The Stat Line Of The Night — 2/22/11 — Nicolas Anelka
Chelsea has struggled thus far this season, currently sitting in fifth in the Barclays Premier League and having already been eliminated in the FA Cup after losing to Everton in the fourth round on penalty kicks. Perhaps the only thing that can salvage what has been an incredibly disappointing season for the Blues would be to win the UEFA Champions League. They took one step closer to accomplishing such a feat yesterday, thanks in large part to the play of Nicolas Anelka.
The Frenchman scored a goal in each half to help pace Chelsea to the 2-0 round of 16 victory over Copenhagen during their first leg in the Danish capital. His first goal came off a sloppy turnover at midfield, which allowed Anelka to walk in and fire a low shot past Copenhagen keeper Johan Wiland. He would use a similar shot to beat Wiland in the second half, this time off a beautiful feed from Frank Lampard in the 54th minute, putting Chelsea up by two goals and leaving them with a relatively easy task when they head back to Stamford Bridge for the second leg on March 16.
Anelka was the subject of much debate over the summer after being sent home by French coach Raymond Domenech during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, but he has since silenced his critics with an impressive 7 goals during Champions league play, tied for most among all players. His two away goals last night may have been his most important, and they earned him “The Stat Line of the Night” for Tuesday, February 22, 2011.