SAN JOSE, Calif. — Even an ocean away from the English Premier League, former London derby nemesis Didier Drogba continues to haunt Arsenal and Arsene Wenger.
Drogba’s tally is now up to an impressive 16 goals in 17 all-time matches against the Gunners after his latest strike in first-half stoppage time gave the MLS side a momentary equalizer in Thursday’s 2-1 loss to Arsenal at the 2016 AT&T MLS All-Star Game.
“He has always harmed us, and he continues. He’s a winner and I think that he’ll be like that until the end of his life,” Wenger said about the 38-year-old Drogba in his postgame press conference. “At halftime, I was thinking ‘He’s still haunting us, even in the United States!’”
It took Drogba a couple of cracks before ultimately finding the back of the net on the stroke of halftime. His first shot inside the box was saved by his former Chelsea teammate Petr Cech and the second was blocked by an Arsenal defender, before he was able to poke home another favorable rebound.
“Drogba is a typical poacher of a goal. He can do that in the box,” Wenger continued. “When I see him in the box and fighting with young defenders I always think that now there is danger there because you know he will get the upper hand and score you a goal and that’s what he did.”
But Drogba, who has eight goals and five assists in 12 MLS appearances this year, is not gloating about scoring the lone MLS goal. While he felt that the 2-1 loss was “not a bad, bad result,” he admitted to being bothered by the defeat.
“I want to help my team to win games. And I always say that the goal that I score and then we lose, for me that doesn’t count,” Drogba said when it was his turn to address the media. “For me it’s for fun because I scored against Petr [Cech], but the result matters more than my goal or my own performance. It’s a bit disappointing to have lost this game in the last minute.”
By then, there was nothing else Drogba could do to help. He started the match and had already made way for other players at halftime as every one of the 25 All-Stars saw minutes with a full slate of Week 21 action coming up this weekend.
“I hate losing. So for fun, I will have fun with Petr [Cech] because I scored,” Drogba said. “But he already killed me and said ‘This time I give you the goal.’ But apart from that, no, the result I’m not happy with.”