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Drogba and Torres may start final

May 14, 2012


• Roberto Di Matteo experimented with pair against Blackburn
• Drogba and Torres are yet to score while playing together

Robert o Di Matteo has revealed he had the Champions League final on Saturday in mind when he paired Didier Drogba and Fernando Torres in Chelsea’s win over Blackburn Rovers.

Drogba and Torres both came off the bench in Chelsea’s last Premier League game of the season on Sunday, linking up for the final 21 minutes of the 2-1 victory at Stamford Bridge. Di Matteo, the caretaker manager, has not started the strikers in tandem since taking charge just over two months ago but confirmed he had been looking at potential options for the showdown with Bayern Munich this weekend during the 2-1 win over relegated Rovers.

“I tried a few things to just have a look and see how it could work out,” he said. “It’s always difficult because obviously it’s going to be a different opposition. But I’ve been trying to figure out a few things.”

Drogba and Torres being in the same XI would have been unthinkable before Chelsea’s Champions League semi-final triumph against Barcel ona. The received wisdom is that they do not work as a duo, with neither having found the net in five starts together or on the 19 other occasions they have been on the pitch at the same time.

It is still unlikely Di Matteo would gamble on that changing in what is the most high‑profile game of his managerial career, but with four players suspended and three potential injuries for the final at the Allianz Arena on Saturday, it is not impossible.

Drogba appears certain to start what is looking increasingly like his farewell match for Chelsea, with Juan Mata and Salomon Kalou in support, leaving a vacancy for one of Frank Lampard, Florent Malouda, Daniel Sturridge or Torres.

Lampard may well be earmarked for a holding role alongside Mikel John Obi, Malouda is sweating on a hamstring injury picked up on Sunday, while Sturridge has been out of sorts since the turn of the year. Torres, who has an impressive 18 assists this season, could therefore be a cont ender to play on the right side of attack, presuming Di Matteo does not also suddenly abandon the 4-2-3-1 formation that has served him so well since his appointment.

The Italian’s selection will also depend on the availability of the injured centre-backs David Luiz and Gary Cahill, with the captain, John Terry, and Branislav Ivanovic both suspended. Terry signed off for the season on Sunday by heading in his seventh goal of the campaign, one shy of his personal record.

“I am delighted with seven,” he said. “I rose up and it was a decent header, I was delighted with it, and I was pleased with the performance as a whole.”

Terry, who was heavily criticised for his performance in the 4-1 thrashing at Liverpool last Tuesday, added: “It’s always good to end the league season with a win, especially bouncing back after Liverpool in the week as well. Now we go into a huge week and we can start concentrating on Munich.

“Robbie has rested players, hopefull y we will have everyone fit, and those of us that are suspended have been playing games and we still have a big part to play this week in training and preparation.” Read More


From → Sport

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