At CFCnet we hate to have a pop at our players. After all, we’ve just witnessed a golden decade of unparalleled success. In saying that, it needs to be said that over the past few years we’ve all too often snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

Tuesday night at Hull was a case in point. With a resurgent Man Utd hot on our tails and with Wayne Rooney probably the best player in the world right now, Hull City was our best chance to put daylight between ourselves and our closest rivals. Instead we didn’t take it and conceded yet another soft goal from a corner. 75% of the goals we’ve conceded this season have been from set pieces – need we say more?

But the bigger issue now is this – before Drogba, Mikel, Essien and Kalou went to the African Nations Cup our form was sporadic and patchy at best. In December we played eight games and won just two, yet in January we played five and won five. Are we missing Drogba or is he the problem? After all, with Drogba’s return at Hull City once again we played poorly and with a limited threat on goal.

It shows what a strange and weird game football can be. CFCnet felt that we’d go from a bad December to a worse January yet in the first four weeks of 2010 we played with the sort of form not witnessed since last April.

With Ancelotti changing in January to a 4-3-3 system everything suddenly clicked. Our passing was smooth, our attacks purposeful and the goals rained in, 19 of them to be exact. Best of all the team was exactly that – a team.

At Hull City, Ancelotti reverted back to a 4-3-1-2 formation to accommodate Drogba and we drew. Perversely it was then Drogba that then rescued us from our poor display and gained us an invaluable point.

CFCnet can’t really understand how our team could change its formation to accommodate one of the world’s best strikers only to play much worse and then be rescued by said striker! Confused? We were.

We put a call into one of our ex-player contacts and asked him what he felt. The reply? “It’s a team game and if the team is playing well you don’t change it to accommodate anyone”. He’s got a point – we thought that Chelsea in 2006 would be unbeatable by adding Shevchenko and Ballack yet we haven’t won the league since. Whilst we’re a big, big fan of Ballack, the above point is instructive.

It’s a strange state of affairs. The same thing happened in 1966 when Jimmy Greaves was by far and away the best striker in England. Yet for the sake of team dynamics, Greaves was sacrificed by Alf Ramsey for a much lesser player by the name of Geoff Hurst. It caused an outcry but the end result was winning the World Cup itself.

The bottom line is that our January formation and team worked wonders making that month our best of the season. Why change it? If that means Drogba sits on the bench, so be it. He’d make a super sub wouldn’t he?


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