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Chelsea vs. Aston Villa, Player Ratings: Willian wins third Man of the Match in a row

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1. WILLIAN - AMR/AML 8.1
Minutes played89
Touches55
Passes32*/36
Shots1/1
Take-ons3/6
Fouls drawn4
Tackles3
Blocks+INTs2
The win on Saturday may have felt like a turning of the tide, but as far as the ratings are concerned, it's the same old, same old.

Willian has now won back-to-back-to-back Man of the Match awards, though this time he did it without scoring a goal.  He had a four-game free kick-scoring streak going, and he had scored the previous three Chelsea goals before gifting Diego Costa a tap-in to open the scoring against Aston Villa.  Inconceivably, he did not have a direct role in our second goal, though he was the runner for whom Costa was aiming before Alan Hutton's ankle intervened.

Other than the two matches missed due to a minor hamstring injury, Willian has played in every single match so far this season, starting all but two.

2. DIEGO COSTA - FC 7.9
Minutes played90
Touches46
Passes19*/30
Shots2*/2
Take-ons3/3
Jimmies rustled2
Tackles2
Much like Willian, Costa has been a constant fixture in recent top threes, except of course during his suspension.

Those three matches, plus the Community Shield and the match against Maccabi are the only matches that Costa did not start this season.    We might have some confidence in Remy and perhaps even some in Falcao, but Costa is essential to the team, even when he's not scoring goals.

That said, hopefully Saturday's goal and sort-of goal are the start of a nice little purple patch for last season's leading goalscorer.

3. CÉSAR AZPILICUETA - DR 7.4
Minutes played90
Touches61
Passes36/57
Clearances1/4
Tackles7
Blocks+INTs3
Azpilicueta completes the very familiar-looking top three.

Although I was not too impressed with his performance — a switch to the right flank took him so far out of his comfort zone, he often (especially in the first half) looked very suspiciously like a smaller Branislav Ivanovic — I can't stay mad at Dave.

Go on, Dave!

STARTERS:
Begović (7.0), Baba (5.8), Terry (6.8), Zouma (6.8), Azpilicueta (7.4), Fàbregas (6.6), Ramires (7.1), Willian (8.1), Loftus-Cheek (6.8), Pedro (5.9), Costa (7.9)

SUBS:
Matic (6.5), Hazard (5.8), Rémy (5.7)

OVERALL:

2015-16 player ratings - villa H