The results are in from the community player ratings form in the initial reactions post to Chelsea vs. Aston Villa and it's a brand new set of three stars to appreciate when compared to the first match:
|1. PETR ČECH - GK||8.4|
Every once in a while, Cech likes to remind us that he is still just as excellent as he's ever been. No, he wasn't particularly busy and no, he didn't save any penalty kicks in this one, but he did produce two crucial stops on Andi Weimann and was only beaten by a rather tremendous strike from Christian Benteke that shimmied around the view-obstructing John Terry and pinged in off the near post.
"I'm happy with my contribution; I made two important saves, at 1-1, and 2-1 to preserve the lead, so I'm happy with that," said Cech after the match. Opta's StatsZone even has him credited with a "chance created," when his long free kick set up a Demba Ba shot towards the end of the first half.
Looks like we're all equally happy with his contributions as well.
|2. RAMIRES - MC||7.8|
A memorable 90 minutes from the Brazilian that seems to be dividing opinion a bit despite the high average rating, but the bottom line is that if you would've told me at any point before yesterday that Ramires would have over 100 pass attempts in a Chelsea match or that he would be playing the double pivot with some actual measure of composure and positioning, I probably would've thought you crazy. Crazy like Mourinho, apparently, for the Portuguese mad-genius has been hard at work in transforming Ramires into some sort of Nu-Makélélé. Or something.
In true anchor man style, his passing didn't set anybody's imagination on fire (50 passes combined to Lampard, Terry, and Cahill) and his distribution doesn't even approach Mikel levels, but it's still a fascinating development overall. Add in the usual Ramires endless engine things of mad closing down (now with added thought!), tackling, and wayward long-range shooting and you got yourself his third highest rated performance in a Chelsea shirt since we started keeping records (i.e. last season).
Oh, and he even played a sort of lone holding midfielder thing (as in a 4-3-3) for the roughly 10 minutes between Ivanovic's goal and Marco van Ginkel's introduction.
|3. BRANISLAV IVANOVIC - DR||7.6|
Ivanovic may have been the most man of the match of any man in the match, in that most literal sense of being involved in the vast majority of major match incidents.
He was there to misplay Gabby Agbonlahor's run and assist for Villa's equalizer, he and his elbow were there to massage and caress Christian Benteke's throat, and of course he was there to power home the header for the winning goal.
Branislav literally did it all; just check out that defensive clearances statistic!
Cahill (6.5), Terry (6.4), A.Cole (6.6), Lampard (6.3), Hazard (7.3), Mata (5.7), Oscar (7.1), Ba (5.0)
Schürrle (6.8), Lukaku (7.1), Van Ginkel (6.1)