Arsenal 1 Chelsea 2: Drogba's journey reaches the final stop
19 April 2009 08:34
The journey began in January when Didier Drogba was dropped for a third-round replay at a rain-swept Roots Hall and will end with an appearance in the final at Wembley on May 30.
What a story this is, one of the all-time FA Cup comebacks from a player who appeared to be finished with football in this country when Luiz Felipe Scolari slung him out of his Chelsea squad to face Southend.
Three months later the adventure continues, scoring the goal that took Chelsea into their ninth FA Cup final, yet never forgetting the hours spent practising in isolation at Cobham long after first-team training had finished.
Those were the days when Frank Lampard, who set up Drogba's 84th-minute winner at Wembley with a looping 40-yard ball, provoked the Ivory Coast striker in public, jabbing him in the ribs and reminding him that 'he is a worldclass player - when he wants to be'.
He wants to be now, the player Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admitted he could have signed for £100,000 from Le Mans in 2002, enjoying his football again and responding to new boss Guus Hiddink's pastoral approach.