I'm not even 100 per cent, says Arsenal's nemesis

After scoring 12 goals in 10 starts against the Gunners, Didier Drogba is ready to inflict more pain today

Standing next to him it is impossible not to be impressed by the sheer physical presence. Didier Drogba is the sort of figure that the Sunderland manager, Steve Bruce, likes to call admiringly"a beast of a man". Pity the centre-halves on whom he is suddenly bearing down; for, although a compassionate man off the field, he does not do pity for opponents, especially when they are wearing the red and white of today's opponents, Arsenal.

In 10 starts he has knocked 12 goals past them, including two in each of his side's victories last season, by 3-0 and 2-0. Chelsea have won the past four meetings by an aggregate of 11-2, Drogba scoring five ofthose goals.

Whether through genuine modesty or not wishing to tempt fate, he does not care to make too much of the fact: "I can say that I'm a bit lucky because I've scored a few goals against them. With that, every game is different. I remember some games where I struggled against Arsenal. This one will be a different one, I don't know how it's going to end."

The more pessimistic Arsenal followers, aware of what humble West Bromwich Albion did to their defence last weekend, must feel that they already know. Of course, even Drogba can suffer an off-day. He did so in his last game, hauled off to his displeasure at Manchester City after an unconvincing 75 minutes as Chelsea went down to their first Premier League defeat following an unblemished five-match start.

It was a useful reminder, he suggests, that complacency is a trap champions can easily fall into, especially when they have been knocking in goals at will. "We could have done better," he admits of that performance. "It's good that this kind of defeat happens now because we still have time to learn from these mistakes, and not two or three games to the end of the season. I don't mind losing against Manchester City if I win the League at the end of the season. It's not a problem."

It would have been more of one had Arsenal, at home to West Bromwich, or Manchester United, at Bolton, been able to extract the advantage they should have done. Yet neither could. In the meantime all three have come away with midweek Champions' League victories, though Chelsea benefited from minimal travel and were on their own admission able to ease up during the 2-0 home win against Marseille.

Suspended for two European games, Drogba was a mere spectator on Tuesday, taking the pitch only to receive a hero's reception from both sets of supporters; at Marseille he once scored 34 times in a season, and promised Jose Mourinho – then at Porto – that one day they would work together. It cost Chelsea £24 million but became a special relationship, even though it was under Carlo Ancelotti's freer-scoring regime last season that the Ivorian exceeded his Marseille record with a total of 37 during the course of it; the last of them winning the FA Cup final to complete the club's first Double.

For most players a short break at this time of the season tends to be welcome after a rush of games. Drogbais not so sure about the benefits, having broken his arm in the build-up to the World Cup and then undergone a hernia operation afterwards. "It's a strange start of the season for me," he said. "Even if I scored goals and I made some assists, I'm not really 100 per cent. With surgery I missed the pre-season, so it's a bit difficult to catch up. I hope that in maybe one, two weeks I will be better."

Woe betide the opposition at that point. In the meantime he says of today's game: "I won't say that it's a critical game because the season is long. Remember last year that Arsenal were 10 points behind usand they came back and they were fighting for the League. Three games to go they were still in the race. So it's going to be an important game. But not the one that's going to say that Chelsea is going to be champions or the one to say that Arsenal is going to be finished for the season."

"Drogba is a winner," Arsène Wenger has said. Not today, Arsenal must hope. Not again.

Chelsea v Arsenal is live on Sky Sports 2 from 3.30pm today (kick-off 4pm)

News
The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
people
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Sport
Christiano Ronaldo enjoys his opening goal
champions leagueLiverpool 0 Real Madrid 3: Ronaldo and Benzema run Reds ragged to avenge thrashing from their last visit to Anfield
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to American media group
Extras
indybest
News
Wilko Johnson is currently on his farewell tour
people
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidate on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
Voices
New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
voicesRenée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity, says Amanda Hess
Arts and Entertainment
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are starring together in civil rights drama Freeheld
film
Voices
'Irritatingly Disneyfied': fashion vlogger Zoella
voicesVicky Chandler: Zoella shows us that feminism can come in all forms
Life and Style
health
Arts and Entertainment
Pink Floyd on stage at Live 8 in 2005. From left to right: David Gilmour, Roger Waters, Nick Mason and Rick Wright
music New album The Endless River set to overtake boyband for most pre-ordered of all-time
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink