The first person to figure out why players in all sports go through slumps in form will be very a very rich chappie indeed. Right now, it’s a mystery as impenetrable as the Mona Lisa’s smile or a World Cup in Qatar.
Take Pedro Eliezer Rodríguez Ledesma, for example. Chelsea’s 30 year-old forward enjoyed a bumper season in 2016-17. He scored nine goals in the Premier League, often on spectacular bending shots, and assisted on a further nine.
Yet this season, despite being healthy, Pedro has only notched four league goals and added two assists. On a Chelsea team that’s often been hurting for goals, his drop in production has been an issue. It’s kept him on the bench, too. And out of Spain’s squad for the March friendlies.
On Saturday he began on the bench yet again. But this time he came on in the 92nd minute and then, with 105 minutes elapsed, he put Chelsea in front and into the FA Cup semi-finals. With a header. Splitting the centre-backs. In the middle of the box. He’s 5′ 7″ (170 cm), yo.
But he can rise.
Chelsea are in a tough spot, bounced out of the Champions League and scratching and clawing to get back into the top four. Pedro, however, is nothing but positive.
“It’s a very difficult situation for us, but we are still fighting for the top four and the FA Cup. We have one-two months left in the season and all the players have to give the maximum.”
With the losses piling up in January, and especially after the painful defeats to struggling Watford and Bournemouth, there were rumbles in the media that maybe, once again, the Chelsea dressing room had turned on its manager. The spirit Chelsea showed at Leicester on Sunday suggests otherwise.
“There is a good atmosphere in the changing room to change this situation and to fight until the end for our targets. This is the way for us.”
Fight. One of Conte’s favorite words and one he’s been using a lot lately once again.
And Chelsea seem to be listening. Having traveled to Barcelona on Monday, lost badly on Wednesday, flown back to London, driven up to Leicester, played an exhausting 130 minutes in bitterly cold weather... and were fighting to the end.
It’s an omen.
“This win gives us a good moment. It has come at a very important moment in the season and will help us go for the FA Cup and the top four. It’s a good chance for us to finish the season well.”
-Pedro; source: Evening Standard
You know what’s also a good moment? Pedro scoring again. If he and Morata can give us a repeat performance against Tottenham in two weeks, they’ll make believers out us of all again.