Soccer-Drogba sets sight on former club Marseille

Reuters

Mon, 27 Sep 03:00:00 2010

Chelsea striker Didier Drogba faces Olympique Marseille, the club where he made his name, in a Champions League clash on Tuesday.

The Group F game at Stamford Bridge will be the first time the Ivorian has come up against the Mediterranean club, where he is still adored by fans and where he says his heart still belongs despite having spent only one year there.

Drogba, who joined Chelsea from Marseille in 2004 for a then club-record 24 million pounds, already looks in fine fettle this season with five goals.

He did, though, appear distinctly disgruntled on Saturday when he was substituted during Chelsea's 1-0 defeat by Manchester City which ended a 100 percent start in the league.

Drogba, 32, missed Chelsea's 4-1 Champions League away victory against Zilina through suspension.

He will lead the attack on Tuesday as Carlo Ancelotti's double-winning side look to recover from their first blip of the league season and last week's League Cup loss to Newcastle United.

Victory over Marseille would put them in control of their group and clear the path to the last 16.

CULTURE SHOCK

Marseille desperately need something from the game after losing to Spartak Moscow at home in their opening match in the group but coach Didier Deschamps knows exactly how difficult it will be at his former club.

The former France World Cup winner spent a season at Chelsea in 1999-2000 long before Roman Abramovich's money transformed it into one of the continent's big hitters.

"When I joined from Juventus it was a culture shock," Deschamps, 41, told the Marseille website (www.om.net). "It was not the same Chelsea as it is today. It was a good English club but now they are huge."

Deschamps was coach of Monaco when they beat Chelsea to reach the Champions League final in 2004 but still holds the London club in huge affection, apart from the visitors' changing room.

"Stamford Bridge breathes football, it's a beautiful stadium apart from the visitors' locker room," he said. "That's a horror. It's a storage room; there is no room."

Deschamps will hope to cramp Chelsea's style on Tuesday and his side warmed up with a 2-1 home win against Sochaux in Ligue 1 at the weekend in which central defender Souleymane Diawara returned from injury.

"I played there (at Stamford Bridge) twice and I was not that impressed by the atmosphere," the former Bolton Wanderers player told Marseille's website.

Chelsea are still without Frank Lampard and Yossi Benayoun but Ashley Cole will return to left back after being rested for the trip to Slovakia in the opening round of matches.

Teams (probable):

Chelsea: 1-Petr Cech; 2-Branislav Ivanovic, 33-Alex, 26-John Terry, 3-Ashley Cole; 7-Ramirez, 5-Michael Essien, 12-John Obi Mikel, 15-Florent Malouda; 11-Didier Drogba, 39-Nicolas Anelka.

Marseille: 30-Steve Mandanda; 2-Cesar Azpilicueta, 21-Souleymane Diawara, 17-Stephane Mbia, 3-Taye Taiwo; 6-Edouard Cisse, 8-Lucho Gonzalez, 7-Benoit Cheyrou, 28-Mathieu Valbuena, 20-Andre Ayew; 11-Andre-Pierre Gignac

 

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