Having signed from Belgian side Anderlecht last summer, Romelu Lukaku will have been aware that, with both Didier Drogba and Fernando Torres ahead of him in the pecking order, his first season at the club was always going to be a learning curve.
He made his debut as a substitute in the 3-1 win against Norwich at Stamford Bridge and went close to scoring with his first touch, before making another late appearance in the 3-1 defeat at Manchester United.
Early in the season, however, it was the Carling Cup which provided him with the platform to showcase his abilities. His first full 90 minutes for the club came in the win against Fulham, while he also featured in later rounds against both Everton and Liverpool.
In between his fleeting first team appearances, the 18-year-old turned out regularly for the reserves, and finished that particular campaign with a tally of seven goals in nine games, including a brace in a 4-2 win away to Newcastle’s second string.
Back with the first team, Lukaku came on as a substitute in the 4-1 defeat at Liverpool, before starting a league game for the first team on the final day of the season against Blackburn Rovers, supplying the cross from which John Terry opened the scoring in our 2-1 win.
Minutes on pitch: 461
In what was his eighth season at the club, Paulo Ferreira proved just how important it is to have squad players who can be relied upon when necessary.
After featuring in only Carling Cup and Champions League group games earlier in the campaign, he was thrust into the action midway through the first half of the 1-1 draw at White Hart Lane in December and turned in a solid display marking the in-form Gareth Bale.
He featured in the 3-1 home defeat by Aston Villa just over a week later but wasn’t used again until he was handed a surprise and rare start in the Champions League game away in Benfica. Ferreira used his maturity and big-game experience to help the Blues turn in an all-round impressive defensive display in his homeland en route to a 1-0 victory.
As the season drew to a close, he also started in the 6-1 victory over Queens Park Rangers and the 4-1 defeat at Liverpool.
Minutes on pitch: 650