He last started a Premier League match in 2012. He’s 36 years old. All things being equal, he’s the third choice at striker on his own team. And on Sunday Didier Drogba proved that he still has plenty left to give on the pitch.
The veteran striker was pressed into the starting 11 against Manchester United thanks to a virus afflicting the Premiership’s leading scorer Diego Costa and an injury to number two man Loic Remy and showed that he still has a flair for rising to big occasions. His goal in the 53rd minute put the Blues up 1-0, and it was very nearly the match winner.
A goal in the fourth minute of added time shortly after Branislav Ivanovic was sent off with his second yellow card turned what looked like a sure Chelsea victory into a draw that felt more like a loss to some. This Chelsea side have been the undisputed class of the Premiership through nine games, winning seven and drawing two to remain unbeaten and four points clear of Southampton in second, and while that is all well and good, it’s understandable if dropping those two points at the death to an outclassed rival stings a bit.
Still, Drogba is a Chelsea legend expected to act more as a locker room talisman for Jose Mourinho’s squad, and getting the type of production they have from him so far (two goals from six contests between the EPL and Champions League play) proves that he could provide more than just good feelings in relief of monstrous Costa. Gambling.com partners have begun offering 10/1 odds on this team remaining unbeaten throughout the league season, and the depth provided by players like Drogba is a big part of the reason that bet looks rather tempting this early on.
It was just his first domestic goal, yes, but it was classic Drogba, out-jumping his man to get redirect a corner with his head to the back of the net. It proved that he literally still has some spring left in his experienced legs, but more importantly it announced that he plans on being more than just another shirt for the Blues. It’s a welcome addition to what is already shaping up to be a magical season at Stamford Bridge.