Chelsea welcomed Arsenal at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, knowing that anything other than a victory against their London rivals would set off a crisis at the club. Thankfully, the players performed to their optimum, and with their players losing discipline and getting themselves sent off, Chelsea were able to come away with all three points with ease.
Jose Mourinho had made changes to the side that lost 3-1 at Goodison Park, dropping John Terry and bringing in Gary Cahill. The captain’s armband was given to Ivanovic, who had come under fire in recent weeks for his performances. Oscar was finally fit and replaced Mikel from the last league match’s team. Let us take a look at how the players in blue rated.
Asmir Begovic (6/10)
Goalkeeper Begovic did not have much to do other than catch two easy shots from Walcott in each half. Denied Aaron Ramsey in stoppage time, though. Will be happy to finally get a clean sheet to his name in the league.
Branislav Ivanovic (6/10)
Handed the captain’s armband, Ivanovic made a significant improvement from the past few weeks. Having faced a lot of flak for his recent performances, Ivanovic showed more responsibility. Although he had to foul Alexis Sanchez on a few occasions in the first half, he grew more solid as the game progressed. His performance will come as a relief to the manager, supporters and Ivanovic himself.
Vindicated the manager’s decision to start him in the derby with a rock solid performance at the back. Was impenetrable throughout the match. Made a crunching tackle on Theo Walcott in the first half, denying the Arsenal man an easy one on one situation with Begovic. The second half proved to be even better as he opened the scoring, heading past Cech from Fabregas’s free-kick. By the looks of it, he is ready to start more regularly.
Gary Cahill (7/10)
Partnered Zouma well, and was solid in the air. Cleared crosses and set pieces with calmness. Marshaled Walcott well all through the match. Barring a moment in the second half, when Sanchez almost equalized, Cahill was pretty good.
Aaron Ramsey could barely get a sniff with Azpilicueta giving another solid defensive display. Linked up well with Eden Hazard. Also made an important interception against Ramsey after which he mainly had to foray forward rather than defend.
Nemanja Matic (7/10)
Solid as usual. Controlled the midfield well in both halves. Cazorla and Ozil had a tough time creating chances with the big Serbian making tackles and covering a lot of ground. With Arsenal down to ten men, Matic became more of an attacking presence in the second half.
Cesc Fabregas (8/10)
The midfielder was excellent against his former team. Partnered Matic well, and created a great chance for Pedro in the first half with a long ball forward. Bagged an assist in the second half with a neat free-kick that was headed in by Zouma. Seems like finally Fabregas is returning to his old form.
Oscar coming into the team automatically makes Chelsea more efficient. His tireless pressing and tackling made it difficult for the Arsenal backline to play the ball from the back and build up attacks. Conceded a yellow card for the team, but otherwise a great performance.
Eden Hazard (7/10)
How relieved is he to finally have his name on the scoresheet. Having endured a difficult start to the season, Hazard was looking to improve his form. After a missed penalty in midweek against Maccabi, Hazard looked livelier this time from the first minute, attacking well and tracking back when required. Was lucky with the goal as the ball took a wicked deflection off Chambers, but will be happy with his performance although he still has a long way to go before he can reach his usually high standards.
Almost scored from a Fabregas pass only for an excellent Goalkeeping by Cech. Did most of his good work defensively, tracking back, providing Ivanovic with protection from runs by Sanchez. Was wasteful with his shots, though, firing over the bar on a number of occasions.
Diego Costa (7/10)
Was lucky to get away with a yellow card after his antics with Koscielny. However, posed problems for the Arsenal defense all through the ninety minutes, making runs, and tackling. Was unlucky not to get a penalty too, as Koscielny brought him down in the penalty box in the second half.
Ramires came on to replace Oscar with around 20 minutes to go. Helped Chelsea keep possession, and checked Arsenal’s counter attacks with his speed.
Replaced Costa with 10 minutes to go but struggled to make much contribution
Came on in the dying moments of the match.
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Edited By: Karan Dubey
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