|1. EDEN HAZARD - AM||9.2|
After the game against West Ham, I had expressed hope that Hazard would find more space in which to operate against Manchester City. Much to our benefit and delight, Pellegrini's disjointed gameplan allowed for exactly that, if not more.
In what basically amounted to a free role across the Chelsea attacking band, Hazard made fools of just about anybody who dared oppose him directly. Zabaleta, Kolarov, Demichelis, Nastasic - it mattered not; Hazard was on his game and when he's on his game, he's nigh unstoppable. Unless of course he's let down by poor finishing (Eto'o, Ramires), though it was from the latter's blocked shot that Branislav Ivanovic spanked home the game's only goal.
This is now Hazard's eighth man of the match award in his last 15 starts. The 9.2 rating is his second highest for the season, the third of at least 9.0 and the tenth of 8.0 or greater. And he still has room to improve!
|2. NEMANJA MATIC - MC||9.1|
In his first ever Premier League start, Matic turned in "only" the fifth highest-rated performance of the season; his 9.1 is a highest non-match-winning rating this season.
If you haven't yet seen it, you owe it to yourself to check out his player focus video from Monday. And if you have seen it, you probably owe it to yourself to watch it again. It is that good. From launching counter-attacks, to chasing down and at one point even overpowering Yaya Touré, to unleashing a thunderbolt against the angle of the bar, to going for a hop, skip, and a jump down the left flank and successfully taking-on his defender, it was as complete a performance as we could've wished for from the midfielder.
Two starts, two impressive performances. How did we ever get by so long without someone like him?
|3. GARY CAHILL - DC||9.0|
So here we are again with the quiet man just going about his daily business, winning headers, blocking shots, making clearances, and slowly breaking down barriers as he works his way into my cold, steely heart.
I've often accused Cahill of getting a good rating purely by association, whether that came via his partnership with Terry (i.e. most of this season), or back in his days as David Luiz's or Branislav Ivanovic's sidekick. But this match, this was all him. Nothing fancy, nothing outrageous (except the one time he lost Negredo early on) - just 90 minutes of solid gold.
He's rejecting my reality and substituting his own, and right now, I wouldn't have it any other way.
Cech (8.2), Azpilicueta (8.2), Terry (8.3), Ivanovic (8.9), David Luiz (8.1), Ramires (7.3), Willian (8.0), Eto'o (7.2)
Oscar (6.7), Mikel (6.5), Ba (6.5)