|1. JOHN TERRY - DC||8.5|
It may not even end up as his goal, but John Terry returned to the Chelsea lineup after missing three matches with injury and the Blues promptly kept yet another clean sheet, just like they have in seven of the Captain's last ten starts. Ignoring Chicharito's meaningless consolation goal for United, the last meaningful goal that a JT-led Chelsea defense conceded was against Liverpool and Luis Suarez (well, technically, Martin Skrtel) on the last matchday of calendar year 2013.
While the whole defense deserves credit for restricting the Everton attack to mostly safe midfield possession and just a few forays down the flanks, having the Captain back brought just that extra bit of confidence back to supporters and players alike; 8.5 is his highest-rated appearance of the season and his fifth man of the match award, which puts him level with Oscar (who continues to fade) for second on the team.
The only negative aspect of this Terry renaissance under Mourinho is the slight pall it casts over the future prospects of the Chelsea center defense. At age 33, a replacement for the wily veteran will need to be found soon, and at the moment, nobody else seems quite ready to properly fill that covering, sweeping role. I guess we better give him a contract extension then.
|2. CESAR AZPILICUETA - DL||8.0|
After starting just one of the first twelve matches of the season, Azpilicueta has started all but three of the last twenty-four as he's developed into the best full back (left or right) in the squad.
At times on Saturday, he popped up on the right flank, reminding many of us that his new-found (compared to his first season with Chelsea) defensive skills, which have made him the first-choice left back, have augmented rather than replaced his attacking skills. However, as long as the two best full backs on the team remain nominal right backs, Dave will have to continue playing the left side, allowing Branislav Ivanovic to continue developing his suddenly promising crossing skills and his re-found nose for goals.
|3. PETR CECH - GK||7.6|
It was a very close call for third place, just a few hundredths separating Cech, Gary Cahill, and Nemanja Matic. With the goalkeeper winning that battle, Matic falls out of the top three for this first time in his six Chelsea starts.
On the day, Tim Howard's exploits at the opposite end of the pitch overshadowed the Chelsea goalkeeper, but Cech was his usual very good self, pulling off a fine save on
Cahill (7.6), Ivanovic (7.4), Matic (7.6), Lampard (7.0), Hazard (6.7), Oscar (4.6), Willian (6.1), Eto'o (6.0)
Ramires (7.1), Torres (5.7), Schürrle (6.0)