Chelsea’s defence earns the October plaudits

During the month of October Chelsea only conceded one goal in five games (away at Blackburn) while up front the Blues hit the back of the net just eight times so I’m sure no one is too surprised that the candidates for the player of the month are mostly defensive players. They are as follows:

  • Petr Cech
  • Branislav Ivanovic
  • John Mikel Obi
  • Yuri Zhirkov

Petr Cech was a colossus between the sticks, pulling off a string of saves in every game, including some big ones at home to Arsenal (one notably from a Arshavin strike) and away to Spartak where he made save after save, while also being dominant in the penalty area as a whole at Aston Villa and at home to Wolves. Indeed, the only goal he conceded in seven and half hours of football came in another good display in the win at Blackburn!

Branislav Ivanovic was the pick of the defenders last month, contributing excellent performances away at Villa and at home to Wolves, while also scoring a dramatic late headed winner at Blackburn from the right back position.

John Mikel Obi continued his consistent and assured displays in the heart of midfield, playing alongside multiple teammates due to injury and team selection and his defensive screening aided the team in their excellent defensive record during the month. His best display came away from home in the impressive win at Spartak Moscow.

Finally, Yury Zhirkov sneaks into the nominations for last month despite only playing three and a half games during October. However, he was arguably Chelsea’s best player at Villa after coming off the bench at half time, played well and scored a screamer against Spartak in his homeland and provided an assist for Florent Malouda’s opener against Wolves as well as standing up a great cross for Ivanovic’s winner at Blackburn!

If it’s hard to pick a winner from those four, try separating these goals for October’s goal of the month award!

  • Drogba v Arsenal
  • Alex v Arsenal
  • Zhirkov v Spartak
  • Anelka v Blackburn

First up is Didier Drogba’s ‘twirly backflick’ to open the scoring against Arsenal. The goal happened so quickly that even after seeing many replays I’ve had trouble determining what he actually did. It came from an incisive break down the left hand side and was made even more delicious by the fact that Ashley Cole crossed the ball from right in front of the visiting Arsenal fans for Drogba to knock in off the inside of the near post.

Do I really need to describe Alex’s free kick in the same game, one hit so hard that he actually injured himself in taking it? Okay, I’ll give it a go… Crash, bang wallop!

Next is Yury Zhirkov’s screamer, condemning the ghosts of the Luzhniki stadium. A long ball dropped down to him running towards the edge of the penalty area and on the half volley he leathered it into the far top corner, giving the ‘keeper no chance. The technique he used was supreme!

Finally, a goal that would probably win in any other month; Anelka’s equaliser at Blackburn. Reminiscent of a Gianluca Vialli strike at Barnsley in the mid 90’s, Petr Cech launched a ball out to the left where Florent Malouda played a delicious diagonal lofted pass for Didier Drogba to nod down for an onrushing Nicolas Anelka to bury past Brad Friedel.

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To vote on Chelsea’s player and goal of month awards for October please click here.

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