Blues revel in vintage return from current crop

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The Independent Football

The likes of Fernando Torres, David Villa and Pato are being talked about as possible summer transfer targets for Chelsea, but even if the club signed all three they would have to go some way to top the scoring achievements of the current team.

The new mark of 103 Premier League goals is remarkable enough, but particularly so in a season in which it is generally accepted the gap has narrowed between the top clubs and those in the tiers below.

Chelsea put eight past Wigan, and seven past Aston Villa, Sunderland and Stoke on their way to the title. Of their 103 goals, just under half were scored by two players – Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard – who perhaps benefited most from the free-flowing system adopted by manager Carlo Ancelotti.

Drogba had his best season ever with 29 goals, despite missing a month with the African Cup of Nations and also carrying the handicap of a nagging groin injury that may yet require surgery. The Ivorian has revelled in the service he has received and whether playing up front on his own or alongside Nicolas Anelka as he did for the first half of the season, he has never looked more at home. Lampard finished with 22 goals, despite starting the season quietly. Asked to fit into Ancelotti's diamond formation, Lampard scored just four goals from his first 16 league games as the tactics did not suit him. But once Ancelotti switched to a 4-3-3 system, there was more space for Lampard to exploit and he responded with 18 goals in his next 20 games.

Florent Malouda also enjoyed his best season yet with 12 goals, while Anelka's return of 11 included key strikes while Drogba was away in Angola in January. The under-rated Salomon Kalou joined the party late with four goals in his last three games. Joe Cole managed just two goals, but one was a crucial finish in Chelsea's win at Old Trafford.

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