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Player Reviews 2008/09

Eton Blue at the Chelsea Megastore

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I wrote this for another website, and it was longer than I intended... :S

So I figured I'd post it here too.


1 Petr Cech: Dropped a few crosses this year and had a mare in the second leg against Liverpool, but other than that has been his usual world-class self. He's put in a great number of MOTM performances to keep us in games, including single-handedly keeping us in it against Everton in the dog end of Scolari's reign. He was fantastic more often than not.

40 Hilario: Hasn't been played very often, but has been as solid as ever when called upon. Certainly more solid than Cudicini before he left. Very good second keeper to have, and is a friendly and experienced face to help bring Rhys Taylor through.


3 Ashley Cole: Top man. Has proven he is the best left back in the world. Brilliant going forward, pretty much provided the only threat we had down the left before Malouda got his act together. Fantastic in defence too, as he made world-class talents like Messi and Ronaldo look distinctly average. Don't think he had a bad game, and if not for the perennial superhuman that is Lampard, he'd be our player of the year.

26 John Terry: Great at first, then shaky as Scolari's woeful defensive tactics kicked in. Under proper management he was back to his brilliant best. Where would we be without our most lionhearted of captains?

6 Ricardo Carvalho: Hardly featured. He was excellent as ever when fully fit, which was about five games in all? I think he might leave in the summer, and it'll be a shame to see arguably the best centre back in the world leave after so much success.

33 Alex: A couple of shaky games (Bolton comes to mind, plus a couple under Scolari's "management") aside, he's been extremely solid this season. Still wouldn't want to cross him in a dark alley...

2 Bratislav Ivanovic: Used sparingly by Scolari, and came into play when Bosingwa was out. However, the insane performance in the Liverpool game aside, he never looked entirely secure at right-back, but looked solid at centre back. Hope he sticks around, as he could make a great future partner for John Terry.

17 Jose Bosingwa: Very convincing at first, then very poor under Scolari, and then was class under Hiddink. I still think he's a poor man's Ashley Cole, but he has had very impressive moments, none more so than keeping Messi quiet in the first leg. I think he's done enough to secure his place in the team for next season, but with Ferreira and Mancienne sniffing around, he has to stay at the top of his game.

19 Paulo Ferreira: He hardly played until he was put out for the season, which can hardly have done wonders for the lad's confidence... Still like him though. There are none more consistent.

42 Michael Mancienne: A great prospect for the future who should benefit from Carvalho's probably departure. He's quick, smart, and strong in the tackle. However, like Ivanovic, he doesn't look entirely comfortable at right-back. Look forward to seeing more of him next season.


5 Michael Essien: He was sorely missed when he was out, mainly because of Ballack's best attempts to impersonate some sort of inanimate object when on the pitch. A couple of indifferent games aside, he was back to his lung-busting best under Hiddink. We're gonna miss him at the African Cup of Nations next year.

8 Frank Lampard: What can I say? Bloody brilliant. ALWAYS gives his all, has a divine pass on him and even thoughtful enough to stick in 20 goals. By far our player of the season, and probably the best midfielder in England. It's a "****ing disgrace" he wasn't even nominated for Player of the Season. Absolute legend who will go down in Chelsea history as one of our greatest.

12 John Obi Mikel: Towards the end of the Scolari era he had a few mares against better opposition, but was largely solid and dependable, with great vision. Still has a bit of developing to do, but should definitely be in or around the first team next year (assuming Pirlo doesn't come along).

13 Michael Ballack: Injured, then ****ing ***** under Scolari. Recognized as a complete liability by Hiddink, who stuck him in defensive mid so he could get in the way of opposition attacks instead of Lampard's and Anelka's. Would never condone offering him a new contract if we weren't going to lose half our midfield to the ACON next year.

20 Deco: World-class for two games, and then complete ***** for the rest of the season, save for one brilliant goal he scored against Bolton. Complete waste of space who we should get rid of sooner rather than later while he can still command some cash.

10 Joe Cole: Very inconsistent. I was disappointed with him for most of the season, especially considering how good he's been in the past. Poor more often than he was excellent. I don't think he was missed that much when injured, especially under Hiddink. If he doesn't improve next year, we should consider letting him leave.

35 Juliano Belletti: No more a right winger than he is a goalkeeper, but was on the whole dependable when used in defensive mid. Scored a cracker against Boro, but as world class contributions go, that was essentially it. Didn't really offer much in the second half of the season.

27 Mineiro: Played one game in the League Cup and he was poor. I think he scored one goal for the reserves and that's all he's done all year. Please get rid.

15 Florent Malouda: Was comically bad until Hiddink showed up. Completely ineffective down the left, incapable of beating his man and his shooting was less potent than a stormtrooper's. However, Hiddink transformed him, and he suddenly turned into a complete machine who terrorized opposition right-backs, and got countless assists and goals. Was one of our very best in the final third of the season, and if he carries on like this, I very, very much hope we keep him.

18 Ricardo Quaresma: I think he played twice as a sub, and put in two decent crosses, but was otherwise completely anonymous. Looks like he's going back to Inter.


11 Didier Drogba: Injured for a large part of the season, then down to his petulant, ineffective worst under the darkest days of Scolari. However, under Hiddink, he, like Malouda, was a changed man and was back to his titanic best, firing goals in from everywhere, and dominating centre backs. Still didn't leave out the diving antics though, which doesn't exactly help his reputation. Came good in the end, but I'd really like to see him clean up his act.

39 Nicolas Anelka: Scored a lot under Scolari even if he didn't play particularly well, until everyone figured out our one-way tactics and Scolari was rightly given the boot. Took a while to get back to his best, but towards the end of the season he was bloody brilliant. Scored a lot, but could have scored so many more if he hadn't spurned so many chances at the beginning of the season.

21 Salomon Kalou: Looked like this might be his turning season after a great super-sub appearance against Man Utd, but was poor most of the time after that. It's a shame, as he's a very likeable guy, but I don't think his flashes of excellence are going to amount to anything. I hope he comes good, but I have a feeling it won't be with us next season.

9 Franco Di Santo: Restricted to the odd sub appearance, but hasn't really impressed a huge amount in the time he's been given. Still young, and should get a few starts next year, especially if Drogba leaves. He's good, but hardly a wonderkid.

43 Miroslav Stoch: It's infuriating how few apperances this fella got, especially when his introduction tore Arsenal a new arsehole for the last ten minutes, and was key in setting up our comeback against Stoke. He's bloody excellent, blisteringly fast, and hopefully he'll get played more next year.

16 Scott Sinclair: Not as impressed with him as everyone else has been. Apparently he was excellent out on loan, but has yet to impress me. I'm not going to write him off yet, but I reckon this should be his make-or-break year.

Did Not Feature

30 Rhys Taylor

50 Jacob Mellis


Luis Felipe Scolari: Looked good at first, but his attacking ideas were one-dimensional, his defensive tactics were complete *****, his man-motivating skills were non-existant, as was his communication ability. Quite simply one of the poorest managers ever to grace the Bridge.

Ray Wilkins: Was daring enough to try the 4-4-2. Oh, ok, it was against Watford... ;)

Guus Hiddink: Under him we achieved what seemed impossible under Scolari. Would have been in two finals, had it not been for one appalling refereeing display. Won us the FA Cup, and got us into an automatic Champions League spot for next year, when all three looked in great jeopardy under Scolari's inept leadership. Quite simply a blue hero, and I am deeply, deeply saddened to see him go.

Player of the season: Frank Lampard. (Ashley Cole)

Young player of the season: John Obi Mikel. (Michael Mancienne)

Most improved: Florent Malouda. (Nicolas Anelka)

Best signing: Jose Bosingwa. (N/A)

Worst player of the season: Deco

Most disimproved : Michael Ballack

Worst signing: Deco

The Amaury Bischoff award for most pointless player at the club: Mineiro, with Quaresma a close second

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