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Man of the Match Mohamed Salah makes instant impact in his first ever Chelsea start

Julian Finney

1. MOHAMED SALAH - AMR 8.8
Minutes played90
Touches74
Passes38*/43
Shots2*/2
Take-ons2/6
Fouls suffered7
Tackles3/4
A breath of fresh air, young Mo Salah spent most of Saturday dazzling us and Stoke City left back Erik Pieters with his combination of direct purpose and dazzling speed.  Seven fouls suffered - though no yellow cards given because Lee Probert only believes in positive reinforcement - that's positively Hazardian territory.

All of a sudden his unexpected purchase in January by Emenalo's crack team of international secret agents makes so much more sense!  And if Jose's to be believed, this is only the start - we shouldn't even expect any major contributions from Salah until next season when he's truly settled!

If a goal, an assist, and a penalty won (that's a foot in each of Chelsea's goals, if you're counting) is just the beginning, I can hardly wait for the sequel!

2. WILLIAN - AMC 8.7
Minutes played77
Touches70
Passes41/53
Shots2*/2
Tackles4/4
Much like his club and international teammate Oscar, Willian has been a bit inconsistent as of late, never quite managing to replicate his wonderful display in the 1-0 win over Manchester City at the Etihad.  With his highest rated performance ever for Chelsea - capped off by a bit of Ronaldinho-esque goal magic - I think it's safe to say that on Saturday he not only matched it but exceeded it.

The oldest* of our attacking midfielders, Willian was given Oscar's spot on the night and promptly put himself on the map as an excellent option for the oft-debated no.10 role.  Both Oscar and Willian are non-traditional no.10s - think Riquelme or Mata - but despite the take-no-prisoners approach of Charlie Adam & Co, Willian got to showcase all this talents.

* Just a reminder that our oldest AM is 25.  The next oldest is 23.  The future is bright.

There was a stretch not too long ago, when the Hazard-Oscar-Willian trident seemed invincible and inseparable.  But form is temporary, as many are fond of saying, so it's nice to know that we can actually win games with our second-choice players (or first-choice players in secondary positions) as well... unlike, say, when we had to field Marko Marin and Yossi Benayoun.

3. NEMANJA MATIĆ - MC 8.5
Minutes played90
Touches88
Passes60*/65
Clearances8/8
Tackles5/6
Player ratings were starting to get a bit strange without the big Serbian's presence in the top three.  Clearly, Nemanja wasn't too pleased with this development either, so he took it upon himself to create Chelsea's first goal, all the while doing all the BEASTMODE things in midfield that we've come to know and love since his return to the club in January.

We have yet to concede a goal at Stamford Bridge with Matic playing - that's 483 minutes, to be exact.  Sadly, he will not be available for Tuesday's big match.

OTHERS:
Cech (7.2), Azpilicueta (7.9), Terry (7.4), Cahill (7.5), Ivanovic (7.5), Lampard (7.4), Schürrle (7.1), Torres (5.8)

SUBS:
David Luiz (6.6), Hazard (7.4), A.Cole (6.9)

OVERALL:
201314-04-06_-_ratings_medium

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