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The rebirth of Chelsea's Pedro Rodriguez

Tuesday 14th February 2017
It shouldn't go unnoticed that Pedro has been on fire for Chelsea this season. The World Cup winner looks to have finally settled into the English game and has been reborn with Antonio Conte's side. As the Premier League gradually comes to a close, I take a look at Pedro, the man who some of us can't recognise from last season.
Pedro Rodriguez Ledesma is one footballer whose contributions on the football pitch sometimes go unnoticed by the prying eyes of purists – everyone just tends to have an indifferent opinion on Pedro and on rare occasions when he's noticed he comes under criticism for his actions or inactions.

After enjoying a successful spell with Barcelona that lasted well over a decade; playing time was increasingly becoming hard to come by and Pedro decided it was time to test new waters. In the summer of 2015, he made the switch to England – snubbing Manchester United and signing for Chelsea for £21million.

Within the week he joined Chelsea, Pedro seemed to have hit the ground running when he scored and provided an assist on his debut. However, things slowed down for Pedro as he was deployed more as an impact player in Jose Mourinho squad, never really breaking into the Chelsea attacking triumvirate, which consisted of Hazard, Oscar, and Willian.

In a sad twist of fate both for Pedro and for Chelsea, a slump in form saw Chelsea endure a bizarre season with the Blues needing the services of two managers to complete the campaign – they ended up finishing 10th, the lowest by a defending champion in Premier League history.

It became clear that Pedro Rodriguez had joined a team which was failing miserably at defending their title and that poor form rubbed off on the poor Spaniard – his contributions were insignificant and a return to Barcelona was rumoured to be in the cards.

The turn of a new season have seen a reborn Pedro Rodriguez, the Spanish international is now an integral member of Antonio Conte's table-topping Chelsea and was described by his manager as being perfect for the system he deploys. Conte was quoted by Italian publication, Gazzetta Dello Sport, as saying:

"Pedro? He has qualities of absolute excellence. He's perfect for the 3-4-3."

The goals are coming for Pedro this term – he's already one goal better than his return last season and is well on his way grabbing even more.
One transfer that might happen at the end of the season is that of Willian moving away from Chelsea. Willian was Chelsea's best player in one of their worst campaigns but has since seen his involvement with the first team reduced due to the amazing form of the Spaniard. A season ago, no one would have considered the possibility of Willian on the bench for anyone, not the least of which is Pedro.

With 6 Premier League goals and five assists in 22 games this season, Pedro is one of the reasons why Chelsea are looking a far more formidable group than last season.

Pedro's resurgence can be attributed to Antonio Conte's 3-4-3 system and the Italian's superb man management, but we can't ignore the players' will and determination to be a better forward this year.

I read one BBC pundit say here that Pedro is playing better and looking more comfortable at Chelsea than he ever did at Barcelona– despite Pedro's return to form, do you agree with this?
Kingsley Ukpai

Kingsley is a football aficionado who craves to read, watch, play and write about the greatest team sport ever known to man. If you're talking football he'll be keen to listen to what you have to say. Loves to play Fantasy Football too.

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