Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti is confident striker Didier Drogba will be back to his best when the champions resume their league campaign next weekend.
The Blues face a trip to title rivals Arsenal and I have used the latest EA Player Performance Index to run the rule over the Ivorian and Andrey Arshavin.
Drogba has struggled for consistency and fitness this season, but showed glimpses of his best in the 1-1 draw with Tottenham, even though he missed a last-gasp penalty.
The 32-year-old was denied the chance to continue his return to form when last weekend’s clash with Manchester United was postponed, but Ancelotti believes he will be ready to fire when he faces Arsenal on Monday.
“We need Drogba to come back to the performances he had last year and the goal against Tottenham was very good for his attitude,” said the Italian.
“I understand he has not been in a good condition. He had difficulty to play with malaria, he was tired, he was not 100% and he found it difficult to train.
“I put him in the last few games even though he was not 100% because we need to have his character and his personality.
“Now his condition is better. He had a good reaction after coming on as a substitute in the last game, this is the important thing and following the goal against Tottenham he will show us a different Drogba in the next game.”
Despite his indifferent form, Drogba still heads the EA Player Performance Index thanks mainly to his imperious early season form.
The Ivorian has secured 307 ranking points this season – six ahead of team-mate Florent Malouda in second place – and has netted seven goals.
Drogba has additionally provided seven assists in 16 appearances, during which he also made 30 crosses, 17 dribbles and 164 passes.
The former Marseille man will be looking to strengthen his position as the Barclays Premier League’s top ranking player when the Blues head to the Emirates Stadium.
As well as the likes of Marouane Chamakh, Samir Nasri and Alex Song, much of the Gunners’ success this campaign has been down to Russian forward Andrey Arshavin.
The in-form playmaker lies 11th in the EA Player Performance Index and has had a hand in 11 Premier League goals this season – providing eight assists and scoring three goals.
Arshavin has also been a vital part of the Gunners’ attacking play as a whole, with his 25 dribbles putting him on a par with Nasri as the side’s highest.
While there have been several outstanding Arsenal performances, Arsene Wenger’s side have fallen to five defeats this season, including a 1-0 defeat to Manchester United last time out.
Arshavin, though, believes the side need to only focus on the future rather than dwelling on the past.
“There is no time to be melancholy or sad,” he said. “We need to forget this defeat and start thinking about the next match.
“We need to prepare properly for each opponent. The championship is very interesting this year and nothing has been lost yet.”
EA PLAYER PERFORMANCE INDEX HEAD TO HEAD
Mins on pitch: 1395
Shots on target: 41
Shots off target: 23
Yellow cards: 3
Red cards: 0
Index score: 307
Index ranking: 1
Mins on pitch: 1364
Shots on target: 25
Shots off target: 20
Yellow cards: 1
Red cards: 0
Index score: 244
Index ranking: 11