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Player Ratings: Fulham (a)


Eton Blue at the Chelsea Megastore

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Well, with this quote it could be that the Tinkerman is back: "I don't want to arrive at a point where I have 11 tired players and 11 demotivated ones." Essien, Deco, Ivanovic and Kalou out, Carvlaho, Anelka, Mikel and Malouda in. It has it's positives and negatives- and i think it's totally true that the players will be more motivated as a result, who knows if it will bring us more points than it will lose us. Nobody ever mentions the points won by rotation but they always point to those lost "by it".

Match Stats

Fulham Chelsea

Shots (on Goal) 6(1) 16(4)

Fouls 11 11

Corner Kicks 4 7

Offsides 2 5

Time of Possession 39% 61%

Yellow Cards 0 0

Red Cards 0 0

Saves 2 1

Cech: 6: Nothing to do.

Boswinga: 6.5: Can't expect him to be a freakshow every week. Did his job though was less energetic than the last 2 games.

Carvalho: 7: Great in defense, covered well for Terry who was a little sloppy with the ball today, and even got forward to injure danny murphy- well played!

Terry: 6.5: Far from his usual best on the ball, gave it away dangerously a couple of times. Still- if teams are going to play with their strikers up front alone with no support all season it's going to be easy for JT to dominate them defensively as he has done all 3 games.

Duke Moneycoin: 7: Gave a good account of himself today, was up and down like a worn out visa card and especially stingy in defense.

Mikel: 6.5: Not bad on the ball or off it.

Ballack: 6.5 Nice quick pass for Drogba->Anelka->Net.

Malouda: First half 5.5, Second half 6.5: Not much point playing Malouda if he isn't going to get out wide more often and cross, so was happy to see him do that first thing in the 2nd half.

Lamps: 6.5: Not his position, made some nice passes which you expect him to but just isn't a player for that position imo. He gets into those areas with runs, when he's forced to be there for 90 minutes you take that skill away and play Malouda in midfield, and you restrict him of the space he needs.

Anelka: 7: Looked much much sharper and took his goal well.

Drogba: 7.5: Can't fault him today: looked great bringing down the long passes and was his usual aggressive self with Fulham defenders standing off a bit.

Thought we played ok and Fulham were pretty poor. We had a good 30 minutes before and after half time with them in their own half. It is going to be an easy season if every team comes and plays their midfield on their goal line like the first 3 have.

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anyone hear ruudy talking about the milan lab thing that carlo uses after todays game on sky? he said there are 5 tests the players take in training and from that they can tell which players are mentally tired and sometimes he will rest players because of the results of the tests. im just wondering if when they tested essien he was still asleep and they got a bad reading. the tired bugger... :D

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Ballack: 6.5 Nice quick pass for Drogba->Anelka->Net

I've just watched Lee Dixon on MOTD2 highlighting some of the many positives of Ballack's game today; intelligent movement, runs into space, intelligent accurate passes, and getting into the penalty area. Someone needs to put that on youtube ready for the next time Sexelk comes out with one of his puerile little "Ballack is sh*te" rants.

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I've just watched Lee Dixon on MOTD2 highlighting some of the many positives of Ballack's game today; intelligent movement, runs into space, intelligent accurate passes, and getting into the penalty area. Someone needs to put that on youtube ready for the next time Sexelk comes out with one of his puerile little "Ballack is sh*te" rants.

dixon made some great points, points i think you`ll find i and a few others have made on here about ballack. he doesnt do anything spectacular but he does keep the ball moving well, keeps our rhythm up and is always available as an outlet pass (and believe me, thats always a great thing for a team to have).

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I've just watched Lee Dixon on MOTD2 highlighting some of the many positives of Ballack's game today; intelligent movement, runs into space, intelligent accurate passes, and getting into the penalty area. Someone needs to put that on youtube ready for the next time Sexelk comes out with one of his puerile little "Ballack is sh*te" rants.

Ballack has played better this season than he did for all of the previous. Wonder whats changed? New manager with new confidence in him? A fresh start for the season? Determination to make the most of what could be his final year? Whatever it is, he's taking his chance and should be in the first team at the moment.

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dixon made some great points, points i think you`ll find i and a few others have made on here about ballack. he doesnt do anything spectacular but he does keep the ball moving well, keeps our rhythm up and is always available as an outlet pass (and believe me, thats always a great thing for a team to have).

More excellent stuff from Lee Dixon here:

Lee Dixon's tactical view

The big thing about Chelsea's midfield is that they have options and in the creative area of the pitch, that is what you want.

It also gives them different ways of playing at home and away and, in a change from the diamond in the middle and the two up front, Chelsea started with a 4-2-3-1 formation in the 2-0 win at Fulham.

Michael Ballack and John Mikel Obi were the holding players on the same line when they didn't have the ball, but then Ballack pushed on a little bit when Chelsea did have the ball.

Frank Lampard had a licence to be at the point of the three in midfield with Ballack and Mikel behind him - and I thought Mikel had a good game in his role and also Ballack, especially in the first half.

Ballack creates his own space. I find him quite an intriguing player to watch. He's got a languid style and looks like he is not bothered at times but against Fulham he picked the ball up, certainly a lot deeper than we normally see, and his range of passing was great.

That's because, basically, Fulham didn't close him down and if you give Chelsea space in midfield they will hurt you.

I thought Fulham were poor and they didn't really get close to Ballack or Mikel on the ball.

When Fulham midfielder Dickson Etuhu did get tight on him, Ballack just ran him off somewhere which enabled Lampard to run into that space, pick the ball up and knock some through balls in so we saw them rotating again.

Lampard's position is interesting because we are used to seeing him a little bit deeper and making runs forward. You have got people like Michael Essien sitting on the bench and if he is having a rest it is a result because you don't want him playing against you as he is a beast

People were saying that when he plays at the forward point of a diamond you don't see the best of him but I think he is made for any sort of role in that midfield. He is such an intelligent player and he will soon learn.

Too much can be made of formations and Chelsea's midfield is not rigid at all. You can stop the game at any one time and ask: what are they playing now?

At Craven Cottage, Ballack was on the right and left wing, Lampard was making the same sort of runs and then all of a sudden you would see Anelka coming deep so it's not a rigid formation.

The time that Chelsea did look dangerous was when Anelka came in off the right and the two goals came when he did so.

Ancelotti started the season with Anelka and Drogba up front and a diamond in midfield. Against Fulham it seemed different. Anelka was given more of a licence to start off on the right and come into the middle.

He and Drogba can link up. Last season Anelka spent a lot of time playing in that right-side role and he was the Premier League's top scorer so they can link up and play together.

Chelsea's midfield is hard to combat. If they play a narrow midfield then you can think you can get at them down the sides which is sometimes a weakness of Chelsea's. You can get at the full-backs if you have got an attacking game yourself.

But then you look at who they have got in their armoury and in Lampard they have got one of the best goalscoring midfielders in the world.

Ballack on his day is a great player but unfortunately he has a few days when you look at him and ask: does he fancy it? I don't think you will see too many of those under Ancelotti.

Mikel gets a lot of criticism but against Fulham I thought he did a really good job of holding that midfield.

And then you have got Malouda who has come into his own. He has got pace, he can go down the wing and also help out left-back Ashley Cole.

You have got people like Michael Essien sitting on the bench and if he is having a rest it is a result because you don't want him playing against you as he is a beast.

There's also Deco. We saw in the victory at Sunderland that he can be an incredible footballer.

They have got a huge amount of players who it is very difficult to set your team up against.

I said at the start of the season that I think they will win the Premier League title. I saw them in Pasadena in the United States and I had a chat with Ashley Cole when they were two weeks into their pre-season.

He looked the fittest I have ever seen him look and he said that 'we are working our tail off'.

He almost looked like a little Thai boxer. He had that physique on him where he was so strong and fit and still so early on in pre-season.

It then made my mind was made that if they do not lose anyone then they are going to be a real force this season and I'll stick by that.

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