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Player ratings vs. Chelsea

Bit of a damp squib of a final fixture, with two teams who largely cancelled each other out on the day.

Here are my ratings:

Schmeichel: 8 - Has taken surprisingly well to possession football, and combined that today with a fantastic, brave save at the start.
Ricardo: 8 - His reading of the game to intercept and turn defence into attack was superb on several occasions. Always looked a threat. My choice for our MOTM.
Evans: 7 - Went about his business with calm authority.
Maguire: 6 - Should have done better with two great Chelsea chances in the first half. Still getting caught out not knowing what's behind him.
Chilwell: 8 - Looked back to his form from earlier in the season and nearly claimed a fine assist but for beating one final Chelsea toe.
Albrighton: 7 - Had an entertaining battle with Alonso, winning some and losing others. Always energetic and combined well with Ricardo.
Choudhury: 7 - Looking far more comfortable in the team than I thought possible at the start of the season, and will surely be looking forward to next season. Tried to get forward more today and lost position at times as a result, but this is something that will be worked on.
Tielemans: 7 - Showed great technique for a couple of shots, but wasn't able to influence the game to quite the standard he has in some previous matches.
Ndidi: 6 - It occurred to me today just how limited his range of passing is, and it's causing issues with him being able to link defence to attack. Can Rodgers help him with that? Puel couldn't, so he may just be limited.
Maddison: 6 - Often struggled to get into the game, but did ok with his limited opportunities. Delivery from corners seems to get worse by the game, and I don't understand why.
Vardy: 6 - A Vardy taking the game entirely seriously would have got his head down and shot when presented with the opportunity he had in the first half instead of trying to feed the ball through to Tielemans. He wouldn't get another one.

Okazaki: n/a - Didn't influence the game, but that wasn't the point.
Simpson: n/a - Had a run out, and that was the point.
Barnes: n/a - Seems to be ahead of Gray in the pecking order. It'll be interested to see what the future holds for both of them next season. The future looks rosier for Barnes considering he likely has more space for improvement.

Like each year that goes by, there is a bittersweet feeling about the end of the season as more of the invincibles move on. But this match had a special resonance given the events of late 2018. I don't know how the fanbase will react next season, but this felt like not just a final goodbye to Danny Simpson and Shinji Okazaki, but also a final goodbye to Vichai as well. Not that any of them will be forgotten of course, but in the way of: That was the time that was, and it shall be remembered with great fondness.

posted on 13/5/19

A pleasure to read your player ratings Dunge. Not sentimentality included in your scores which I quite like 🙃.

Couple of points to pick up on. Firstly Ndidi. Whilst I agree that he’s not a fully rounded box to box midfielder, but very very few players are. He has his role and he’s brilliant at it. Just like Kante was brilliant at his before Sarri ruined him be expecting him to be Tielemans!! Sometimes you play your best players to their strengths. Ndidi is one of our best players in my view and a failing of Puel that he didn’t recognise it.

My other point is just speculation really but on Maddison’s corners - I can help but feel that they are working with him in training to try something new and he’s not adapted yet. If he’s over thinking things that can happen and it just takes a bit of time. I hope that’s the case anyway, otherwise I’m confused how a professional footballer with such dead ball ability can hit so many duffers!

posted on 13/5/19

Mostly agree Dunge but a few points:

Ricardo is not a natural right back, he gets done defensively pretty much every game, although to be fair most RBs in the league will have a difficult day when faced with Willian. He was superb going forward though so agree MoM.
Chilwell also has a habit of drifting out of line with the rest of the back 4, with potentially disastrous consequences against the better teams in the league.
Maguire looks impressive going forward, agree he can be suspect defensively.
Evans (8 by the way) is our only true defender, his awareness and anticipation saving us on numerous occasions, one particularly impressive block snuffing out a very dangerous attack.
Having said which, I'm very happy with that line up, realistically we're not going to do better. However, here's the bit you're not going to agree with, our full backs are much better suited to playing as wing backs with 3 at the back. I wonder if Brendan will consider this formation over the summer?

Ndidi a 7 for me, agree he is limited going forwards - if he was better at that he'd start to look like Patrick Vieira - but he does the destructive element really well.

Vardy - why on earth he didn't shoot is beyond me, he was one on one with the keeper with both sides of the goal to aim at, I was quite ashamed after as I normally keep my language under control but I certainly didn't when he elected to pass to Tielemans and made a hash of it.

Tielemans - jury's out for me - not on his obvious ability or that he seems a perfect fit for our midfield, in that I'm with the crowd at the end singing 'sign him up' - but on the wisdom of bringing him in to act as a shop window for Monaco. I fear we may have seen the last of him, unless they are desperate for a Silva swap deal. So it's either ultimately a waste of time (albeit entertaining), in not contributing to developing the side over this last part of the season , or inspired - if we get him.

Gray/Barnes - clearly one has now overtaken the other in the pecking order. When he came on yesterday Barnes did not look out of place and gave the Chelsea defence something to think about, I doubt if Gray would have caused them much worry. One can but hope that Brendan can help Gray develop.

I don't see the Vichai thing going away anytime soon, at least not whilst Top & Co are still around.

Anyway thanks for the efforts over the season in producing these entertaining assessments which I always look forward to, please continue. One minor criticism would be that you need to go to more away matches!

comment by Jobyfox (U4183)

posted on 13/5/19

Great job with these ratings throughout the season Dunge. They often create some interesting debate.

My take on this game is largely similar. I’d actually have N’didi as marginally our best midfielder on the day. His distribution did let him down at times, but he was always there trying to influence. YT couldn’t really get into the game despite some good touches and Hamza looked a little lost as if he wasn’t sure of his role.

You could have picked a few for MOtM, but I gave it narrowly to Chilwell. What a player he would be if he had a better final ball.

I suppose now we start to look to next season. There has been talk of how we could break into the top six or what we might need. For me the gap is obvious.

The style we’re trying to create needs more invention than we currently have. A top six team is: pass, pass, move, pass, pass, move, chance. We are more: pass, pass, not enough movement, pass sideways, pass pass, lack composure, pass, pass back to Schmeichel - and repeat. We need something more to transition through midfield otherwise we haven’t got much chance of closing the gap.

Let’s see what a summer of recruitment brings.

posted on 13/5/19

I highlight Ndidi's issues because I think they're particularly exposed in certain games, and particularly if we're trying to pay through the lines against organised teams (which Chelsea were). He probably needs to have players with the technical ability of Maddison and Tielemans next to him rather than Choudhury or Mendy, so that there's another easy option available to someone who can play a more creative pass. He was caught having to make the play over and over again on Sunday, and teams will pick on him unless either he does something about it or the tactics are altered.

posted on 13/5/19

This is interesting Dunge as I agree that Ndidi has looked better in the 4-1-4-1 formation than with choudhury involved.

I also thought we looked defensively ok playing this way albeit we didn’t try it against the top teams suggesting Rodgers is wary of it against teams playing between the lines.

So, the question remains. How do you allow you full backs to push on with Ndidi protecting, whilst delivering the balance between defence and attack.

Well, it’s simple isn’t it. Back 3 🙃😉

posted on 13/5/19

Like many teams, we effectively play a back 3 at times by allowing a deep-lying central midfielder in Ndidi or Choudhury to slot in alongside the centre halves when attacking. The proposal of an actual back 3 is a sledgehammer being wielded at a walnut.

posted on 13/5/19

comment by The_Dungeon_Master (U4830)
posted 3 hours, 28 minutes ago
Like many teams, we effectively play a back 3 at times by allowing a deep-lying central midfielder in Ndidi or Choudhury to slot in alongside the centre halves when attacking. The proposal of an actual back 3 is a sledgehammer being wielded at a walnut.

Or looking at it another way, we’d still have a back 4 when Tielemans, Maddison and our two full backs are bombing on to improve the pass pass pass situation Joby talks about.

Think we all agree it’s about balance Dunge. I think the back 3 is a better option than the 4-2-3-1 against the better teams. The latter just makes us toothless as we saw in the last two games and far too many to mention under Puel.

posted on 13/5/19

2 out of 10 for the new white shorts, get the blue ones back now, god I’m bored already...

posted on 14/5/19

One on MITLBC. Wanting blue shorts back is like wanting Junior Lewis back instead of Tielemans!

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