A flashback to Moscow in May: Russian rain is falling so hard it seems the Luzhniki Stadium will be brimming in minutes.

The lone dark figure of a bald Frenchman picks up the ball and trudges towards the spot.

Anelka didn't miss because he hadn't properly warmed up; or because he hadn't readjusted to the Premiership; or because his team-mates hadn't shown him enough love.

Anelka missed because, from the 'P' of 'picked up the ball', he knew he was going to miss. As the Incredible Sulk stepped up to take that penalty, who didn't turn to the person next to them and say "we've lost it now"?

For Chelsea to win all their owner expects of them this season, they will need to score in excess of 100 goals. And at least one man will need to score a 30 of them.

Didier Drogba, with his dodgy knee and fits of pique, is no longer the player that netted Chelsea the Premiership two seasons back.

Andriy Shevchenko is more likely to win the PGA Masters than pick up a golden boot any time soon. And the career of Claudio Pizarro from deepest Peru looks set to end with him dumped at a mainline station bearing the tag 'please look after this bear, thank you'.

This is the most important season in Anelka's life.


The Portuguese playmaker is what Roman Abramovich has been searching for since his helicopter dipped over Hyde Park and he allegedly asked the immortal question "how much?".


A new manager who doesn't know the Premiership and hasn't worked in club football for a decade.

A bunch of overpaid prima donnas, some of whom still seem more focused on Milanese estate agents windows than kissing a Chelsea badge. And a home game against Tottenham three weeks in. That four-year home record is looking precarious and if it does go, all the Volare/Scolari song sheets will be in the bin, and Abramovich will have the Gene Hackman lookalike pinned up against the wall.