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Chelsea out to maul Black Cats

Chelsea 22 hours ago
Read
May 25, 2011

Player Ratings: Chelsea

Chelsea looked like they would run away with the Premier League title in the early part of the season but ended the campaign in second place. Kevin Palmer rates the players who couldn't keep Carlo Ancelotti in his job.

Petr Cech: 9

The big Czech stopper rarely put a foot wrong in a season when he was asked to work harder than he has become accustomed to. The uncertain patch Cech went through a couple of years ago is firmly behind him and he has reasserted his authority when challenging for high balls coming into his box. At the age of 29, this giant is in his prime.

Ashley Cole: 8

He will forever attract negative attention from his army of detractors, but there can be no denying the energy and professionalism Cole brings to the Chelsea team. He was often alone in trying to offer width to Carlo Ancelotti's side this season and, while he offered up a couple more mistakes than he is used to, his overall contribution could not be faulted.

John Terry: 7.5

Terry's injury problems arrived just as Chelsea slipped off their pedestal at the top of the table in November and, try as he might, this talisman could not haul his side off the canvas when he returned. His tendency to play as a centre-forward when his side come under pressure is an irresponsible habit he cannot kick, yet Terry's desperation to succeed is part of the reason why he is an eternal Stamford Bridge legend.

Didier Drogba: 7

If this was Drogba's final season at Chelsea, he can bow out with his head held high, as he handled himself with the sort of dignity that has so often eluded him after the £50 million arrival of Fernando Torres in January. This long-time Chelsea hero smiled through his anguish as he battled in vain to revive his side's season, yet he has not been the same player since being struck down with malaria in October.

Alex: 7

The arrival of David Luiz in January left this Brazilian powerhouse to revert to the role of frustrated spectator on the Chelsea bench and he is well known to loath assuming such an idle berth. Carlo Ancelotti threw him back into the fray after his apparent bust-up with Luiz in the final months of the season and Alex's season will be remembered for his stunning strike against Arsenal in October.

Nicolas Anelka: 7

A little like Drogba, this notoriously moody Frenchman was eased out of his comfort zone following the arrival of Fernando Torres and he was forced to play in wide positions that he despises. His impressive scoring return in the Champions League gave him a decent final goals tally, but Anelka went missing during Chelsea's mid-season slump.

David Luiz: 6.5

From hero to scapegoat in the space of 37 seconds at Old Trafford. That sums up the Chelsea career of this £21 million signing who instantly became a Stamford Bridge folk hero after his arrival in January, before he made a mistake early in the crucial 'title decider' against Manchester United that saw his reputation plummet. He was replaced by boss Carlo Ancelotti at half-time and failed to kick a ball in anger for the rest of the campaign.

Branislav Ivanovic: 6.5

Ivanovic was one of the few leaders who tried to throw the life vests out to his drowning comrades as the bottom fell out of the Chelsea ship mid-way through the season, yet he struggled to stem the tide when asked to play in the heart of the defence in the absence of John Terry and that uncertainty undermined the Blues cause. His woeful display in the pivotal 3-0 defeat against Sunderland last November was a low point.

Frank Lampard: 6.5

Lampard's return to scoring form was crucial in easing Chelsea back into title contention during the spring period, though the talisman of the club's numerous successes of recent years fell below his own sumptuous standards once he returned from his early season injury. Looking off the pace and giving the ball away more than he has ever done in the past, the sands of time are ticking for this veteran maestro.

Ramires: 6.5

This Brazilian midfielder enjoyed a decent first season, but he needs to show more cutting edge as he looks to grow into his role as a first team regular. His thrilling goal against Manchester City in March was a notable point, but his stupidity in getting sent off against their neighbours United in the crucial end of season game blotted his copybook.

Michael Essien: 6.5

The sight of Essien laughing uncontrollably seconds after Chelsea crashed out of the FA Cup at home to Everton at the height of the Blues slump did little to suggest his heart was still in the challenge at Stamford Bridge. His next manager needs to revive the Ghanaian bulldog of old and drag him out of hibernation, because the Blues need this powerhouse to return to top form from the off next season.

Jose Bosingwa: 6

A back-up option for Chelsea all season, injuries have restricted this £16 million full-back from living up this billing in his three years at Stamford Bridge. At the age of 28, it may be that his status as one of the club's high-earning fringe players leaves him vulnerable to being replaced when the latest Blues manager looks to shake-up his squad during the off-season.

Florent Malouda: 5.5

When everything was flowing for rampant Chelsea in the first two months of the season, this Frenchman was at the forefront of their apparently inexorable march towards glory on numerous counts. However, Malouda was guilty of hoisting the white flag along with too many senior players in Carlo Ancelotti's squad when the collapse came in November. His Stamford Bridge future must now be in doubt.

Yossi Benayoun: 5.5

This little Israeli playmaker was hailed by Carlo Ancelotti as a key man in his trimmed down squad last summer, but he barely kicked a ball in anger as injuries blighted his season. His friendship and on-pitch understanding with Fernando Torres may be crucial to Chelsea's long-term future, though both ex-Liverpool men will have much to prove next term.

Salomon Kalou: 5.5

Kalou has done well to survive at Chelsea for five years, but it may be that the next manager is not so sympathetic to his modest contributions. The odd vital goal was diluted by a host of ineffective performances and his role as a super-sub seems unlikely to be upgraded to anything more permanent so long as he remains at Stamford Bridge.

Yuri Zhirkov: 5

Part of the defensive horror story against Sunderland in November that kick-started Chelsea's demise, this Russian has flattered to deceive a little too often during his time at Stamford Bridge. The suspicion that the Blues owner Roman Abramovich likes to have a compatriot to cheer on in his team should stand Zhirkov in good stead as the summer squad shake-up looms large.

Jon Obi Mikel: 5

One dimensional and too similar to the other powerhouse holding midfielders in the Chelsea line-up, Mikel has struggled to take his game onto the next level in the last couple of years. His critics claim he is guilty of stopping the flow of Chelsea attacks and he struggled to step into the void when star men picked up injuries.

Daniel Sturridge: 5

This young man would rate highly in a Bolton end of season report, yet it's hard to score him highly here after an ineffective first half of the campaign with parent club Chelsea. In what was hailed as the season when he would challenge Drogba and Anelka for a starting spot, Sturridge failed to take his fleeting chances in a blue shirt.

Paulo Ferreira: 5

The feeling is that this veteran of the Jose Mourinho era at Chelsea has played his final game for the club and he will leave on the back of a season that has seen him play more often than he might have expected. Now 32, Ferreira clocked up his 200th game for Chelsea last month and his eight major trophies at Stamford Bridge confirms he has done a decent job for the club.

Josh McEachran: 5

The best of the youngsters who were hailed as the 'golden generation' emerging through the ranks at Chelsea, McEachran showed good touch and plenty of composure in his first team outings. His fragile frame needs to be bulked up if he is to replace the likes of Lampard in the Blues first team, but he oozes with potential.

Jeffrey Bruma: 3

Carlo Ancelotti was asked to draft youngsters like Bruma into his first team plans this season, but the reality was that this young Dutch defender was not ready to step into the heat of a challenge for top honours. His loan spell at Championship side Leicester was a little more encouraging, but it remains to be seen whether he is good enough for Chelsea.

Gael Kakuta: 3

Like Bruma, this was supposed to be the year that Kakuta proved he was ready to emerge as a star of a team ready to challenge for the Champions League and yet he ended the season as a back-up performer during a disappointing loan spell at Fulham. At the age of 19, this little box of tricks could still mature into a quality performer, but time may already be running out for him.

Fernando Torres: 1

While kicking a man when he is at rock bottom feels a little unpleasant, it's impossible to give a striker who cost Chelsea £50 million in January a lofty rating for the lamentable contribution he provided. In fact, Carlo Ancelotti's team may well have had a better chance of succeeding this season if this fallen giant had continued to act as a lead weight around Liverpool's ankles.

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