LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 25: David Luiz of Chelsea celebrates scoring during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Bolton Wanderers at Stamford Bridge on February 25, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
I think I've got a good data source in lieu of the Guardian Chalkboard service (RIP), so I'll be able to do a full analysis of Chelsea vs. Bolton Wanderers tomorrow/whenever I have time. But since I enjoyed myself doing player ratings last time, despite it being Chelsea vs. Everton, and because they seemed to be such a success here, I figured I'd rewatch the match and hand out some totally subjective grades. Yay!
Remember, I use five as average for a Premier League player, six as the minimum acceptable from a Chelsea starter, and seven as 'Chelsea average'. Feel free to share your views in the comments, especially the ones that tell me I'm an idiot. Love those views.
Petr Cech: Bolton gave the veteran goalkeeper so little to do that any grade handed out here would be completely irrelevant. Cech had a couple of positive moments in his distribution, but that's all that's worth commenting on here. Incomplete.
Ashley Cole: The left back played his first full game since the Everton debacle and put in an adequate, but not particularly impressive shift. He was partially to blame for the lack of penetration in the first half, only going forward three times in the first half, being inexplicably caught offside in the first minute from a David Luiz long pass and blasting a silly shot well wide in the closing stages. The second half was better offensively, but then he also should have conceded a penalty after hacking down Marvin Sordell in the box, which wasn't very good. 6.
David Luiz: It may be that I'm simply incapable of fairly assessing David Luiz. Everyone has biases and I'm no different. But really, I'm struggling to find a single instance in which David Luiz put a foot wrong in this match. He conceded a foul in the first half and had a couple of misplaced long-range passes, but most of his through balls were actually inch-perfect efforts that were thwarted by an incompetent linesman. David Luiz scored the opening goal, hit the post and is a centre back. A mark gets taken off because Bolton didn't really test him defensively. 9.
Gary Cahill: Dealt competently with Bolton's attack, for the most part, although a second-half tangle with Ryo Miyaichi didn't go too well for him. Mostly anonymous in the attack, although a lovely (and difficult) pass to Ramires was crucial in setting up the third and final goal. 7.
Branislav Ivanovic: Didn't do terribly against Miyaichi, Bolton's only real attacking threat, and exploited the opening on the right flank with merry abandon. There were, however, several major communication issues that popped up, most annoyingly in the first half when Ivanovic wiped out Drogba as both went for the same ball at the top of Adam Bogdan's box. Crossing could use work too. 6.
Michael Essien: A superb display from Essien, who did basically everything you could ask for in a holding midfielder against a team like Bolton. He was thoroughly aware of what was happening around him at all times, his passing was wonderful, and his contributions to the attack came only when it was reasonable to go forward. Had a nice long-range shot mixed up in all of that. 9.
Frank Lampard: Despite the goal, it was a mixed performance from Lampard. He was fifted with many, many opportunities - he failed to shoot on at least three occasions where he was odds on to score and probably would have had a brace if Fernando Torres had been less (understandably) selfish late on. He wasn't really that involved with many passing moves, but Lampard was reasonably competent when he did come into the attack, playing a few nice passes on the day. A slew of awful corners takes away from the assist. 7.
Ramires: As we're used to from the Brazilian, Ramires showed lots of hustle and bustle, stretching Bolton's defence. There was, however, very little end product. He helped with the third goal, but only by accident. In good news, Ramires was more defensively responsible than usual, showing a great awareness with Essien and more willingness to combine with both Gary Cahill and Daniel Sturridge. Improvement required to reach his potential. 7 (downgraded to 6).
Juan Mata: Mata had a nightmare in the first half, failing to complete any meaningful passes, but bounced back in the second to set up Lampard's goal. He had a horrible time on corner kicks, often crossed to nobody, and the less said about the attempted chip of Bodgan late on the better. Mata's been off and on (by his high standards) for the past couple of months, and this was more 'off' than 'on' for me. The second half performance, where he helped dictate play admirably, makes up for many of the sins of the first. 7.
Didier Drogba: A breath of fresh air compared to Fernando Torres, although he still wasn't really what we need from a centre forward. Drogba attempted some runs and flicks, scored a goal, and was involved with the buildup for David Luiz's opener before going off injured after fouling Tuncay. He really, really should have stretched the weak centre back pairing of David Wheater and Tim Ream, and the fact that he didn't is worrying, goal or no. Still, not Torres! 6.
Daniel Sturridge: It's been a six months since the beginning of the season and I'm still trying to figure Sturridge out. He doesn't take on players one-on-one when he should, gets randomly burned on pace by slower players and has a habit of making silly decisions. He also can be an unholy terror to the opposition defence, shows random flashes of brilliance in linkup play, and looked like the only threat to score in the first half. Someone want to explain this to me? 7? Let's go with 7.
Substitutes: Fernando Torres was awful, Salomon Kalou was confused and awful, and I'm not entirely sure that John Obi Mikel touched the ball. None were on the pitch long enough to be graded. Incompletes.