RAMIRES: KEEP ON RUNNING
With Ramires having played throughout Chelsea's two wins so far this week, he could be considered a prime candidate for rotation when the team take on Stoke today.
However evidence from the season so far also indicates it will be no surprise if Jose Mourinho calls the energetic Brazilian into action again, as the Blues aim to remain hard on the heels of Arsenal in the table with a win over Mark Hughes's team at the Britannia Stadium.
Ramires has played every minute of our Premier League campaign so far, and the only Champions League football he missed was the home game against Basel when he was suspended. In the Capital One Cup he has been a substitute but one used during the course of the games.
He clearly has the faith of the manager, both to be able cope with the physical demands and to be able to perform the tasks required regardless of the opposition. That in turn must boost a player's confidence.
Ramires nods in agreement as he considers his significant involvement under Mourinho so far.
'I feel very happy with that because it is due to the work I have been doing,' he tells the official Chelsea website.
'That is how I think about it because that is the way you can get the confidence of the manager. It is on the pitch that you show it and I try to work hard and do my best and I am really happy that he has so much confidence in me. I try to show the work ethic in training and at the games.'
One of the reasons why Ramires is a fixture in the side is surely his ability to perform different roles. It is very noticeable when changes are made to the forward line when trying to turn around an unfavourable scoreline during a game - the two strikers up front last weekend against Southampton for instance, or when the defence becomes three at the back as during the second half against Norwich two months ago, but switches for the midfield players can be just as significant.
It was Ramires who dropped deeper when Juan Mata came on at Spurs as the Blues rallied second half and it was he who won the free-kick that led to the deserved equaliser. He went forward more late in the game at home to West Brom and his run into the box led to the equalising penalty. At West Ham he was asked to play ahead of John Mikel Obi in a 4-3-3 and he is often seen wide on the right. Against Southampton Ramires was given a lot of central running to do in a second-half 4-4-2 with the wide players pushing forward, and his late enterprising run led to Demba Ba's goal. Jose Mourinho has spoken about being able relying on the Brazilian on his own in a deeper role due to his ability to eat up the yards.
'Because I have had experience playing different roles, it is easier for me to try different things,' Ramires reckons.
'I am always at the manager's disposal to do whatever he asks me to do, and because I have played in different positions before it is easy for me to move from one to the other. It doesn't matter the position. I am ready to follow instructions and try to do my best.'
The degree with which Ramires has been relied upon means that Wednesday's game at Sunderland was already his 150th start for Chelsea since he joined in 2010, with an additional 21 appearances as a substitute.
'It has come very quickly,' he smiles. 'When I think about it, it is already a lot of games and I just have to be thankful that I am giving this opportunity. I am very happy with it.'