When the words “crucial Chelsea players” come to mind most people think of John Terry, Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba, and Petr Cech and rightly so.
The four were the core of the club for the better part of almost a decade. During what has been the most successful period of Chelsea Football Club’s history, a few players were very important to the success of the club, but have been somewhat forgotten or not praised enough.
This series is going to take a look back and help reminisce a bit. This edition is based on the French forward, Nicolas Anelka.
Anelka spent more time at Chelsea than he did at any other club. It would also prove to be his most successful stint at any club. Having played for clubs such as Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, and Arsenal before making his way to West London.
Bringing experience from spells that included a Champions League trophy and Premier League title, Anelka would terrorise defenses in the Premier League while shying away from the spotlight.
Arriving in the winter of the 2007-08 season, Anelka would not make much of an impact in his first few months at the club. He scored one goal and missed his penalty in the Champions League final. The following season would see him score 25 goals in all competitions as well as clinching the Golden Boot in England with 19 goals.
The double winning season of 2009-10 would prove to be the most trophy-laden season at the club for him. He scored roughly, one goal in every three games which helped propel the club to the league title and FA Cup. All of which came from either on the wing or accompanying Didier Drogba.
The following season would prove to be just as good, on a personal note, Anelka scored 16 goals. Sadly, the 2010-11 season would prove to be his last full and successful season, as with the new manager in Andre Villas-Boas would deem Anelka surplus to requirements. He would leave the following season in January, just missing out on the Champions League and FA Cup double won by the club.
All of the stats and trophies make Anelka a special player, that is for sure. He was also able to be successful at multiple clubs throughout Europe, but there is one thing that makes him especially enjoyable to the Chelsea faithful, and that is the partnership he was able to form with Didier Drogba. It was also quite nice to see Anelka put multiple goals away in a game instead of the average goal here and there.
There are many highlights to his Chelsea career, mostly the games where he scored more than one goal in. Hat tricks against the like of Sunderland, and Watford, and braces against the likes of Blackburn, West Brom, Copenhagen, Sunderland, and twice against Wigan. He also had crucial goals against Arsenal, Porto, and others during his time at Stamford Bridge.
The main reason he was loved while at Stamford Bridge was the way he showed his love for the club. Once in a while, a player arrives at a club where they feel at home, it is this club where the player is most happy. He felt at peace with the club and enjoyed wearing the kit. If not for a certain Andre Villas-Boas, he would have stayed on and possibly won a number of extra trophies.
He scored goals and had fun doing it. He loved the club and the club loved him. Trophies were won and memories were made. Anelka, thank you for all you did at Chelsea Football Cub.