As a whole, Chelsea looked incredibly shaky in its win over Fulham, but how did the Blues each perform on an individual level?
Chelsea, prior to this game, had only picked up one win in its last seven games. Therefore, getting a win in this match was more important than an enjoyable performance. Thankfully, a win is what the boys in blue delivered. It was always going to be a difficult match against west London rivals, regardless of trophies won by either team in recent years. The team played OK and delivered the desired result, but how did the players perform individually?
Edouard Mendy (Goalkeeper): 7/10
Edouard Mendy finally had a game where he didn’t have to pick the ball out of his net. He did what was required of him to deliver a clean sheet, which in this case was crucial for the win to be a reality. There was that time Cesar Azpilicueta nearly scored an own goal due to some serious miscommunication. Mendy had to stick out a leg to prevent an awkward situation indeed, but had it covered nonetheless. Mendy is top quality and his confidence is returning.
Cesar Azpilicueta (Right back): 7.5/10
Cesar Azpilicueta was solid once again. The captain has delivered good performances when called upon this season in the absence of Reece James. Azpilicueta did everything that was expected of a full back, and then some. The skipper showed that Chelsea fans and staff have nothing to worry about when James is indisposed. He led the team in tackles, and was the victim of two awkward fouls, but he got back up. He was the bastion of consistency and leadership the players needed.
Thiago Silva (Centerback): 8.5/10
Thiago Silva was Chelsea’s best defender on the night. He led the team in clearances and even cleared one off the line. His distribution was superb as he made more passes than anyone else, though that’s more a function of playing on a team with 73 percent possession. His transfer was a definite success and while he and other Chelsea players have been way below in the games leading up to this, he put up a display that was a glaring improvement on his more recent performances. Lampard has had to manage his minutes as he doesn’t have the stamina to play as many games as he once did. Silva created one chance, impressive for a centerback. Word is that the Blues might even extend his contract, that’s testament to how well he’s played this season.
Antonio Rudiger (Centerback): 8/10
Antonio Rudiger’s distribution was equally superb. In a rare occurrence, both Chelsea centerbacks recorded over 100 passes in the game, which isn’t surprising as the Blues had majority of the ball on the night. He had that header from the corner that wasn’t a goal only because of Alphonse Areola’s brilliance. The German has played well when called upon this season, in all competitions. Rudiger definitely wasn’t undeserving of his start tonight, though it’s unlikely that he will return against Leicester. Chelsea didn’t seem to have nearly enough centerbacks that they could trust last season, but this season Lampard can definitely add the veteran to the list of defenders he can turn to in times of need. He also created one chance on the night.
Ben Chilwell (Left back): 6.5/10
Ben Chilwell wasn’t impressive, but he wasn’t appalling. He tried to get involved in the attack a lot, but Fulham hasn’t made that easy for anyone—Liverpool’s struggles against the same side wasn’t just down to the Champions not being up to it. Fulham has made itself very difficult to break down, and even throwing bodies forward and trying to stretch the play with wide players didn’t yield as much success as it normally would. The England left back attempted seven crosses and completed none. He attended to his defensive duties though, making one clearance and two tackles. He also kept a clean sheet too, and that’s always good, especially with victories.