Chelsea’s injury crisis got even deeper this week, with Didier Drogba the latest victim. The Ivorian is set to be out for around a month, and his absence leaves a gaping hole in Chelsea’s attack, especially with the enigmatic Nicolas Anelka struggling to find some semblance of form.

But, as some might say, every cloud has a silver lining.

One person you’ll find agreeing with that sentiment is young Chelsea striker Franco Di Santo. The Argentine - who wears the number 9 shirt - stands to benefit more than most other squad members from Chelsea’s injury woes.

Di Santo - who likens himself to ex-Chelsea striker and compatriot Hernan Crespo - has so far been restricted to three substitute appearances this season, against Tottenham Hotspur, Portsmouth and CFR Cluj. In each of those games he didn’t have enough time to make a significant impact and show what he can do.

Ahead of the Aston Villa game tomorrow, he will be hoping that he gets more of a chance to shine.

Di Santo is clearly held in quite high regard by Scolari. Giving an untried youngster the number 9 shirt instead of a random numbered shirt in the 20s or 30s demonstrates this.

After arriving at Chelsea in January from Audax Italiano, Di Santo scored seven goals in eight Reserve team games, to finish as the side’s top scorer, quite an achievement for a player who had to adapt to a new country and footballing environment.

Integrated into the first team squad for pre-season preparations, Di Santo continued to demonstrate his potential, scoring two goals, the first against Guangzhou Pharmaceutical and then the second against Chengdu Blades.

It is clear that the kid has something about him.

The late, great Peter Osgood wore the number 9 shirt, and Di Santo could get a chance to show that he can go some way to living up to the exploits of the King of Stamford Bridge against Aston Villa tomorrow.

What a silver lining that would be.

Comments

Good points raised Alan. I hope he gets the chance over someone who although has scored more than I expected this season (Anelka), has not delivered against the better teams enough. Enjoy the game mate and I will be writing the match report for CFCnet. Perhaps you can keep me up to date live from the Bridge haha, joking.

If he's anything like Hernan, he'll be banging them in - I think Crespo was seriously underrated, he scored 10 in 19 appearances in the Premier League in his first season and 20 in around 48 I think overall...approximately.

Anyway, have a good one tomorrow and make sure there's no engineering works on the District Line! haha.

Crespo was a class player for us, he just couldn't settle in. His movement off the ball was brilliant and he had great technique. My one abiding memory of Crespo was a lob he scored against Liverpool in 2006, but it was (wrongly) disallowed for offside.

And don't you worry about engineering works derailing (see what I did there?) my attempts to get to the game - my Dad is driving!

Agreed, it's a shame that like Mutu he never quite managed to hit the big-time. Yeah I remember some occasions where he looked like he did nothing but he either did more than you realised, or he was there in the right place to knock the ball in with one of his virtual first touches.

Ah yeah I do remember that, the game that Reina got sent off in, shame that one didn't go in. But the goal he did score was class in that match.

Haha nice joke Alan, hope you find a parking space!

General Franco Prepares To Stick His Head Above The Parapet