Actually it’s a half term report plus one game as I am writing this after the Fulham game. With half the season gone we are where we wanted to be on the whole. The recent dropped points have taken the gloss off the season as a whole so far, but who last August wouldn’t have taken top of the league going into the New Year? So chins up everyone and hope that the full term report is issued with a couple of trophies in the cabinet.
1 Petr Cech. A hot and cold season for Big Pete so far. While our vulnerability at set pieces has to be partly down to him, his mates haven’t exactly helped him out on some occasions. The three goals against Everton were more flukes than mistakes and he remains number one shot stopper and in one against one situations in the Premiership. My vote: 7.
2. Branislav Ivanovic. It is interesting to note that when Ancelotti opts to make a tactical change at the back it has been Carvalho coming off not the Serb. He looks the most solid of our right backs and comes a close second to Bosingwa and Belletti going forward (or does that make him third). Unlucky not to have broken his goal scoring duck this season. My vote: 7.5
3. Ashley Cole. Cheryl’s other half is having his best spell in a Chelsea shirt, both defending and going forward and has chipped in with two goals this season from left back – which is exactly Jon Obi Mikel’s tally in his 150 odd appearances in a blue shirt. Claims, not by himself it has to be said, to be the best left back in the world do not look out of place. My vote: 8.5.
5. Michael Essien. If there is a better midfielder in the world than him at the moment, please step forward. Tackling, passing, shooting, stamina, power, strength, vision all rolled into one incredible body. One day scientists will declare that Essien was the first of a new breed of super humans who inhabited the earth in the 21st century. Rather than spend billions on Trident missiles, how about cloning a few Michael Essiens – surely he would pack more fire power than some old tired nuclear device. No co-incidence that our stutter started when he went off injured against Apoel. My vote: 9.5
6. Ricardo Carvalho. Solid as usual and rarely at fault in any of our set piece debacles. His partnership with JT has, on the whole, been excellent, born out by the fact that we are the team with the lowest number in the goals against columns. My vote: 7.
8. Frank Lampard. Started slowly in his new position at the tip of the diamond but back to his best once he reverted to his more usual role in midfield. Once he gets back regularly amongst the goals, as he always does in the second half of the season, we’ll all be raving about him again. Voted b=player of the decade by OPTA My vote: 7.5
10. Joe Cole. Back at last from his injury and slowly regaining match fitness. If he gets a good run in the team he will no doubt get back to his best. We all know what Coley can do and will no doubt play a vital role in our charge for trophies at the cutting edge of the season. My vote: 6.5
11. Didier Drogba. Well, well, well, well. Where are all those who joined the Facebook group to kick Drogba out of Chelsea last season? Immense is the word that springs to mind when talking about DD this season. He doesn’t do much in a game, said the Islington Voyeur. If not doing much equals what Didier has done this season long may it continue. If he continues in this form a certainty for Footballer of the Year. My vote: 9.9 (I’ve deducted 0.1 for him falling asleep on a free kick, against Stoke I think)
12. Jon Obi Mikel. Still prone to horrendous mistakes and giving away free kicks in dangerous areas. Definitely not one of my favourites, as many of you know by now. Hope he has visa problems when coming back from the African Nations Cup and is not allowed to set foot in England ever again. My vote: 4.
13. Michael Ballack. Michael is another of those who had a mixed bag of a season so far but his presence in the team gives us a solid look. As usual he will come good when it matters and will be a key player in Essien’s absence. My vote: 7
15. Florent Malouda. Everyone’s favourite for the boot this time last year but has come on in leaps and bounds since. He needs a regular place in the team to show his true form and as he is usually one of the main victims when it comes to resting players, unlikely to get it. My vote: 6.5
17. Jose Bosingwa. Big improvement over last season, only to be cut down by a long term injury. Of the four right backs on our books, he is probably the most complete package. My vote: 7
18. Yuri Zhirkov. Impressed me every time he has played and I would definitely give him a go in midfield rather than restrict him to being Ashley Cole’s substitute. His pre-season injury meant that we haven’t seen the best of him yet but there is something about him that tells me he could have an important part to play in the second half of the season. One of his goals for CSKA is in the all time best in the Champions League. My vote: 6.5
19. Paolo Ferreira. I love the bloke and would like to see him getting more playing time but Ancelotti seems to have him behind Bosingwa, Belletti and Ivanovic in the right back pecking order. My vote: 6
20. Deco. Nice touch here and there and a big improvement on last season, but then that’s not saying much. I just think he is not suited for the power and pace of the Premiership. My vote 6.5.
21. Salomon Kalou. Brought in as a substitute striker and looks destined to remain one for a long time to come. I think he’ll go if the rumours about Aguero finally come to fruition in the next transfer window. My vote: 6
22. Ross Turnbull. One full game in the Champions League and a substitute appearance in the League Cup so far. Neither of the two goals he conceded to Apoel can really be blamed on him so we’ll have to wait and see before forming any opinion of him. My vote: 6
23. Daniel Sturridge. Two starts and three substitute appearances so far. Won the penalty at West Ham and had a big part in our winning goal against Fulham. Injuries haven’t helped and January could be his make or break month if he is given some playing time in Drogba and Kalou’s absence. My vote: 6
26. John Terry. What more is there to say about JT that hasn’t been said before? I’ll just say that he is living up to his legend status. My vote: 9.
33. Alex. Injuries have marred his season. I fell in love with the bloke when he scored at the Emirates for PSV to knock Arsenal out of the Champions League and this love was consummated (on my part only and on a strictly platonic level I hasten to add) the moment the ball left his boot in the CL quarter final against Liverpool last season. He’ll be there when we need him, which we undoubtedly will when suspensions and injuries start mounting up. My vote: 8 (mainly because he did little wrong in his 4 appearances so far this season)
35. Juliano Belletti. An air of expectation fills the ground whenever he comes on. We haven’t seen any of his humdingers so far, so fingers crossed he’s leaving them for the really big games in the second half of the season My vote: 6
39. Nicolas Anelka. He can’t play with Drogba, said Scolari. Next stop for the Brazilian was Uzbekistan. I wonder if they have Sky in Tashkent (that’s the Uzbek capital in case you didn’t know) to find out what Scolari thinks now. General consensus is that he (Anelka not Scolari) is playing his best foot ever. Nuff said. My vote: 9.
40. Henrique Hilario. His fourth season at the Bridge and just reached 30 appearances in the League Cup game at Blackburn. Didn’t quite cover himself in glory in that game but usually does a job holding fort until Cech is duly restored to his place. My vote: 6
44. Gael Kakuta. The world and his dog know everything there is to know about the young lad by now. All I can say is that if what we have seen is a prelude to what is to come, two inactive transfer windows will be a small price to pay. Could Arnesen have got it right at last and unearthed a gem? My vote: 8
45. Fabio Borini. Ancelotti seems to have great faith in the young Italian. He has looked lively whenever he has come on and I am sure a goal will do him a world of good. My vote: 7 (what the hell it’s Christmas)