Whites trampled underfoot

Posted by Phil Mison

Steve Bardens/Getty ImagesPhilippe Senderos and Fulham could do little to stop John Terry and Chelsea on Wednesday night.

High-riding Chelsea rode across the borough bringing all their big guns, only to find Fulham armed with pea shooters. It was a dominant display by the Blues, who could have won by a bigger margin. Martin Jol was fooling nobody when he said the 0-3 result was 'harsh' for his side.

- Match report: Fulham 0-3 Chelsea

Fulham management will do well to keep the video of this defeat close to hand through the summer months. It was a stark lesson in the concerted team-building required to reinvigorate the current squad. Chelsea here were different class. Another contract for Mladen Petric???

The Whites showed industry, especially in the first 45, but their efforts were artisan and pedestrian in contrast to Chelsea's artistry and acceleration in switching play from back to front.

It might have all panned out differently had Bryan Ruiz not ballooned a guilt-edged early chance high into the night sky from close range. His body shape was all wrong to an incisive Sascha Riether cross. The miss underlined Ruiz's lack of any finish to his play since arriving from Holland, where he was far more prolific. Once again, this was a very disappointing display by one of Jol's high-priced imports. I maintain Ruiz is a luxury show pony the club can no longer carry.

While Dimitar Berbatov says he has a 'road map' in his head of where players are on the pitch, Ruiz must be playing with headphones under that mane of hair. After two years in this league he continues to want too much time on the ball, repeatedly loses possession, and when Fulham don't have the ball, he coasts around the pitch marking space. His work continues to be all in front of opponents where he cannot hurt you.

Fulham in fact must be the easiest side in the league to set up against. Only Riether threatens to get to the by-line, John Arne Riise offers nothing, so why was he back in ahead of Kieran Richardson? We did not win a competitive header from open play in the Chelsea box. When he gets game time, Hugo Rodallega is playing with a constant scowl and look of bewilderment as to what's expected of him.

Talking of headers, when Petric manages to scoop a goalbound effort from Philippe Senderos over the bar from one yard range -- rather than just let it bounce in, Fulham's miserable performance gets summed up in that one moment of absurdity.

The loanees made little impact and I would not rush to sign any of them if Fulham are thinking progressively; perhaps Eyong Enoh as a midfield ball winner has something to offer? But Jol needs to be scouting from a far wider net than stale references in the Bundesliga and Holland.

If the first strike from David Luiz was a bolt from the blue, two typically gutsy headers from the hard as nails John Terry epitomised the disparity between these two teams.

Fulham fluttered around the pitch like exotic butterflies. Chelsea stepped up and stamped them into the turf as and when they felt like it.

Rows of empty seats at the Cottage long before the final whistle. More of the same Saturday?


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