“The Incredible Sulk”

by Mystical Mike

Friday, November 21st, 2008
 

Has the ego finally landed?

You won’t like him when he’s angry! There is no sign of experimentation into the field of inner human strength or even a sniff of excess gamma exposure. To have his shirt rip could only ever come from a-would be challenging defender that got a little to hands on whilst dancing the penalty area tussle! Len Goodman surely would gift him a “9!” with Mr Revell-Horwood coming in with a “strictly must work harder 6!” Who is he? Champs Elise Rodders! It is, of course, Nicholas Anelka.

Nicholas was born in ’79 to Martinique parentage in a small town a few kilometres from Versailles. Starting as a PSG youth team member, his talent and skills for the game were soon spotted at a higher level. In 1997, at 17, he joined the Gunners for a comfortable £500,000 under Wenger and scored in their 3-2 home win (his 1st game) over rivals Manchester United. Breaking into the Arsenal squad wasn’t easy. Limited appearances in 07/08 saw him gain his chance the following season due to a long-term injury affecting teammate Ian Wright. Anelka was instrumental in the double that year, helping the Londoners to not only a League title but the FA Cup too, in which he scored to beat the Toon Army 2-0. After demanding a higher salary in the season to follow, also the fact he received a PFA Young Player of the Year Award, he transferred to Real Madrid for £22.3 Million Pounds. 2 goals in just 19 appearances and a Champions League Winners Medal was all he acquired after a torrid time, eventually moving back to PSG. 18 months here saw an impressive spell for Anelka in the league also scoring 5 goals in 9 games in the Champions League. As with many up and coming players the attraction of the Premiership became too great and a move to Liverpool was next on the cards. Avery short and ineffective spell here saw another move, this time to Manchester. Two seasons at City saw Anelka develop as a player and mature as a person. Leaving behind somewhat of a bad boy image in France, multiple cobwebs were dusted and many skeletons were out the closet, dismantled and given to Rex (the giant poodle) to chew on whilst he indulged in Match of the Day’s highlights. Then Nicholas moved to familiar territory at Bolton growing again in stature and then now of course nestled with Chelsea at the Bridge as of 07/08.

Nicknamed “Le Sulk” by English fans back in his Arsenal days, due to his less than bubbly and almost “sloth-like” approach on the pitch. Rarely a smile would don his visage, in fact the first time I saw his facial muscles work in reverse was at the weekend when he laid a chance off to Deco in the game against the Baggies. Deco missed. Bizarre! He seems more upset when he scores. French you say? Well be-jesus, I tink he moight be a liddle bit Oirish?

Coming from Bolton and a partnership with an in form Davies, I was concerned how he would also fit into the team, with the exception of covering for injuries, ie when Drogba has broken a nail or tripped over his boot laces in training. Can he play up front on his own (in a non-kinky way)? It was of course Mourinho & Grant (Avram with the more “if it ‘aint broke don’t fix it tactical attitude!) who were both keen on their 4-1-4-1 (also known as a 4-1-3-2, 4-5-1, 4-4-1-1 – all codes that can be used to crack Jose’s briefcase) with a what was Makalele holding and Drogba the lone striker. Fitness permitting Cole and Malouda/Kalou would be supporting so would Scholari dare play a 4-4-2? He is renowned for his attacking styles of play, getting the best from a range of players. Scholari has massive commitment and a huge competitive streak, which in the short time he has been at the club, have reflected in many much improved performances. Chelsea are if nothing else this season, consistent. Fetch another abacus Phil, for this goal difference is totting up nicely!

Can St Nicholas come good again in the Premiership and re-kindle the form he started his career with? Personally I think it has been a while since any one foreign player has adapted to the Premiership as smoothly as Torres, he looks like he has always been in the English top flight. He just oozes quality with an awesome touch and football brain – all he really needs now would be a descent barnet to complete the transition (sorry Fernando, but sure your Mum has mentioned it as well?). However, Anelka now at the Bridge, this his eighth club in 10 years fans alike (myself included) were just worried this was another potential “Shevchenko”. Nothing disappointed me more than him. Whether it was purely tactical, clashes with Mourinho/Grant or he just couldn’t adjust to the different styles/club/country I guess we’ll never know. My own impression of it was Abramovich and wanting to be more involved than just a “walking, talking wallet”. Our gain in all this – Anelka – and it surely is starting to reap rewards. Only half the cost of the Ukrainian, but in the premiership environment, twice the player it would seem!

A strange buy at the time I felt for the club with the likes of Keane and Berbatov wanting moves, and at second approach price tag of £15 million he wasn’t exactly costing cash from the rainy day jar.

So what can we expect? If you have seen Drogba and his quality in the last 2 seasons, then many would say we wouldn’t find anyone close. International commitments and injuries (knee, ankle, thigh, handbag, toe-nails) to DD have given Nicholas the chance to shine, and not just off of his baldy heed. He has taken that chance, as rarely you get many in this game, and proved critics and fans alike that he has star quality as a striker. 12 goals already, making him the premiership top scorer so far – could this be curtains for Didier? I love Drogba in a very manly way, but the difference between the pair is Anelka gets on with it and Drogba refuses too. I think he was a supermodel in a previous life as he loves all the attention he gets (whether good or bad) and would look more at home sometimes with a French manicure (my g/f told me what one of those is!) than a balon de foot! So now the roles are reversed, the number 39 starts week in week out and Drogs is relegated to the bench for a 10-15 minute outing every week.

Tip to Didier from Nicholas, stick your coinage in the bank not the crowd. You deserve that thee match ban. “How to lose friends and influence no-one” by Didier Drogba won’t be in all good bookstores before Christmas.

Du pain? Du vin? Du Poisson? Non Monsieur! That’s right, there is nothing fishy here……just a classy player getting better and better.

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  • Stevie

    Anelka wondering from town to town, Anelka never gonna settle down, although he has this time, it looks like he finally has found his home.

    I must put him in my fantasy league team before it’s to late!!

    Drogba is look a bit like Aderbauer, a one season wonder

  • Phl

    It’s hard to believe that Anelka is only just reaching his full potential, at 29 he should have reached it 3 years ago. He was superb at Arsenal and average everywhere else. Real Madrid didn’t fancy him neither did Liverpool.

    Yet this season he has been nothing short of sensational. With Berbatov costing 3 times as much he must be one of the bargains of the season. The fact that Drogba is finally reaching his full potential in that he is a total knob has helped his cause no end.

    His finishing has been excellent, give him 3 chances and he will convert 2.

    I’m just gutted I choose Adeybauer over him in my fantasy league team…..

  • Peter Pickles

    Good article 🙂

    I always thought Anelka was a little moany sulky bitch…but I saw an interview with him a few months ago and he apologised for the way he acted at Arsenal and said that a lot of other people were influencing him–friends, family etc–and he wasn’t use to the celebrity thing and he was immature blah blah… and he came across as a more humble guy than previously and I kinda forgave him for being an asshole 🙂 I think he’s grown up over the last however many years…

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