Copenhagen: If Chelsea are to salvage their season by winning the Champions League, Nicolas Anelka showed with both goals in a 2-0 victory at FC Copenhagen that he could prove to be the unexpected trump card.
The Frenchman, expected to slip down the pecking order when Fernando Torres arrived in a blaze of 50 million pounds (USD 80.95 million) hype on deadline day, took his total in this season`s competition to seven goals in an assured last 16, first leg win.
Didier Drogba was meanwhile left on the bench and, with Torres still searching for the sharpness that has eluded him all season at Liverpool and Chelsea, Anelka produced the goods to smooth a path towards the quarter-finals.
A comfortable victory over a Copenhagen side appearing rusty from their mid-winter break has lifted some of the pressure that was beginning to mount on Carlo Ancelotti after a Premier League slump that has seen them go from top to fifth.
So impressive was Anelka in sub-zero temperatures in the Danish capital that the question over whether Torres and Drogba can strike a partnership was rendered redundant.
Since arriving at Chelsea from Bolton Wanderers three years ago, Anelka has shed his sulky image and provided excellent value for the 15 million pounds outlay.
In his first full season he scored 25 goals in all competitions followed by 15 last term to help secure the league and FA Cup double.
His brace in Copenhagen took him to 16 for this campaign and briefly deflected the focus from Torres who showed only glimpses of his best from before being substituted late on.