Fernandez a steady presence but Mudryk hooked and Cucurella all at sea in draw
CHELSEA struggled once again as they limped to a goalless draw with Fulham.
Graham Potter threw in January signings Benoit Badiashile and Mykhailo Mudryk but the standout name in the starting XI was Enzo Fernandez.
Two more new arrivals came on for the Blues but for all the £680million across the starting XI and subs, they could not buy a goal.
And the stalemate means Chelsea remain below Fulham in the table and could be 12 points off the top four by tomorrow evening.
Here’s how SunSport’s Joshua Jones rated Graham Potter’s men…
Kepa Arrizabalaga – 6
The £71m goalkeeper made a flying save to prove the old money is just as important as the new money, tipping a rasping Andreas Pereira drive around the post.
A couple of nervy moments with the ball at his feet and then took a huge sigh of relief when he got back to save Alexandar Mitrovic’s effort from miles out.
Reece James – 5
Amid all the money spent, the return of Reece James at right-back could be the best news of all for Potter.
But far from his brilliant top standards – as expected – on his comeback from the knee injury that wrecked his World cup dream, although did well and had his hands full with ex-Chelsea man Willian.
Did deliver one wonderful cross but could not quite pick out his man before he was withdrawn on the hour mark.
Thiago Silva – 7
Ageing. Fine. Wine.
The 37-year-old once again demonstrated his sheer class with another Rolls Royce showing at the back – not for the first time in his fine career.
Caught out for pace once by Willian but helped out by his partner.
Benoit Badiashile – 7
Put his Champions League disappointment to one side to star alongside Silva – stepping up when required and looking a really dominant force.
This could be the bedrock partnership in the second half of the season to reignite the campaign.
Marc Cucurella – 3
There are still serious doubts of Marc Cucurella and tonight showed why as he was beaten time and time again defensively and at times looked lost out there.
Spent most of his evening chasing shadows, on the deck or complaining to the ref – the sight of Ben Chilwell on the Chelsea bench a welcome sight.
Conor Gallagher – 4
Forgot he was playing in a midfield three until the 55th minute when he delivered a woeful corner cleared by the first man at the near post.
His second involvement of note was a cynical late foul which earned him a yellow card. Not the kind of performance that is going to keep him in the team.
The third saw his flash a low strike against the outside of the post – many in the ground thought it was in.
Enzo Fernandez – 8
The £107m man was straight in from the start less than 72 hours after completing his British-record move – and looked right at home immediately in the Battle of the Bleached Blondes with Pereira.
Fernandez got right in the thick of his defensive duties and then started pulling the strings from deep, just as his predecessor No5 did.
Almost capped off a fine debut with a brilliant curling shot from distance that flew just past the post – that would have been some way to introduce himself in England.
Mason Mount – 4
Seemed to be far more effective as a high No8 rather than an inverted winger and would have set Kai Havertz up for the opening goal before Tim Ream’s crucial touch.
But after his first-half exploits, trailed off in the second period and went missing for large chunks so was rightly taken off.
Hakim Ziyech – 4
Thought he was going to be lining up with Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe et al but Potter clearly feels he has something to offer by throwing him back into the starting XI.
However, offered very little and got his weak-foot shot all wrong… it could even have landed outside the Parc des Princes.
Kai Havertz – 4
Came closest to breaking the deadlock when Ziyech executed a superb pass but the German lobbed compatriot Bernd Leno – then saw the ball bounce back off the post as defenders raced back.
Cut an isolated and lonely figure at times – but even when he did get on the ball, he didn’t do much with it.
Mykhailo Mudryk – 3
Looked bright from the first whistle with his electric pace off the ball striking fear into the Fulham defence.
But in reality, Mudryk was never really in the game at all as he struggled to get a touch or manage a successful take-on and was subbed at half-time with no apparent sign of an injury.
Noni Madueke (for Mudryk, HT) – 8
Came on for his debut and immediately went on the front foot with an exciting drive – fans will be hoping that’s a sign of things to come.
Would have headed in at the back post before more good Tete defending and was a constant threat, demanding the ball and taking ownership. Impressive.
Cesar Azpilicueta (for James, 60 mins) – 5
Came on for his 501st Chelsea appearance in what looked like a pre-planned change.
Raheem Sterling (for Ziyech, 60 mins) – 5
Got a point to prove with the arrival of all the new attackers in January but just overhit a simple pass for Mount, who would have been in.
David Fofana (for Mount, 75 mins) – 7
His introduction up top saw Havertz drop deeper and almost made the perfect start when he took the ball around Leno, cut inside but then couldn’t find a way past Ream who blocked well.
Ben Chilwell (for Cucurella, 84 mins) – 5
A welcome return for the £50m left-back whose Chelsea career has been dogged by injuries.
A major upgrade on Cucurella and the perfect tonic for James on the other side.
Source: The Sun
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