Belfast Telegraph

Alan Green: How do you stop Chelsea? You can’t

It would be unwise to place too much emphasis on a demolition of Blackpool. Chelsea hit four goals and had enough chances to have scored 14.

Their credentials will be far more tested over the next two weekends when they play away to Manchester City and at home to Arsenal.

How the likes of Liverpool would have relished the softness of the fixtures presented to the champions at the start of the new campaign.

Nevertheless, Chelsea were mesmerising in the first-half on Sunday and especially Didier Drogba. Now I know there is much to dislike about the Ivory Coast striker. He is amongst the more prominent of those with a tendency towards the theatrical, throwing himself down, writhing in supposed injury at the slightest brush with an opponent. But, and I mean this in the nicest possible way, he is a monster of a player.

He is so strong physically yet possesses the most delicate of touches. You wanted to stand to applaud rather than commentate on some of the things he did against Blackpool. And, contrary to what many think, he’s unselfish. If Kalou and Malouda are both clearly improving as players, they could still follow Drogba’s example in that regard and be far better for it.

Aside from an understandable loss of concentration in the second-half — it was so easy for Chelsea — the Champions’ overall display was pretty faultless and, remember, they were without Terry and Lampard because of injury: Anelka was left on the bench. Ancelotti lavished praise on the Frenchman for his midweek performance in the Champions League.

“The squad is so strong that we can change players to offer something different to the team or change the shape if we want to,” said the Chelsea boss. Is that the case at Old Trafford?

“We want to show, during this season, that we can adapt to any game — this can be our strength.”

The Italian’s words are backed by what we’re seeing and not least in the profusion of goals. Since the defeat in the Community Shield — I don’t count friendlies — Chelsea have scored 25 goals: that’s an average of more than four a game. Even given the limitations of some of the opposition, only a fool wouldn’t be impressed by that.

I’m not involved in the Carling Cup coverage on 5 Live this week so I won’t see Chelsea’s tie at Newcastle. I suspect it will mean more to the Geordies than it does to their opponents, but I’m commentating on the three Chelsea games after that including the Champions League tie against Marseille, starting with the match at Eastlands at Saturday lunchtime.

Much was made of Chelsea’s defeat there last season, though it didn’t stop them winning the title. Not even City’s completion of a ‘double’ at Stamford Bridge did that.

No matter the barrel-load of money spent by that half of Manchester, I’ll be surprised if Chelsea slip up again.

I suspect that the Londoners’ title prospects will be confirmed and City’s aspirations put into perspective.

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