Led by man of the match Eden Hazard, MaZaCar is the gift that keeps on giving

ALL THE LOVE - Warren Little

For the first time since last year's 4-1 win over Norwich City, Chelsea's three highest rated starters were the vaunted trio of Mata, Hazard, and Oscar.

1. EDEN HAZARD - AML 8.4
Minutes played82
Touches77
Passes34/49
Shots2*/3
Take-ons5/10
Clearances 0/2
Hazard earned the most praise from the manager and he's earned your highest ratings as well. It would be hard to argue against those being deserved.

While other players' ratings may have been closer to him had he not been the only one to ripple the back of the net - I'd imagine we'd be raving a bit more about Eto'o's link-up play or the powerhouse of a performance put in by Mikel (outside of initial problems with Lord Voldemort) had they taken their chances, too - the extra bit of directness on display from Chelsea's leading goalscorer AND assist-maker on the season was a welcome change from the last few matches.

Just before Mourinho took him off to try to rest him as much as possible for Liverpool, Hazard made one of the best defensive contributions by any attacker outside of Oscar. However, in all their wisdom, Opta has decided to call that a "failed clearance." Is that insane or is that insane? How about a blocked cross (or a blocked pass) statistic? Or a "sprint 20-yards to prevent the overlapping fullback from creating a clear goalscoring opportunity" statistic? We're slowly getting better in describing attacking football through numbers, but we're still criminally behind in quantifying defensive contributions.

2. OSCAR - AMC 7.4
Minutes played67
Touches63
Passes31/40
Shots0/1
Tackles5/5
Aerial duels2/4
Boy, those small, weak Brazilian flair players will never make it in the Premier League, right?

It's somewhat interesting that we have two of the least-stereotypical Brazilians (as if that is still a thing after the evolution of the last quarter century) amongst our ranks: Ramires, the inexhaustible, all-action midfielder, and Oscar, the inexhaustible, all-action attacking midfielder. And with a bit more work, we could easily add Willian to this list, too.

In any case, while Oscar was the least flashy of the Three Amigos on the attacking end, he galvanized the side with his crunching, head-turning tackles on the other end. The five successful tackles have solidified Oscar's second place behind Pajtim Kasami on the Premier League leading tacklers list (looking at just nominally attacking players of course).

3. JUAN MATA - AMR 7.3
Minutes played72
Touches44
Passes22/24
Shots0/1
Crosses 5/12
Surprisingly, Juan Mata didn't see as much of the ball as we would usually expect.

Unsurprisingly, when he was on the ball, good things tended to happen. (It certainly helped that his pass completion percentage stood well above our other attackers.)

Twice Mata gave the perfect pass to our center forward, twice Eto'o wasted the glorious chance. Gerhard Tremmel made the saves, yes, but you or I could've scored at least one of those, let alone someone of Eto'o's reputation and previous record. And then there was that one-two with Hazard that made us all weak in the knees - including Eden himself, unfortunately, whose weak effort drifted straight into the goalkeeper's hands. Oh well.

OTHERS:
Cech (6.9), Ivanovic (6.8), David Luiz (7.1), Terry (7.1), A.Cole (6.7), Mikel (6.7), Ramires (6.4), Eto'o (4.3)

SUBS:
Lampard (6.3), Schürrle (5.9), Willian (6.1)

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