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Chelsea’s Eto’o proving worthy heir to Drogba’s big-game crown

| 19.03.2014

As Didier Drogba returned to Stamford Bridge to pre-match adulation, in-play fanfare and post-battle disappointment, Chelsea’s new-found big-game reliance solidified himself as the latest striker to win the Blues fans’ hearts.

Samuel Eto’o’s fourth-minute goal sent the west London side clear in their Champions League tie with Galatasaray, before leaving the field to a standing ovation that many assumed would be reserved for Chelsea’s much-loved Ivorian.

As Gary Cahill scored in the second half to wrap up a 2-0 win, the Premier League leaders saw their odds to win a second Champions League title shrink to 9/1. If they are to seal such a triumph, though, it’ll be through the goals of Eto’o.

His Galatasaray strike came hot on the heels of giving Jose Mourinho’s side the lead in a vital clash against Tottenham in his last appearance, while his previous two goal-scoring games were against Manchester United – where he bagged a hat trick – and Liverpool, in which he notched the winner.

A pedigree for big-match net finding runs through the Cameroonian like the River Thames through London. He set Inter on the way to a road victory that knocked Bayern Munich out of the Champions League in 2011 and sent Chelsea packing for Mourinho’s Inter a year earlier.

He has some way to go to equal Drogba’s phenomenal record of nine goals in nine finals, but with Fernando Torres continuing to frustrate, the 33-year-old African is streaking ahead in the Chelsea pecking order for the season’s run in.

The monumental matches are coming thick and fast for the King’s Road outfit, with Arsenal visiting SW6 next up. As all 10 of Eto’o’s goals this season have come in front of his own fans, there really isn’t any reason why the former Barcelona striker shouldn’t be given the chance to further his reputation as Chelsea’s lynchpin.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.