So that’s the first home win of the season out of the way! We’re only in the third week of September, you know.
The 4-0 win last night against Israeli champions Maccabi Tel-Aviv in our Champions League opener at Stamford Bridge has given us something positive to look back on going into the big game at the weekend against Arsenal. The Gunners simultaneously became the first English team to be beaten by Dinamo Zagreb this century. The world now seems a much better place, doesn’t it?
Jose Mourinho named quite a few changes for this one with Abdul Baba Rahman, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Loic Remy all playing from the start. Oscar was back for the first time since opening day of the Premier League season in early August
We take a look at how they rated:
1) Asmir Begovic – 7
The Bosnian didn’t have much to do, but will be very relieved to get the first clean sheet of the season out of the way. We sure are lucky to have someone as good as him as back-up.
2) Cesar Azpilicueta – 8
This guy just keeps getting better and better every week. Played in his natural right-back position here, the Spaniard was absolutely impenetrable and also provided a lot of input going forwards. I’ll never understand why and how Ivanovic has kept his place until now.
3) Kurt Zouma – 7.5
The Frenchman is one of the few youngsters in the current squad who will surely be regular starters in the very near future. He was as solid as a rock, as always.
4) Gary Cahill – 8
The Englishman really hasn’t done too much wrong this season. Captaining the side last night, he put in a commanding performance at the heart of the defence. He has very much carried on from last season, but performances from those in and around him have left him unappreciated.
5) Abdul Baba Rahman – 8
91% pass accuracy, 3 tackles won, 3 take-ons completed and 2 crosses – those are pretty impressive numbers for a youngster making his debut. The Ghanaian looks a real player and looks to be the perfect solution to get rid of Ivanovic soon.
6) Ruben Loftus-Cheek – 8.5 (STAR MAN)
Loftus-Cheek will be the fulcrum on the Chelsea side in the next decade, there is no doubt about it. He has tremendous talent, and more importantly, the backing of his manager. He put in a stellar display last night and has staked a real claim to being included against Arsenal.
7) Cesc Fabregas – 7
There were signs that the Spaniard was getting back to his best, but one does have to take into account that he wasn’t facing too much of a challenge. He did once again leave too many open spaces in midfield for the opposition to run into, but a goal and an assist in the second half made it a good outing for him.
8) Willian – 7
The only reason the Brazilian didn’t score higher than this is because he only played for over 20 minutes. In that time, he looked our liveliest player, winning a penalty (which Hazard missed) before scoring the opener with a free-kick that went all the way in. His mercurial pace is a big asset to have on the flanks, and if he can improve on his goals and assists, he will be a real star. It was a pity, therefore, to see him trudge off with a hamstring injury just after scoring.
9) Oscar – 7.5
Oscar gave us a lot of what we had been missing in the past month. The attacking midfielder’s work ethic coupled with his creativity was vital in this one, and with Willian and Pedro both out for Arsenal, he is a sure-starter. He scored his second goal of the season in as many games, netting from the penalty spot just before half-time.
10) Eden Hazard – 5.5
We expect a lot from this guy every time he plays, and he delivers more often than not. Last night, though, symbolized the season he has had so far. The Belgian skied a penalty in the opening 5 minutes and had no impact whatsoever on the rest of the game. The sprightly runs and take-ons seem to have completely vanished from his game.
11) Loic Remy – 7
The Frenchman must have been cursing his luck when Willian got injured, and Diego Costa came on, forcing him to shift out to the right. Still, he tried his best to remain in the thick of the action. With Chelsea’s injury problems, Remy may well get another chance on Saturday.
1) Diego Costa – 7.5
He got his unexpected call with a quarter of the game gone. The Spaniard has looked frustrated all season but won Chelsea’s second penalty before half-time before scoring himself after the break. In the process, he broke his duck in the Champions League, scoring for the first time in 8 outings. He goes into the game against Arsenal with at least some of his confidence restored.
Ramires and Bertrand Traore also came on in the second half but didn’t have enough of an impact to get a rating.
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Edited By: Karan Dubey
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