Soccer

Afcon final failures dampen big-game mythos around FA Cup king Drogba

The Chelsea legend has a stunning legacy in Cup finals for Chelsea, but struggled to replicate the same on the internationals stage with Ivory Coast

Chelsea go into Saturday’s FA Cup final as clear favourites, seeking to scupper Leicester’s fairytale run and claim the first trophy of a potential May double.

If the Foxes are expected to muster any real resistance, it will come in the form and understanding of their front line.

Kelechi Iheanacho and Jamie Vardy have, over the last four months, synthesized a potent mix of guile and dynamism to not only fire Leicester to the cusp of cup success, but also to sustain their push for a finish within the Champions League places.

Chelsea, on the other hand, may actually find their Wembley ambitions hindered by a lack of proper certainty in attack.

Timo Werner offers willing running in behind, and Kai Havertz’s contributions to the Blues’ cause have steadily increased since Frank Lampard’s defenestration, but there remains a need for a proper presence upfront to turn Thomas Tuchel’s ball-dominant game style into goals.

It makes for an interesting change in dynamic for Chelsea, who over the last decade and half have typically been able to call upon a bomber upfront. In fact, Chelsea’s recent history at Wembley has come to be defined almost exclusively by the decisive contributions of the barreling Didier Drogba.

Didier Drogba Chelsea Manchester United FA Cup final 05192007

How Chelsea could do with a striker of his profile on Saturday!

As the only player in history to score in four FA Cup finals, the Ivorian became virtually synonymous with the Wembley showpiece, and forged a reputation as a player for the big occasion, the closest thing to a guarantee in a final setting.

Of course, nothing is ever that black and white. While Drogba’s eminence and legacy is, for many, cast in stone, even the perception of him as utterly dependable in finals did not always hold.