When Didier Drogba joined MLS facet Montreal Impact in the summertime of 2015, many an Arsenal supporter would have let loose a reasonably large sigh of aid. Finally, the Gunners have been freed from their biggest tormentor, who on the age of 37 was coming to the tip of his glittering profession. Finally, supporters might chill out secure in that there was a complete ocean between the membership and the Ivorian. Or no less than that was the speculation. A 12 months after Drogba relocated to North America, Arsenal went on a pre-season tour of the USA by which they performed within the MLS All-Star Game. Naturally given his stature and scoring report for Montreal, Drogba was included within the MLS facet. What got here subsequent was reasonably inevitable. “He has at all times harmed us, and he continues,” then Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger accepted. “He’s a winner and I feel that he’ll be like that till the tip of his life. At half-time, I used to be pondering ‘he is nonetheless haunting us, even within the United States!’
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“Drogba is a typical poacher; he can do this within the field. When I see him within the field and preventing with younger defenders, I at all times suppose that now there may be hazard. You know he’ll get the higher hand and rating you a aim and that is what he did.” During his Chelsea profession, Drogba performed 16 video games towards Arsenal. And on 15 totally different events, he was in a position to have fun scoring towards the north London facet. The objectives have been as assorted as they have been frequent: highly effective headers, thunderous finishes, managed volleys. There was even the odd free-kick and back-heeled strike. “I don’t know, I don’t know,” Drogba stated reasonably modestly when requested after the MLS All-Star recreation about his report towards the Gunners. “I need to say that I’m fortunate however while you rating 16 objectives towards them I don’t suppose it’s luck anymore.” Drogba’s legacy as a Chelsea icon is firmly cemented; nothing will ever change that. Yet he continues to have a constructive affect at Stamford Bridge.
Prior to signing for the Blues for a club-record payment of £98million, Romelu Lukaku, who idolised Drogba in his youth, spoke with the previous striker about what to anticipate forward of his second spell as a Chelsea participant. “He saved it actually easy, to be sincere,” Belgium’s all-time main scorer defined. “He was actually proud of the enhancements I’ve made within the final couple of seasons however he is at all times saying there’s extra work to be achieved. That’s the proper mindset. “If you actually need to obtain the utmost it is all about bettering week in, week out. The final two years have been good for me at membership and worldwide degree, now I get the possibility to hitch a staff that is hungry and impressive.” Lukaku undertook his first coaching session with the Chelsea squad yesterday and confirmed he is able to face Arsenal on Sunday if chosen by Thomas Tuchel. There might be strain on the 28-year-old to ship following his signing from Inter Milan. The frequent consensus final time period is that Chelsea have been a extremely efficient facet underneath Tuchel, however one which lacked a ruthless and dependable scorer. Lukaku has been signed at nice expense to unravel that drawback. The two years Lukaku spent in Serie A working underneath Antonio Conte was massively useful to his recreation. He honed his capacity to play along with his again to aim, gained an appreciation for working with out the ball. “I feel I’ve realized way more about myself, setting greater requirements for myself,” he stated yesterday when chatting with the press. “As a participant, it has been about changing into extra full as the sport in Italy is extra totally different. “The areas are tighter, it is extra technical and tactical, and that helped me so much. The English recreation is totally different however for me, it isn’t one thing new. So it is a case of getting again right here and adapting to my teammates and no matter recreation plan the coach has to assist the staff.” An expectation has been positioned upon Lukaku – who has been taking part in senior soccer from the age of 16 – that he’ll assist lead what’s a predominantly younger squad. The striker definitely has the expertise to take action, but it surely’s his assured persona that may assist him most. In that respect, Lukaku is just like Drogba. There is a steeliness to the 28-year-old, an innate want to win. And if meaning he has to attempt to drag his staff over the road, he’s prepared to take action. Arsenal, you’ve got been warned.