1. ROMELU LUKAKU
Four games, four goals, two Man of the Match awards. Not sure he’s had too many more than four clear chances. That’s what world class strikers are supposed to do, and that’s what Lukaku’s doing. We haven’t seen a start this good since Diego Costa in 2014.
There’s perhaps already a bit of a danger of becoming too reliant on him, but as Thomas Tuchel reminded us after the game, we did manage to win a few in the pre-Romelu times, too...
“I don’t want to be the mood-breaker but we did win also without Romelu and produced results. [...] If we miss him for one game, or hopefully not more games, we will try to find different solutions to create chances”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Football.London
2. ANTONIO RÜDIGER
In American sports, where contracts and such are much more public, there’s the idea of the “contract year”, when players step up their performances during or ahead of negotiations. Whether that’s actually true or not, Rüdiger’s probably playing the best football of his career (certainly of his Chelsea career), and surely making everyone at Chelsea think twice about the situation. I’m not sure what the correct answer is, but there may be a very strong bidding war shortly for Toni’s services.
3. CÉSAR AZPILICUETA
Azpi’s also in the final year of his contract, in what is now his tenth (10th!) season at Chelsea. He’s admittedly not too worried about his own contract situation, but he’s also playing some of the best football we’ve seen from him in some time. At 32, he’s surely got a few more years left in those tucked-in shirts of his.
vs. ZENIT ST PETERSBURG (CL, H, W 1-0)
EXCEPTIONAL (9.0+): —
EXCELLENT (8.0-8.9): Lukaku (8.2), Rüdiger (8.0)
GOOD (7.0-7.9): Azpilicueta (7.7), Kovačić (7.6), Christensen (7.5), Mendy (7.3), Jorginho (7.0)
AVERAGE (6.0-6.9): Alonso (6.6), Silva (6.6, sub), James (6.5), Havertz (6.3 sub), Chilwell (6.2, sub), Loftus-Cheek (6.0, sub)
POOR (5.0-5.9): Mount (5.9), Ziyech (5.7)
TERRIBLE (3.0-3.9): —