John Terry, man of the match?

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Before we get to the ratings, we need to have words.

Player ratings are an inherently silly exercise.  Trying to distill a player's performance down into one all-encompassing number, a number that's then truly reflective of an objective assessment of the player's performance over the course of the match should sound basically impossible.  Because it should be basically impossible.  It's the football equivalent of unified field theory, the one ring to rule them all, the Captain Planet of football metrics.  Putting too much stock into them as something substantially real or significant would be a mistake.

That being said, they're not entirely useless.  As a relative metric (compared historically or within the particular data set), I find they reflect community sentiment - biases and all - towards individual players quite well.  They put frequent and less frequent commenters on equal ground and thus may even portray a more accurate picture than just the comments themselves.  Some mull over their choices for minutes on end, some vote on first instinct.  Some give 10's for first team debuts and for appearances that amount to little more than testimonials.  Some vote in anger after a loss (ALL 1's) or unbridled joy after a win (ALL 10's).  Some vote on a binary scale, some rarely go higher than 8 or lower than 5.

Above all, for the majority I think, they're just fun.  They provide a platform for discussion.  They may even spark useful debate beyond just the usual "I think 'x' was better", "I think 'y' was better, you numbskull", etc. platitudes.  It's fun to appreciate or re-appreciate excellent performances.  Or at least it should be.  But when people vote like this (and this is only a snippet), it suddenly becomes not quite fun.

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I say "people" but for all I know it was just one person submitting the same basic vote every 30 seconds or so.  John Terry's biggest fan, clearly.  Not one for the curly-haired one though, it seems.  But I have to ask what is the point.  What did you hope to accomplish?  Is this some sort of cathartic experience for you?  Does it bring pride and joy to you and your family that you've successfully stuffed the ballot box at the Matchday 10 community player ratings vote on a random Internet website?

Perhaps this isn't your first time either, it's just the first time of me noticing it.  I don't usually trawl through the votes but this one caught my eye during a quick scroll-through.  We haven't placed any restrictions on the voting forms, nobody's preventing anybody from voting twice, or twenty times.  But I figured we were mature enough to easily do all this within the confines of the honor system.  I'm disappointed and a bit sad to have been proven wrong.

1. JOHN TERRY - DC 7.0
Minutes played90
Touches95
Passes67/72
Long balls7/7
Shots1/2
Tackles5/5
Blocks2
Clearances11/11
Nice things2
Facepalms1
Terry may be having himself a Special Renaissance but was he really a full point better (whatever "better" means) than Cech?  And let's not even mention Hazard or Willian.

Was he the better ("better") half of the center defender pairing?  Probably.  Was his performance head and shoulders above David Luiz and everybody else?  Not a chance.  He will always play it safe, provide a set pieces threat, and at times will show off some excellent skill in spotting long passes and even joining attacks.  But it's not like he wasn't on the pitch when Newcastle fooled everybody with a set piece cross and run and then destroyed with counters late on.

Almost a fifth of all responses gave Terry a perfect 10.  At least half of these same responses rated David Luiz an abysmal 1.  Give me break.

That is not to say that Terry had a bad game.

2. PETR CECH - GK 6.0
Minutes played90
Touches41
Distribution20/26
Nice things0
Facepalms0
With Cech, you almost always get at least a baseline level of excellent, which is exactly what we got here with his six saves.

Unfortunately, Newcastle managed eight shots on goal and twice Cech was exposed for not being superhuman.  Gouffran and Remy, French kryptonite.

Distribution was better than usual, mostly thanks to not insisting on always kicking it long.

3. WILLIAN - AM 5.8
Minutes played29
Touches34
Passes24/27
Shots1/1
Tackles1/2
Interceptions1
Nice things1
Facepalms0
None of the Chelsea front men had a particularly good or successful day out there.  Just to illustrate, Willian's excellent chance late on was Chelsea's only shot on target from open play.

Although Eden Hazard did dominate proceedings in spurts and starts, it was probably Willian who was the least worst of anybody.  The final ball and proper finishing was lacking just the same though.

OTHERS:
Ivanovic (5.3), David Luiz (4.4), A.Cole (4.7), Ramires (4.8), Lampard (3.8), Mata (5.2), Oscar (4.3), Hazard (5.3), Torres (4.0)

SUBS:
Eto'o (5.1), Schürrle (5.0)

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You may notice that there are no ‘facepalms' for any of the goals conceded. While there may be a few deserved ones to hand out on both, it's tough to pin specific blame. Gouffran lost three Chelsea players (Lampard, Terry, Ramires) with his curling run, while Chelsea were throwing everybody forward when second goal came.

NICE THINGS:

  • Hazard (8)
    1. 3' - two scintillating runs inside of 30 seconds, including a sweet inside out turn on the far touchline to beat two defenders
    2. 21' - making Newcastle work; wins another free kick in a potentially dangerous shooting/crossing position
    3. 23' - combines with Mata on back-to-back 1-2s to fashion a chance in the Newcastle penalty area; Mata fouled by Debuchy, but not called
    4. 28' - combines with Mata well once again, this time down the right wing
    5. 29' - crosses over with a quick step and a drop of the shoulder, makes Yanga-Mbiwa look like a fool from third division Sunday league
    6. 50' - Great pressure along with Oscar to win the ball and start a Chelsea counter
    7. 52' - orchestrates another attack, but Oscar sleeps on the return ball and the threat ends
    8. 84' - lovely flick for the bursting Ramires
  • David Luiz (4)
    1. 17' - excellent pass on the floor to Torres running the right channel. About the fourth accurate long ball from Sideshow.
    2. 36' - starts yet another attack with a superb 50-yard pass
    3. 85' - with a world class clearing header when the Newcastle attacker was odds-on to score
    4. 90+5' - you know, David Luiz is pretty good at crossing from deep towards the penalty spot
  • Oscar (3)
    1. 15' - excellent pressure forces turnover
    2. 50' - great pressure along with Hazard to win the ball and start a Chelsea counter
    3. 80' - two great crosses into the box in the span of two minutes (Willian & Eto'o, then Schürrle contrive to miss)
  • Mata (3)
    1. 23' - combines with Hazard on back-to-back 1-2s to fashion a chance in the Newcastle penalty area; Mata fouled by Debuchy, but not called
    2. 28' - combines with Hazard well once again, this time down the right wing; great through ball to finish the 1-2
    3. 43' - makes a perfect center forward's run, gets on the end of Oscar's cross but is adjudged for a push on Williamson who's twice his size. Incredibly harsh (again!) from the referee towards Mata.
  • Lampard (2)
    1. 25' - intercepts well in midfield, runs the counter himself before spotting Hazard free on the left wing
    2. 49' - perfect distribution, first right then left
  • Terry (2)
    1. 37' - continues to threaten off corners: after hitting the bar early, he forces a clearance off the line here
    2. 58' - despite having to engage in Olympic wrestling with Ameobi, makes the impressive clearance (also wins the foul)
  • Ramires (2)
    1. 38' - Not for the first time, Ramires covers well as defenders push forward on attacks or corners
    2. 54' - a great first touch deep in his own half and immediate switch of the play to start a Chelsea attack; had to be perfect, was perfect
  • Onesies
    • A.Cole, 63' - picks out Oscar on the right wing with a perfectly lofted ball
    • Eto'o, 73' - great first touch, turn, and a decent shot. Unlucky to hit arm of fallen defender on the ground.
    • Willian, 74' - a burst of pace to get to the byline, only to get shoved into the hoardings unceremoniously by Gouffran; not called.
    • Ivanovic, 75' - good, high pressure, wins the ball back

FACEPALMS

  • Torres (3)
    1. 40' - It's just not happening for Torres, like at all.
    2. 46' - Petulant Torres makes an appearance, just a few seconds after he steps on the ball to stop the Chelsea break
    3. 58' - hasn't quite figured out how to stay onside today
  • Mata (2)
    1. 9' - tries to win the ball in midfield, but not quite strong enough in the challenge
    2. 38' - offside, again; not even close to breaking the offside trap.
  • Ivanovic (2)
    1. 16' - pumps a cross into the back of the defender standing two feet in front of him, then shanks the resulting rebound that came back to him rather comically
    2. 19' - loses out to Gouffran both on strength & skill
  • Lampard (2)
    1. 21' - wastes a good free kick with a horrendously overhit cross
    2. 25' - intercepts well in midfield, runs the counter himself before spotting Hazard free on the left wing whom he then fails to pick out with what should've been an easy pass
  • David Luiz (2)
    1. 22' - DL & Terry get in each other's way, watch the ball indecisively before Sideshow clears
    2. 59' - sometimes you just have to take the obvious option and clear the ball, David.
  • Ramires (2)
    1. 61' - contrives to do anything but mark Newcastle's #14
    2. 77' - gets a stupid yellow for dissent.
  • Hazard (2)
    1. 67' - a step too slow ever since his knock. Why stay on?
    2. 86' - misses the far post, left-footed shot. Isn't his left the accurate foot? Has to do better there.
  • Onesies
    • Terry, 22' - Terry & DL get in each other's way, watch the ball indecisively before Sideshow clears
    • A. Cole, 60' - beaten badly by the pass then gives up on the play as if not even being aware of Sissoko bearing down on goal behind him
    • Eto'o, 90+2' - another shot blocked. His third now?
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