1. KEPA ARRIZABALAGA (8.5)
Another penalty shootout, another hero turn from Kepa, who’s approaching cheat-code levels at this point when it comes to these things. Part of that is surely preparation — we certainly know the importance of them with the likes of Petr Čech, Christoph Lollichon, and Hilário in charge — but part of that is surely just some magic dust, and a grand heaping of confidence, which is especially commendable given his journey at Chelsea so far.
It should be noted that Kepa was very good during the game itself as well, and while he was beaten by a powerful (and unsaveable) header that glanced off the underside of the bar in the top corner, he also made six saves, caught a couple crosses, and was safe in possession. Two big goalie-glove thumbs up for this guy!
2. REECE JAMES (8.1)
Listen, this tweet got over 5k likes, so I think that means I’ve made it, or some such. Also, Reecey was great, and his versatility continues to be an extra boon.
clearance off the line, assist, winning PK? pic.twitter.com/8FZyEf73xq— Dávid Pásztor (@D_Peezy) September 22, 2021
3. RUBEN LOFTUS-CHEEK (7.7)
Not only was RLC making his first start for Chelsea since the very first game of last season, it turned out that he was doing so in a rather different role than we had been expecting. Even with Kanté on the pitch to start, Ruben lined up as the deepest of the three midfielders, playing as an anchor man and also an occasional box-to-box force (especially later on in the game, as we settled in and improved).
Is this his potential role going forward? He certainly has the skills and the strength to do so, and his ball retention and dribbling could offer a new dimension. We’ve seen a similar transformation once before with Mikel John Obi, after all! Obviously, it’s just one game, but an intriguing option perhaps.
Ruben Loftus Cheek vs. Aston Villa (EFL Cup) 2021/22 pic.twitter.com/nAMQ8stHNw— TuchelSZN (@CFC_Comps) September 22, 2021
vs. ASTON VILLA (LC, H, D 1-1; 4-3p/k)
EXCEPTIONAL (9.0+): —
EXCELLENT (8.0-8.9): Arrizabalaga (8.5), James (8.1)
GOOD (7.0-7.9): Loftus-Cheek (7.7), Chalobah (7.4), Werner (7.4)
AVERAGE (6.0-6.9): Kanté (6.9), Mount (6.9, sub), Lukaku (6.6, sub), Barkley (6.4, sub), Chilwell (6.2), Hudson-Odoi (6.2), Sarr (6.2)
POOR (5.0-5.9): Saúl (5.7), Ziyech (5.6)
BAD (4.0-4.9): —
TERRIBLE (3.0-3.9): —