Michael Ballack came on for Deco in Chelsea’s 4-0 victory over Ligue 1 side Bordeaux on Tuesday. While the game was already decided at the hour mark, Ballack’s first appearance of the year should be a welcome sight to Chelsea supporters.
The occasionally controversial Germany captain found his form quickly after returning from injury in last year’s campaign, but the question begs itself: Where does he fit in the crowded Chelsea midfield? The red hot tandem of Deco and Frank Lampard are unlikely to be moved by “Chelse-a” manager Phil Scolari and Ballack looks like a long term substitute as it stands.
Turning 33 next Friday and at a cost of 8.8MM, he looks to be highly overvalued. However, Herr Ballack actually has a great fantasy record at Chelsea – 1400 minutes played (16 games) last year yielding 98 points (6+ per 90 minutes).
Bottom line is this: Michael Ballack is experienced, highly decorated, and will be invaluable to Big Phil in Europe this year. But until the Chelsea Physio Team is called to duty for yet another blue midfielder, Ballack will be spending the majority of his weekends on the bench picking his own all-time XI. Spend your free 8-9MM on Gareth Barry. Feeling foolish? Save up to swoop for Ronaldo (14MM) and his hair product (2MM).
Deco Owners, Beware: In the (possible but not probable) event that Scolari goes with his three attack-minded veterans (Ballack, Lampard, and Deco) and drops Mikel to the bench, Deco could see his fantasy value significantly drop as he takes on a deep-lying midfield role in front of the back four. Regardless, Deco scored only one goal in La Liga last season and only one goal in La Liga in the 2006-2007 season. Not good. Not good at all. You have been warned.