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Sunderland 0-1 Chelsea, Player Ratings: The cleanest of sheets

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1. THIBAUT COURTOIS 9.4
Minutes played90
Touches25
Distribution12/20
Saves3
With Diego Costa under 8.0 for the first time in ten starts, we needed a new hero to step up and preserve the winning streak.

Enter Thibaut Courtois.  Two tremendous saves in the second half preserved Chelsea's slim advantage.

Courtois hasn't always had much to do this season and especially during this winning streak (this is in fact just his second appearance in the top three) but he's been excellent when he's needed to be and his play with his feet has been steadily improving as well.

2. CESC FÀBREGAS 8.6
Minutes played90
Touches137
Passes102/126
Shots1*/3
Tackles2
Block+INT+RECs8
In limited appearances, Fàbregas is having a fairly decent season.  Excellent, in fact, save for the disastrous start against Arsenal.

As he reflected after Wednesday's win, this was just his second start in the 3-4-3 system, and he's acquitted himself quite successfully.  He's obviously not the same player as Nemanja Matić, but it sounds like we'll be looking to utilize that difference in a smart way going forward, with Matić getting minutes when we need his strength and Cesc getting minutes when we need his incisive passing and suddenly keen eye for goal.

3. N'GOLO KANTÉ 8.1
Minutes played90
Touches93
Passes72/78
Shots1/1
Tackles6
Block+INT+RECs8
Tiny little N'Golo rises high in the player ratings once again, almost as high as he rose to beat the six-foot trees in Sunderland's midfield to head the ball on to Pedro and start the move for Chelsea's only goal of the day.

With the 8.1, Kanté solidifies his claim on second spot overall in the ratings so far this season, with him, Hazard, and Moses all vying for the silver medal behind runaway leader Diego Costa.

STARTERS:
Courtois (9.4), Cahill (7.4), David Luiz (6.9), Azpilicueta (7.9), Alonso (7.2), Fàbregas (8.6), Kanté (8.1), Moses (7.1), Willian (7.2), Costa (7.5), Pedro (6.7)

SUBS:
Matić (6.6), Chalobah (6.4), Ivanović (6.1)

OVERALL:

2016-17 player ratings sunderland a