After a disastrous start to their title defence in the Premier League, Chelsea had to send a statement ahead of the crunch game against Arsenal on Saturday by hammering Maccabi Tel Aviv in the Champions League group stage opener. And indeed they did with a resounding 4-0 win at Stamford Bridge.
Eden Hazard skied a penalty early in the game, but that didn’t hamper the team spirit as they went on to score 4 times (2 in each half). Jose Mourinho made as many as 6 changes to the side that lost to Everton over the weekend and most of them put up an impressive display which will surely put the manager in a selection dilemma.
Here are the player ratings:
Asmir Begovic – 6.5/10
The Chelsea goalie was solid, but was rarely troubled as he made a couple of decent saves. But he knows that a much tougher test awaits him on Saturday against Arsenal.
Baba Rahman – 7/10
The Ghanian youngster finally made his debut at left back and he made an immediate impression winning the ball on several occasions. He also provided a glimpse of his crossing abilities. But he was caught napping during a set piece from which Maccabi could have easily scored.
Gary Cahill – 6.5/10
Captain on the night in place of John Terry, Cahill had to put up a good show in order to keep himself in contention. And he did exactly that. But he is still expected to make way for the 34-year-old Terry on Saturday.
Kurt Zouma – 7/10
It is pretty safe to say that Zouma has sealed his spot in the Chelsea lineup. He made some crucial tackles and clearances last night to thwart the Maccabi attack.
Cesar Azpilicueta – 6/10
Finally played in his favoured right flank for the Blues after a very long time as Ivanovic found the axe after some recent shoddy displays. He was good going forward, but found it tough to win the aerial duals which would concern Mourinho.
Cesc Fabregas – 7/10
Had a moderate first half, but came out with an assist and a goal in the second half to round off an excellent night for Chelsea. Cesc has been criticised for his ‘lazy’ performances this season and had a point to prove.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek – 8/10 (Man of the match)
Looks like the London outfit have found a gem here in the form of Loftus-Cheek. The 19-year-old started ahead of Matic and had a great game despite receiving a yellow card very early. He didn’t allow it to affect him and put on a great show which was rightfully applauded by the Stamford Bridge faithful when he was substituted.
Willian – 6.5/10
A hamstring injury forced him off the field very early in the first half. But he had already made an impact by then. He first won the penalty which Hazard missed, then went on to score a free kick with a bit of luck from a long range.
Oscar – 7.5/10
He kept posing a threat in front of goal on his return from an injury and found himself on the scoresheet after Hazard stepped down from penalty duties when Chelsea won their second of the night.
Eden Hazard – 3/10
Apart from a couple of brilliant runs, Hazard was shoddy throughout the night as he not only missed the penalty but was also awful with his passing. He is clearly lacking in confidence and one shouldn’t be surprised if he is axed for the Arsenal game.
Loic Remy – 6/10
Remy was a bit unlucky as he had to move to the right wing because of Willian’s injury. But he still did a decent job on the night as his pace proved to be very useful going forward.
Diego Costa – 7/10
Scored his 1st Champions League goal ever since he scored against his current club in the 2013-14 semifinal and it was a superb volley. He also won Chelsea’s second penalty.
Bertrand Traore – 4.5/10
Came on for Loftus-Cheek in the second half and had one shot at goal which threatened to extend the lead. Apart from it, he didn’t have anything else to show since he had a limited time on the pitch.
Ramires – 5/10
He had a decent game as he replaced Oscar in the second half. Will be in contention for the clash on Saturday especially if both Pedro and Willian are unavailable.Published 17 Sep 2015, 11:42 IST