1. N’GOLO KANTÉ (8.7)
It’s hard to imagine most adorable N’Golo Kanté as nightmare fodder, but he’s been surely haunting the dreams of Luka Modrić and Toni Kroos since Tuesday night, rousing them in a cold sweat from their sleep at the prospect of having to do it all over again on Wednesday. (Or perhaps they’re relishing the prospect, given that they’re also ultimate professionals, but I prefer the first narrative.)
Kanté’s presence and performances defined the Chelsea midfield during all of our most recent successes. And while we’ve managed to become not quite as dependent on him (both by choice and by force), he’s bringing back his very best in Europe this season, and if he keeps it up, we have every chance of actually winning the Champions League.
2. CHRISTIAN PULISIC (8.4)
“Playoff Pulisic” is here and just as during Project Restart last summer, has a chance to shape the ultimate balance of our season at the tail end of things, when it often matters the most. And this time he’s doing it on the biggest stage, with the whole world watching!
3. ANTONIO RÜDIGER (7.8)
Is it fair to say this has been Rüdiger’s best season as a Chelsea player yet? It just might be. That’s certainly one way to respond to being deemed surplus to requirements at the start of the season!
vs. REAL MADRID (CL, A, D 1-1)
EXCEPTIONAL (9.0+): —
EXCELLENT (8.0-8.9): Kanté (8.7), Pulisic (8.4)
GOOD (7.0-7.9): Rüdiger (7.8), Mount (7.4), Silva (7.4), Christensen (7.0), Jorginho (7.0)
AVERAGE (6.0-6.9): Azpilicueta (6.6), Mendy (6.6), Chilwell (6.6), Ziyech (6.5, sub), James (6.3, sub), Havertz (6.3, sub)
POOR (5.0-5.9): Werner (5.6)
BAD (4.0-4.9): —
TERRIBLE (3.0-3.9): —