|1. GARY CAHILL - DC||8.5|
Well, it's finally happened. Gary Cahill has finally won the vote. EVEN Cahill can now claim to be a Man of the Match. After standing on the second and third steps of the proverbial WAGNH podium a combined twelve times, England's Brave Gary Cahill - thirteenth time lucky - can finally ascend to the top. And while I would've expected Terry to finish ahead of Cahill in the voting, I guess I'm not going to begrudge our serial European final-winning center back this win either.
While he initially struggled with Diego Costa - I remember noting that he was coming off second best in most physical duels with the combative center forward - Cahill eventually buckled down and came away victorious in this battle of attrition. Atlético's center forward got one clean look at goal all game, and that came mostly from Azpilicueta's failure to push out in time with the rest of the defensive line.
Gary Cahill becomes the 17th different player to be voted your Man of the Match this season. This was his 25th straight start, which is rather impressive.
|2. JOHN TERRY - DC||8.4|
The most telling measure of Terry's impact on the match was just how much more threatening Atlético became after the Captain was forced off with injury.
Suddenly, there were gaps in the middle of the line where no gap had existed for the hour and change before. The airspace above our penalty area was no longer a zone of destruction for flighted balls.
It's never easy to reorganize a defense in the middle of the match - David Luiz coped as well as we could've expected - but Terry's absence left an exploitable gap that will have to be closed in the upcoming matches if we are to have any hope of reaching the Champions League final and sticking around until the Premier League's final resolution.
|3. MARK SCHWARZER - GK||8.1|
When it became obvious that Petr Cech was not going to be able to continue on, a little fearful shiver ran through the collective Chelsea fandom. Mark Schwarzer, three days removed from the error that gifted the equalizer to Sunderland was about to make his second ever Champions League appearance, becoming the oldest player ever to play in the Champions League knockout rounds in the process.
Fortunately, our fears were unfounded. Though he did not have that much do to - still more than the other two Chelsea goalkeepers involved - the things he did have to do, he did well enough. Two shaky moments stand out, a slip on a goal kick and a weak punch that gifted an opportunity to Diego (Ribas), but otherwise Schwarzer made a good account of himself. It's a good thing, too, because he's our only hope with Cech sidelined for the next few months.
Cech (6.4), A.Cole (7.7), Azpilicueta (8.1), Lampard (6.8), Mikel (7.8), David Luiz (7.7), Willian (7.3), Torres (6.9), Ramires (6.5)
Schwarzer (8.1), Schürrle (6.5), Ba (6.1)