|1. CÉSAR AZPILICUETA - DL||7.2|
Blocks + INTs3
Y'all gonna have to explain this one to me, because my overriding memory of Cesar Azpilicueta from this game is James Milner getting the better of him repeatedly down the City right.
To be fair to Dave, Milner did some incredibly un-Milner-esque things (and lots of Milner-esque ones, too, like partially blocking Diego Costa's shot) in this one (at least to this casual observer of the City utility man), and the match overall was clearly played for a huge joke up in stratosphere of the football gods (we should have Lampard score; that'd be high-lair-ee-ous), and that's an absolutely terrible sentence, so I don't even know anymore.
Graham has assured me that Dave was "good" though. So let's roll with that.
|2. EDEN HAZARD - AML||7.2|
The merits of our performance (or lack thereof) could be discussed endlessly, but one clear failure on our part was not getting the ball to Hazard more. I'm sure it was part of the gameplan to get him involved (when is it not?) but the execution was lacking.
That was mostly thanks to frequently woeful passing from our main outlet/transition man Willian, plenty of well-executed tactical fouling from Manchester City -- Willian & Hazard were on the receiving end of just one less foul (11) than the entire City team combined (12) -- but also due to some diligent tracking back from Hazard himself, which resulted in him being a lot deeper than is normal.
In fact, the Chelsea goal was started by Hazard well inside Chelsea territory and eventually laid on a plate for Schürrle to score by Hazard again with a glorious pass (cross?) that evaded about four defenders from the right flank. It was a move of utmost quality and had Diego Costa's already mentioned shot not hit the post (thus giving us the security of the two-goal lead against 10 men), it would probably be up there with one of the nicer counter-attacking goals we've scored in recent memory.
|3. NEMANJA MATIĆ - MC||7.1|
It's been an unexpectedly slow start to the campaign for last season's Player of the Year and I can't say I was completely engrossed by his performance on Sunday either. With the more defensive gameplan in effect, he was asked to do less than most games so far this season, so there was some improvement. Still, it certainly was a far cry from last season's efforts.
His stats may look pretty decent (for whatever that's worth), but the one key moment I keep flashing back to is Matić getting bullied and turned by Yaya Touré (who's had an even slower start to the season for City) at one point in the second half. Matić also picked up the dumbest booking of the season so far by kicking the ball away in a physical encounter overseen by a card-happy referee.
Courtois (6.9), Terry (6.9), Cahill (6.9), Ivanović (6.6), Ramires (6.4), Fàbregas (6.3), Willian (6.0), Costa (6.8)
Mikel (6.0), Schürrle (6.8), Drogba (4.7)