By ESPNSTAR.com staff
As expected, new manager Rafael Benitez received an unfriendly reception when coming onto the pitch but he had hoped to bring some cheer back with a win.
After ninety minutes, he was booed once more as his side failed to break down a resilient Fulham defence who were ably marshalled by the likes of Philippe Senderos and Steve Sidwell.
Benitez's decision to drop Juan Mata to the bench backfired as Chelsea were really struggling to come up with incisive passes on the night. And their cause was not helped by yet another sub-par Fernando Torres performance with the Spaniard rarely getting into areas of space.
Marko Marin might have been the only Blues player who might have been happy on the night, though, as he finally made his long-awaited league debut.
Petr Cech - 7
Cech rarely had anything to do but he collected the tame Fulham shots with ease and was a figure of calm in defence.
Cesar Azpilicueta - 7
The Spaniard did well to send in a series of crosses from the right that Torres should have really connected better. But his attacking is still one-dimensional as he just sprints down the right and would benefit from some improved dribbling skills.
Branislav Ivanovic - 6
In a match that would have welcomed Ivanovic's presence within the opposition penalty area, the Serbian was unnaturally quiet and timid.
David Luiz - 6
The Brazilian played decently as the ball-playing defender and carried the ball forward on a number of occasions but was muscled off the ball too easily by the Fulham players before he could send in a good pass. His free-kicks were also poor and he should be advised to leave the task to another player in future games.
Ashley Cole - 6
The England left-back sent in a number of crosses from the left. Few were good enough to reach a Chelsea player.
Ramires - 6.5
The midfielder was willing to get forward and, on a number of occasions, could have rifled in a goal via his trademark shots on the run. However, to Benitez's disappointment, Ramires' first touch deserted him on the night.
Ryan Bertrand (off 63') - 6
Played out of position as a left winger, Bertrand ran hard and did his best to contribute but could not assert his presence in the game.
Oriol Romeu - 6
Not a bad cameo by the 21-year-old but he allowed Riise to skip past him too easily and earned a needless caution in attempting to prevent a Fulham counter-attack.
Eden Hazard (off 82') - 6
The Belgian showed off his bag of tricks with several quick turns and flicks but with Mata on the bench, the onus was on Hazard to shoulder the creative burden for his side. The passes that he did initiate, however, were almost always hit with too much purchase.
Oscar - 7
The youngster was promising initially as he darted his way between the Fulham midfielders with ease. However, he faded as the game went on, even as he was not helped by the lack of assistance provided by his team-mates.
Fernando Torres - 5
Roman Abramovich's favourite Spaniard is increasingly making life difficult for the Blues as he does not bury the chances presented to him. If that was not worrisome enough, he did not seem too keen in helping get the ball back whenever a team-mate lost the ball in his vicinity.
Marko Marin (on 82') - N/A
He finally got his chance to feature for his new side in the Premier League but did not get a lot of time to strut his stuff.
Juan Mata (on 63') - 7.5
His presence was sorely missed in the first half and Chelsea were immediately more dangerous after his introduction. As an example, the very first corner that he took was nearly met by a glancing Ivanovic header inside the six-yard box.
All previous deliveries by Hazard, on the other hand, had failed to even get a significant touch by a Chelsea player or were often taken short without any purpose.
Mark Schwarzer - 7
The Australian didn't have much to do but was confident enough to come forth and claim any ambitious through-balls and crosses in order to prevent any nervy moments for the defence.
Sascha Riether - 6
The on-loan full-back was easily beaten by Hazard and was the weakest link in an otherwise impressive back four.
Philippe Senderos - 8
The Swiss international was a rock in the heart of defence and ably cleared away every cross with a thumping header.
Aaron Hughes - 7.5
Hughes was equally resilient and prevented Ramires and Oscar from getting the space within which they could unleash dangerous long-range shots.
John Arne Riise - 8
It was a superb performance by the Norwegian defender as he was a strong presence in both defence and attack. He did well to get on the end of a long ball in the second half wherein he had the chance to beat Cech from close range. Unfortunately for the Cottagers supporters, he failed to connect properly with the ball and his weak volley went off-target.
Damien Duff - 6.5
The former Chelsea player sent in a few decent crosses but was unable to really shake off Cole's attentions.
Steve Sidwell - 8
Sidwell played with great passion in the derby and readily dove to block any shots or crosses, giving his keeper a far easier outing than expected.
Mahamadou Diarra (off 64') - 7.5
The Mali midfielder carried out his no-nonsense brand of defending well although he could have come forth to support the lonely Berbatov more often.
Giorgos Karagounis (off 74') - 7
Much like the other midfielders, Karagounis' main focus was on damage limitation but he did squander possession too many times in the Chelsea half.
Hugo Rodallega (off 84') - 7.5
The former Wigan player was an effective link between defence and attack and dragged the Chelsea defenders out of position with his tireless running off the ball.
Dimitar Berbatov - 7.5
Berbatov failed to produce a notable chance but his clever flick-ons, dribbles and good movement made it seem like the Chelsea defenders had their hands full and were dealing with more than just one player.
Furthermore, the ex-Manchester United striker was an animated figure and often issued instructions to his team-mates, helping them maintain possession. He regularly offered assistance when others were under pressure as well.
Chris Baird (on 64') - 6.5
Apart from a long-range free-kick that needed Cech's full attention, Baird didn't really assert his presence in the game during his brief cameo.
Karim Frei (on 74') - 7.5
Frei was really a livewire with the ball and, on one occasion, did well to nutmeg three defenders and get into the box. He could have really troubled Cech had he then sent in a fierce drive but ultimately he lost his footing and couldn't come up with anything of note.
Mladen Petric (on 84') - N/A