Salomon Kalou:Man, or thunder-lizard? Either way, he's going in my pocket. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
I realize not many people who visit this blog have any affection for Chelsea, but I think it's fairly clear that I have a soft spot for the Blues. I watch nearly as many Chelsea matches as Villa matches, and while I have a definite lust-bordering-on-obsessive-stalker feeling for at least one member of the squad, there is just one that fits a pocket player description.
Salomon Kalou should really not fit in my pocket--after all, he's a 6'1" striker with plenty of muscle. But somehow the Chelsea forward looks itty-bitty. Perhaps it's playing next to Didier Drogba? Really, though, I think it's that wikipedia got the facts wrong and in reality he's only like 5'7". Pocket-sized!
There's something quite fun about watching Salomon Kalou play, particularly when he's not playing either for or against your team. He's a standard, fast striker-cum-winger who enjoys stealing the ball and then keeping it all for himself. Sometimes this works out and Kalou gets a good shot into the net, but usually he either hesitates too long or completely misses the target.
A good pocket player creates a fun memory, so that when you take them out of the pocket they can re-enact a seminal event that makes you giggle when you're having a crappy day. The incident that cemented my adoration of Kalou occurred against Stoke City, when Robert Huth attempted to foul him just outside the box. Kalou, with Huth somehow wrapped around his leg, staggered across the line before falling over, earning a penalty and assisting Chelsea in beating the Potters 7-0. Considering that the Blues had beaten Villa 7-1 just a few weeks before, I was extremely happy that another team had fallen even further.
In all honesty, I was saving Salomon Kalou for a few weeks down the line--I wanted to add some non-EPL players to my pocket before jumping back into Villa competitors. But little Kalou got himself good and hurt today in the Carling Cup tie against Newcastle, being stretchered off for a thigh injury and out for what sounds like at least two weeks. To me, injuries to any player, even the most hated opposition, are upsetting (unless, perhaps, they happen to Birmingham players). But when it happens to a man that looks like nothing so much as one of those spitting dinosaurs on Jurassic Park, well, it's even more depressing. Chelsea need to keep their humanizing pocket players healthy.