Chelsea beat Premier League new-boys Cardiff City 4-1 at Stamford Bridge yesterday, and after a great result for Jose Mourinho's side, here's a look at the individual ratings of each Blues player:
The Chelsea shot-stopper had a decent game; his areal presence was just enough on crosses, and he made a decent late save on Cardiff substitute Kim. If not for Luiz’s blunder, he would have had another clean sheet on his 300th Premier League start.
Playing in place of Ashley Cole, Bertrand did well. His only real contribution came defensively when he was able to wriggle away from three Cardiff attackers after a risky pass from Cech. Bertrand was always likely to be withdrawn when Chelsea was searching for a winning goal.
Where to start with the enigmatic Brazilian. He was clearly at fault for Cardiff’s goal; inexplicably leaving the ball for Petr Cech, without making sure Cech was on the same page. As Luiz switched off, Jordon Mutch switched on and chipped the ball over a helpless Cech for Cardiff’s only goal. Luiz was also booked five minutes before half for a rash tackle, making his inclusion in the second half risky. Luiz tried to make amends with a couple of long shots, but only succeeded in making his day more miserable, failing to hit the target with either shot, and wasting possession for Chelsea.
Even without considering that Terry had to balance the defence with an incredibly erratic defensive partner, the Chelsea captain had yet another strong performance. He came close to scoring in the first half, seeing his header denied only by the post. The Blues' legend appears to have regained his top form, something that seemed past him this time last year.
The Serbian was solid as always on defence, always in position and making tactful tackles; however, his attacking prowess was poor today. Luckily he is not a primary attacking threat for Chelsea, and his missed shot and poor crosses did not hurt them.
It seemed a rather quite game for the energetic Brazilian, his usual barnstorming runs forward were rare as he played more as shield to the back four. A positive, his typical ill-time challenges were also not seen today. It wasn’t his best game, but his work rate, as always, helped Chelsea to victory.
Chelsea’s all-time leading goal scorer was also fairly quiet against Cardiff. His key contribution came as the game was winding down, as his well-weighted ball to Eden Hazard allowed the Belgian space to score his second goal.
Probably Chelsea’s least effective, Willian was practically a ghost on the pitch. He seems to be a step behind the rest of his teammates, and hopefully over time will sync more with the other attacking players.
It was a quiet day for the two-time Chelsea player of the year. He had the Blues first real chance, and completely missed on a cross; aside from that he had to drop deeper to get the ball, hindering his chances of scoring or giving a decisive pass.
The Brazilian continued his red-hot streak, coming on for Mata at 59 minutes, and finding the back of the net for Chelsea’s third goal, at 78 minutes.
Yes, the Belgian did have two goals, and worked hard, but in fairness, both goals came off errors by Cardiff keeper David Marshall. Someone had to punish the mistakes, and Hazard certainly did. Hopefully this performance will key Hazard to regain top form.
The Cameroonian is still adjusting to the speed of the Premier League, but his guile and experience earned him his first Chelsea goal shortly before being withdrawn for Azpilicueta. Eto’o’s cheeky steal from David Marshall negated David Luiz’s defensive blunder and got Chelsea rolling. It was definitely Eto’o’s best performance in a Chelsea uniform thus far.
Torres came on for roughly half an hour, but was mostly ineffective. He had one shot that could have been better, but his inability to pull the trigger quickly resulted in a block. The Spaniard looked short of match fitness, having missed the last three weeks.
A late defensive sub, Azpilicueta came on and played left-back for the first time in his Chelsea career. He may have only played twenty minutes, but Mourinho entrusting ‘Dave’ to play left back shows that he does have faith in the Spaniard.
* denotes substitute
** denotes man of the match
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