After a few technical difficulties, the votes have been counted, hanging chads have been sorted, and the results are in from the community player ratings form in the initial reactions post to Manchester United vs. Chelsea. Unsurprisingly for a dour, defensive affair, you voted two defenders and the goalkeeper as your three stars.
|1. JOHN TERRY - DC||7.8|
Aerial Duels Won3
While much of the media was fawning over Wayne Rooney's return to some sort of industrious form - and his chasing down of Ramires was indeed impressive - it was in fact another much maligned player who shone brightest.
John Terry, injured and marginalized last season as his form steadily declined, was back with a vengeance. Less than a week after he neutralized most of Christian Benteke's threat through the middle, Terry put Robin van Persie in his pocket and didn't let him out bar for one sharp angle shot that hit the side netting and one half-chance near the end that was blocked by John Obi Mikel.
Having missed all five match-ups last season, this was the first time Terry faced Van Persie since the striker's switch to United. Fortunately, the outcome was nowhere near the same as in that infamous 5-3 vs. Arsenal - it turns out actually that a Terry-led Chelsea have now shut Van Persie out in two matches in a row.
The Captain's early season form has been one of the brightest aspects of Mourinho's first three matches in charge.
|2. PETR ČECH - GK||7.3|
Two clean sheets and a man of the match performance in the one match where he did end up conceding, Cech has also enjoyed excellent early-season form for the old-new boss.
While the defense restricted United to just a few hopeful shots and a couple half-chances, Cech was as reliable as ever in making the saves when they counted the most. I think it's quite telling that the most spectacular save that he had to make was on a shot that was probably heading wide of the goal. Still, the confidence that Cech inspires in the defense cannot be overstated and, combined with the Mourinho effect, it has made the Chelsea goal much less likely to be breached.
|3. GARY CAHILL - DC||7.1|
Aerial Duels Won5
As he proved at times under Roberto Di Matteo, when the gameplan is compact, defensive, and simple, Cahill can be ok. Getting to work with a consistent back four - with a once again imperious John Terry - has no doubt helped the England international as well.
Cahill will probably lose his starting spot to David Luiz once Sideshow finally returns to full fitness, but it's nice to be able to count on him as a very solid third choice - which is in line with initial expectations from when he signed.
Our two central defenders were a combined 20-for-20 in effective clearances according to Opta on Monday. While the exact definition of this stat is a mystery to me, going perfect in it cannot be a bad thing for the defenders.
Ivanovic (7.0), A.Cole (6.8), Lampard (5.5), Ramires (5.5), De Bruyne (5.5), Oscar (6.7), Hazard (5.4), Schürrle (6.1)
Torres (5.5), Mikel (5.9), Azpilicueta (5.7)