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Is Nicolas Anelka Going To Be The Main Chelsea Casualty Of Fernando Torres' Arrival?

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Fernando Torres is going to start games for Chelsea. Didier Drogba is not going to be sat on the bench. Just where does that leave the Chelsea's highest scorer of the season, Nicolas Anelka?

Suggested as potential collateral for the deal to bring Torres to the club, Anelka was not keen on a move to Anfield. So instead the striker remains at Chelsea, with the prospect of sitting on the bench given that Carlo Ancelotti has already expressed his belief that Drogba can play up front with Torres (or indeed with anyone).

There seem to be a number of possibilities as to how Chelsea's formation/tactics will change with the arrival of Torres, most of them equalling less game time for Anelka.

The most probable formation in my view will be Drogba and Torres up front, with a diamond midfield behind them. Frank Lampard would of course play the role of the advanced central midfielder hopefully with Josh McEachran as an understudy, with Ramires/maybe Kalou and Florent Malouda/Yuri Zhirkov on each wing with the ability to tuck inside when required. Michael Essien would play deep with John Obi Mikel for cover.

Another possibility is that Carlo Ancelotti sticks with a 4-3-3 that sees Anelka retained in the starting 11 as a wide player, with Drogba or Torres also going out slightly wider and an anchorman remaining in the centre. The problem with this is that wide play is not the speciality of Drogba or Torres and so would be seen by some as a waste of their talents.

Some have already cast doubt on a Torres/Drogba pure 4-4-2 partnership. I'm not one of them. I see no reason why Drogba can't play provider, holding up play and setting Fernando Torres up for his trademark deadly finishes aided by terrific pace. 

We will find out how Ancelotti sees things on Sunday against Liverpool, a game where the manager will be taking no chances and playing what he views as the best formation with Torres and Anelka in mind.

If this 4-4-2 switch is indeed the route the team goes down, then it will be Nicolas Anelka who will be playing far less as a result of the 2011 January transfer window. Then again, if you want to win the Premier League, Champion's League and everything else on offer then you need depth, and having Nicolas Anelka and Salomon Kalou as substitute options up front is certainly a line-up fit for the Champions of England.

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