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Chelsea v MSK Zilina - Match Summary|Player Ratings

Eton Blue at the Chelsea Megastore

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Given the number of younger players on view last night I thought I'd do a full review of the match with ratings.

Match Summary

A slightly subdued feel to things before the match started. The ground, as usual for midweek games, was pretty empty right up to kick off. In the club's keenness to sell all the tickets they ended up with a lot of Zilina fans sat all round the ground. On another night this could have caused problems but, as far as I could tell, nothing major kicked off. I think they were just happy to be playing against us and not being slaughtered.

I was pretty relaxed about the evening and very keen to see how our youngsters would perform on a big stage.

That feeling didn't last too long though. We were very tentative from the outset. Kakuta picked the ball up in space a number of times but didn't show any inclination to turn and run at the Zilina defence, instead settling for simple lay offs. There was a general lack of urgency about our play. Considering the calibre of opponent it indicated that it would be sometime before any of the youngsters were really ready to push on in to the first team.

The goal for Zilina stunned the ground in to near silence except for the away fans in the Shed End and those dotted around the rest of the ground. However, it also proved the turning point in the match. Almost immediately, we started to pick things up. Ancelloti pulled Kakuta inside and we dropped in to a 4-diamond-2 formation. Kakuta looked a lot happier in that position and slid a beautiful pass inside their left full back to put Sturridge through on goal. Unfortunately his finish lacked composure as he dragged the ball badly wide with his left foot.

McEachran was looking composed in the holding role and with plenty of time on the ball he started to link things together . Van Arnholt got forward and and linked well with Malouda as we started to get on top.

At half time I felt we had shown enough that we could get back in to the match if we continued to press on.

The second half saw the introduction of Kalou for Kakuta. I was a little disappointed because I thought Kakuta had just started to get in to the game in the run up to half time. However, the move was to prove a smart one as Kalou caused them problems right from the kick off.

The big scoreboard kept a display of the shots throughout the second half and the number for Chelsea just kept rising. At one point it reached 25-4, with Zilina not having a single shot in the second half. The equaliser wasn't long in coming, albeit with a bit of luck as Kalou's scuffed shot come cross found it's way to an alert Sturridge to slot in at the far post.

After that it was a constant barrage of attacks with several opportunities going begging as Zilina defended desperately and we couldn't quite find the final ball. Ramires went close with a long range volley and Drogba saw his wicked freekick turned on to the post by the Zilina keeper. Still we kept pressing with Kalou and Sturridge tearing their left side to pieces. The second goal kept threatening with Van Arnholt particularly unfortunate not to cap a good performance with a stunning left foot shoot from 20 yards which cannoned back of the left hand post after some clever build up play between himself and Malouda.

Sturridge was replaced by Anelka as we pressed for the win and it was Anelka's delicate chip in to the box which Drogba headed back across goal for Malouda to slide in for the winner with 5 minutes to go.

Zilina never looked like adding to their early goal and the only thing left was for Josh to receive a standing ovation as he was replaced by Jacob Mellis.

What started off worryingly ended on a high note. I don't think we will see any of the youngsters starting against Newcastle on Sunday, but they showed enough to convince me that given time and the opportunity to play with the senior players that we can hope for some of them at least to graduate to the starting eleven over the next couple of years.

I left the ground feeling pretty upbeat about the whole thing.

Player Ratings

Turnbull - 6

Didn't have a huge amount to do, but made one excellent save at his near post and his handling and command of his box were exemplary.

Ferreira - 6

another who didn't have too much to do. Didn't venture forward much in the first half but was much more attacking in the second.

Bruma - 6

Looked comfortable throughout the match but wasn't ever under much pressure. Is quite happy on the ball but doesn't yet have the physical stature to play against some of the more robust Premier League forwards. Wouldn't put any blame on him for the Zilina goal.

Ivanovic - 6

Steady without being spectacular. Didn't have much to do in all honesty.

Van Arnholt - 7

I really like the look of this boy. He is big, powerful and fast. He needs to work on the defensive side of his game but he looks like a natural replacement for Ashley in a couple of years. I'd be quite happy to see him playing if Ash was injured. He was very unlucky not to get on the scoresheet with a cracking left foot drive.

McEachran - 7

Looked nervous early on and played a few loose balls which were cut out but he didn't let that bother him. Got stronger as the match progressed and played some lovely balls in to feet when we were dominating. Whilst he did alright in the holding role, he did let his man go for the Zilina goal. Comedy moment of the night was watching him track back shoulder to hip with Ceecay, trying to barge him off the ball. I would like to see him given a run in one of the more advanced midfield roles where he can influence things a bit more.

Ramires - 6

Much the same as we have seen over recent matches. He is a good footballer and is comfortable on the ball but he does want too much time and does get hustled out of it too much. Looked much better when we were on the front foot in the second half.

Malouda - 7

I've been a little disappointed with Florent recently. As one of the senior players he hasn't really stepped up in the last few matches. He was another who upped his game considerably in the second half. I'd like to see that same level more consistently.

Sturridge - 7

Once he found he had the beating of their left back he seemed to grow in confidence and took him on at every opportunity. Was our biggest threat in the first half and with better finishing might have got us level before the break. He deserved his goal and I was slightly surprised to see him replaced. I still can't help feeling that he is like a younger version of Kalou though.

Drogba - 6

Still struggling to find his form after his illness. Showed some signs with a wicked freekick and a super header to set up Malouda's goal but more ofter than not he was wasteful and a yard off the pace. I'm sure it will come given time.

Kakuta - 5

Didn't look happy or confident out wide on the right. Didn't show any appetite to run at his man even though he was given yards of space. Looked much better when he came inside and played a couple of delightful balls. Would have liked to see him again in the second half. I suspect that his current poor form is down to lack of confidence and playing out of position.


Kalou - 8

Maybe it was Carlo's halftime bollocking which changed things, but there is no arguing that Kalou was the catalyst for the way we played in the second half. If he could finish like Van Nistelroy instead of Kezman he would be a world beater.

Anelka - 7

His strength is in the subtlety that he brings to the game. Didn't do all that much but was involved in a few chances and played a lovely delicate ball in for Drogba for the second goal.

Mellis - N/A

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Here's what a Mark Irwin in the Sun had to say, "Jeffrey Bruma, Daniel Sturridge, Ross Turnbull and Patrick van Aanholt all failed to rise to the occasion of a rare Champions League chance. Brazilian Ramires was once again anonymous in midfield and 17-year-old Josh McEachran struggled to make an impact on his first start for the club."

What a f**king imbecile.

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Here's what a Mark Irwin in the Sun had to say, "Jeffrey Bruma, Daniel Sturridge, Ross Turnbull and Patrick van Aanholt all failed to rise to the occasion of a rare Champions League chance. Brazilian Ramires was once again anonymous in midfield and 17-year-old Josh McEachran struggled to make an impact on his first start for the club."

What a f**king imbecile.

If they had been wearing Arsenal shirts he would have been creaming himself. Prick.

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