Chelsea 1-1 Manchester City: Player Ratings
Chelsea remained at the top of the Premier League with a hard-fought 1-1 draw against their closest championship rivals Manchester City at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. The Blues still have a five-point cushion at the top after 23 games this season.
They were given the lead by Loic Remy when he turned in an Eden Hazard cross that was begging to be put in. Jose Mourinho’s joys however lasted only a few minutes as David Silva brought Manchester City back on level terms as he guided a sweetly hit Sergio Aguero shot into the back of the net.
Here are the player ratings from this top of the table clash:
Thibaut Courtois (4.5/10): A rare and uncharacteristic mistake from the Belgian stopper cost Chelsea all three points and an even bigger lead at the top of the table. Courtois flapped and missed Jesus Navas’s cross completely only to see the ball nestle into the back of the net a few seconds later courtesy David Silva’s outstretched boot.
Branislav Ivanovic (6.5/10): The Serbian played a lovely diagonal to Eden Hazard who subsequently set up Loic Remy for the opener. He was lucky to get away with some errant touches as Aguero still looked a few yards off his best and couldn’t take advantage. He grew into the game and was more and more comfortable as the game wore on.
Kurt Zouma (8/10): Zouma justified his inclusion in the team with a performance that showed poise beyond his years. He exhibited both the physicality and the speed that indicated that he could play at the very top level for a long time.
John Terry (6/10): Terry was fortunate to get away with an erroneous kick that allowed Aguero in on goal. He looked comfortable otherwise as his sense of positioning annihilated any threat that might have been posed by his lack of pace.
Cesar Azpilicueta (5/10): After a great start to the year, this is the second time in a row that I have seen him having a torrid time on the left. After being taught the Foxtrot by Remy Cabella a few weeks back, Jesus Navas welcomed him to a whole different dance form. Azpilicueta struggled to keep up with his fellow Spaniard in the second half.
Nemanja Matic (7.5/10): The fulcrum of the team, Matic came up with another solid performance. He gave Silva little chance to wield his magic in the middle of the park.
Ramires (6/10): He was busy on the ball and provided great hustle, but Chelsea missed the presence of the man he replaced. Cesc Fabregas is a class apart and Ramires came nowhere near providing what the Spaniard usually serves up from that position.
Willian (6/10): A busy first half fizzled into a rather quiet game for the Brazilian as he failed to bother Gael Clichy much. However, he got himself involved in many a play though without much to show for.
Oscar (5/10): It is hard to remember anything worthwhile from the Brazilian except for a tame attempt on goal which Joe Hart held without any problems. The Brazilian failed to deliver when Mourinho entrusted him with the creative burden in Fabregas’ absence.
Hazard (6.5/10): The Belgian had a torrid opening to the game with nothing sticking to his boots. He got into the game slowly and provided the timely cross for the opener, but was anonymous in the second half as City controlled the tempo.
Loic Remy (7/10): He was “Johnny on the spot” to tap home the opener, which is what strikers are paid for. Remy ran the channels and came deep to get involved, but failed to find ways to utilize his speed against Demichelis.
Didier Drogba (6/10): The Ivorian didn’t get a good enough look-in to really change the outcome of the game with only about 10 minutes to make an impact.
Gary Cahill (6/10): He came on late to replace Loic Remy as Mourinho looked to shut up shop.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek (NA): Hard to pass judgement on a teenager who was afforded just over a minute on his Premier League debut.
Joe Hart (7/10): The Englishman was helpless for the goal that Chelsea scored. He was otherwise largely untested with the Blues having only a couple of shots on target which included the goal.
Bacary Sagna (7/10): Many were surprised to see the Frenchman's name in the team sheet for such a crucial game, but that didn’t go against his pedigree. Pellegrini wanted some solidity at the right-back spot to take on Eden Hazard and that’s exactly what Sagna provided on the night.
Vincent Kompany (6.5/10): He is still not the Kompany of old. The Belgian still seems to need a few more games under his belt. After an underwhelming performance against Arsenal, a few errant touches in the opening minutes might have had Pellegrini sweating. However, the Belgian composed himself and controlled the backline for the rest of the game.
Martin Demichelis (6/10): Demichelis failed to stay with Loic Remy when the Frenchman put the league leaders in front. He was otherwise largely untroubled and cleared any problems that came his way.
Gael Clichy (7.5/10): Another composed performance from the Frenchman as neither Willian nor Ivanovic could get an inch out of Clichy. He supported the attacks as well, providing width on the left, however without much to show for.
Fernando (7/10): The Brazilian was brought in the off-season by Manuel Pellegrini to provide extra cover at the middle of the park for City. And that’s exactly what the Brazilian did. The blue-collared midfielder stifled any sort of creativity that Chelsea aspired to have at the middle of the park. Job well done.
Fernandinho (8/10): He was nearly the complete central midfielder yesterday. He popped up all over the field whenever a defender needed help, put in timely tackles in the midfield and was usually the first source of launching any attack on Mourinho’s men.
James Milner (7/10): Another performance from the England international on the left that was full of hard graft and the occasional moment of brilliance with some lovely flicks in the build-up play. Pellegrini has always had faith in the Englishman to put in a shift when required and he delivered again.
David Silva (8/10): The diminutive Spaniard did well to get away from the tight clutches of Nemanja Matic and found pockets of space to operate in behind Aguero every now and then. Not at the best we have seen, but got the all-important equaliser.
Jesus Navas (7.5/10): He got the better of his fellow Spanish international Cesar Azpilicueta on a number of occasions. However, quite like the game against Arsenal, he failed to really put a telling ball at the end of the bustling runs.
Sergio Aguero (6/10): The Argentinian’s performance still lacks a real oomph since coming back from injury. Caused Ivanovic and Zouma problems with his movement. Ended up with the assist when his sweetly struck volley was deflected in by David Siva. Missed a glorious chance to put the defending champions in front in the 34th minute.
Frank Lampard (6/10): He never really got the chance to steal the headlines on his return to his old stomping ground. Lampard used the ball well when in possession but never really got the chance to unleash his venomous shot on the Chelsea goal.
Edin Dzeko (6/10): The Bosnian replaced Aguero in the 84th minute but couldn’t bring about any real memorable moment in the limited time afforded to him.
Stefan Jovetic (6/10): He had too little time make any real impact after coming on in injury time.