool

Chelsea striker Didier Drogba is set to return to the starting line up against Blackpool after being overlooked as a first team regular since the arrival of Fernando Torres.

Manager Carlo Ancelotti was impressed with Drogba’s contribution when coming off the bench in the 2-1 win against Premier League leaders Manchester United at Stamford Bridge last Tuesday. Ancelotti admitted that the introduction of his second half substitutes had “changed the game” against United and it is expected that Drogba will be paired with Torres at the probable expense of Nicolas Anelka at Bloomfield Road. The Chelsea boss wasn’t prepared to give away his selection plans on Sunday, saying to journalists: “I have taken a decision already. You will know on Monday.”

32-year-old Drogba has said he wants to remain playing at Stamford Bridge after the arrival of Torres but has found himself playing second fiddle to the former Liverpool star with Anelka given the nod in a deeper lying role. With Ancelotti asking his side to kick on and build on Tuesday’s success, Drogba will get the chance to show he can play alongside Torres and form a two-pronged forward line for the Blues.

Chelsea central defender David Luiz suffered a hamstring problem which forced his withdrawal from the United game, but he is believed to have recovered and is expected to make the starting line up alongside John Terry. Ancelotti has virtually a fully fit squad available; two long term absentees, Alex and Yossi Benayoun, are still sidelined but Israeli midfielder Benayoun has returned to light training and could be ready to feature later this month.

Blackpool manager Ian Holloway is not so lucky with absenteeism and has conceded he’d “happily take a point now.” Talismanic midfielder Charlie Adam will be missing as he completes his suspension while DJ Campbell is sidelined as he serves the first of his three match ban for the red card he collected against Wolves.

Gary Taylor-Fletcher will miss out as he recovers from a hamstring injury joining a list of injured and unfit including Clarke, Gilks, Rachubka, Basham and Sbai. Elliot Grandin is hoping to his hamstring will be strong enough to come into contention and Stephen Crainey is a possible after playing over an hour a reserve game on Thursday.

Possible starting line ups:
BLACKPOOL: Kingson, Eardley, Evatt, Cathcart, Baptiste, Vaughan, Sylvestre, Southern, Varney, Beattie, Kornilenko.
CHELSEA: Cech, Ivanovic, Terry, Luiz, Cole, Lampard, Ramires, Essien, Malouda, Torres, Drogba.

 

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