Chelsea's center backs outshine Juan Mata in your community player ratings

Mike Hewitt

1. JOHN TERRY - DC 8.3
Minutes played90
Touches52
Passes25/35
Shots1*/1
Clearances9/9
Fouls suffered3
Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino called Terry's goal the turning point of the match.  At least he would've, had he not been busy bemoaning referee Michael Oliver's performance who finally decided to dish out a few yellows to the club who leads the Premier League in fouls.  Coincidence?  I think not.

I guess it's left to me to call Terry's goal - his 34th in the Premier League, most all time for a center back - the turning point of the match.  Mourinho's tactical shift may have started it, but it was the game-changing goal from the Captain that put Chelsea in the driver's seat.  The Saints were lucky to escape the rest of the match with just one more goal conceded.

Happy 400th Premier League appearance, Captain, Leader, Man of the Match!

2. GARY CAHILL - DC 7.9
Minutes played90
Touches41
Passes20/25
Shots1*/2
Clearances4/5
Tackles5/6
Gary Cahill has been Chelsea's third-choice center back, ostensibly, ever since he arrived two years ago.  Yet, due to injuries or inconsistencies by Terry and David Luiz, he's played the most minutes of any center half on the roster.

That's not necessarily a good thing, as to me Cahill is still someone who does the spectacular, noticeable things well (last-ditch tackles, long-range shots, set piece goals) and the unspectacular, less-noticeable things not quite well (positioning, technique).  He's a very safe defender, which tends to manifest itself in passive defending, backing down, and dropping deep earlier than most.

That being said, it's a great thing to have Gary Cahill as our third-choice center back.  He's no Maldini or Desailly, but two weeks shy of his 28th birthday - basically in his prime - he's quite possibly the best Brazil-bound English center half.

3. JUAN MATA - AMR / MCR 7.9
Minutes played90
Touches79
Passes41*/53
Shots0/1
Crosses5/12
Take-ons2/3
Tackles2/7
Fouls suffered3
I spent a dozen or so minutes trying to exactly define the position Mata played in this one. (to be fair, I was distracted by another short-for-his-size player who masterclassed the Saints).

He definitely started on the right wing, playing that inverted winger for which Mourinho has had him pegged since the summer.  But after Oscar's injury and the introduction of Demba Ba alongside Torres at the top, Mata played deeper and more centrally - yet also wider and more defensively as well - as the rightmost midfielder in the 4-4-2-ish throwback formation.

Whatever it was, he was excellent.  Last name Mata, first name Juan!

OTHERS:
Cech (6.9), Azpilicueta (7.6), Ivanovic (7.6), Essien (4.0), Ramires (7.8), Oscar (5.8), Hazard (7.1), Torres (7.6)

SUBS:
Lampard (6.8), Ba (7.7), Mikel (6.3)

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