1. N’GOLO KANTÉ (6.8)
If there is a silver lining from yet another FA Cup final defeat — our third in the last five years — it’s that N’Golo Kanté looked none worse for the wear after his “pan management” day off midweek, and he’s continued his excellent personal form with his third Man of the Match award in his last four starts.
NG’s finishing the season very well, and that should gives us at least a fighting chance in the three finals remaining, two in the Premier League and of course the Champions League final on May 29.
Kanté came here to win the Champions League, so hopefully we can make that happen indeed.
2. BEN CHILWELL (6.5, sub)
Ironically, Chelsea’s best performers on the night were the two ex-Leicester boys, with Ben Chilwell coming off the bench to inject some energy on the left flank and come close twice to equalizing for Chelsea — once denied by former teammate Kasper Schmeichel, who had a magnificent day in the Leicester goal, and once denied by VAR’s lines of doom.
Chilwell’s also been in strong form before the hiccup against Arsenal midweek, and he will certainly be needed in the remaining three games.
3. REECE JAMES (6.4)
James was deployed in the right-center back position specifically to deal with the threat of Jamie Vardy, and he did that job very well indeed, earning his coach’s praise afterwards.
The only trouble with this is that if he plays in the back-three, we don’t really have a good wing-back option — Azpi or Hudson-Odoi can do the job, but they have their obvious shortcomings. Perhaps something to address in the summer? Either way, James is here to stay and he’s only just getting started — at full back, wing-back, or, now, center back (or defensive midfield, as he had on occasion for Wigan a couple years ago).
vs. ARSENAL (PL, H, L 0-1)
EXCEPTIONAL (9.0+): —
EXCELLENT (8.0-8.9): —
GOOD (7.0-7.9): —
AVERAGE (6.0-6.9): Kanté (6.8), Chilwell (6.5, sub), James (6.4), Silva (6.3), Mount (6.2), Pulisic (6.1, sub)
POOR (5.0-5.9): Rudiger (5.9), Hudson-Odoi (5.8, sub), Arrizabalaga (5.5), Havertz (5.3, sub), Azpilicueta (5.3), Giroud (5.0, sub)
BAD (4.0-4.9): Alonso (4.9), Jorginho (4.8), Werner (4.2), Ziyech (4.2)
TERRIBLE (3.0-3.9): —