Carlo considers Torres recall

Blues manager Ancelotti refused to rule out resting the red-hot

Didier Drogba and recalling £50million flop Torres for the

must-win game at Stamford Bridge. That is despite seeing the same

decision backfire spectacularly in last week’s Champions League

defeat at Manchester United, a result which left Ancelotti all but

resigned to losing his job. Opting for Drogba over Torres in the

two games since then has given Chelsea a glimmer of hope of

completing the greatest comeback in Premier League title history –

something that would surely make owner Roman Abramovich think twice

about sacking his manager. The Blues realistically need to win all

five of their remaining games to stand any chance of overhauling

Manchester United’s six-point lead. They also need to score enough

times to ensure they have a superior goal difference to United

should that come into play. So ditching Drogba on Saturday for a

player who has now gone 893 minutes without finding the net would

be an almighty gamble by Ancelotti, but it is one he would be

willing to take. “Maybe I can use some rotation to maintain the

players’ freshness,” Ancelotti said. “It wouldn’t be easy to leave

Drogba out, but there’s a chance we could leave him out on

Saturday. “We started with Torres against (Manchester) City. We won

the game when Didier came on. “It might be a good solution to give

him the last 30 minutes of the game because he’s fresh and fit.”

What Ancelotti failed to point out was that Chelsea only beat City

last month after Torres had left the field. In fact, the champions

have scored just one goal in their their last eight matches while

the striker has been on the pitch, with the remaining 10 coming

during his absence. Part of the problem is that most of Torres’

team-mates – arguably barring Drogba judging by Chelsea’s late

indirect free-kick against Birmingham on Wednesday – are so

desperate for him to end his 13-match drought for the club they are

going out of their way to pass him the ball. That ultimately might

be counter-productive but Ancelotti was unconcerned, saying: “To

score one goal, for him, could be the best medicine. “If the

players, the team-mates, help him, I’m happy. “That means there’s a

good relationship with each other in the squad.” He added:

“Everyone has to know that Fernando is the present and the future

of this club. We cannot judge now the moment. He will play a lot of

games for Chelsea.” Ancelotti also insisted he would not be afraid

to abandon the 4-3-3 formation which has been crucial to Chelsea’s

resurgence in the past two games. The Italian experimented with

4-4-2 following the club’s worst run in the league for almost 15

years but, despite moderate success, the players have thrived since

Ancelotti reverted to a three-pronged attack. He said: “Our shape

is good. The players are comfortable with that. “We can change it

in the next game – it depends on the shape of the opposition team.”

That opposition team is a West Ham side whose hopes of avoiding

relegation are looking as slim as Chelsea’s title chances. The

champions will be expected to brush them aside but Ancelotti said:

“At this stage of the season, every game is difficult. “It’s

difficult to prepare, to stay concentrated, but we have to know

we’ll have a tough game. “When one teams needs the points to stay

up, they will do more than 100%. “For this reason, we have to be

ready. It’s a very tough competition, the Premier League, so

anything can happen.” He added of the title race: “Obviously, I

would like to be in United’s position, six points ahead. “That’s a

lot at this stage of the season.”