UEFA Champions League 2017/18: Chelsea 6-0 Qarabag, Player Ratings
Chelsea ended up 6-0 winners against a hapless Qarabag side in their opening UEFA Champions League Group C tie at Stamford Bridge. The Blues ran riot scoring six goals for the first time under Antonio Conte while new signing Davide Zappacosta scored arguably the goal of the game from the right wing with a mishit cross. Chelsea eased past their opponents, the Azerbaijan champions Qarabag, with a gallant display of attacking football.
Pedro gave the Blues an early lead and Zappacosta's freak effort made it 2-0 at half-time. But the Blues were not done yet and added four more goals after the break with Cezar Azpilicueta nodding home from a pinpoint Cesc Fabregas pass early in the second half.
Tiemoue Bakayoko scored after a rebounded effort fell kindly to him and Michy Batshuhayi who started ahead of Alvaro Morata finally got on the scoresheet as well. An own goal from Qarabag's Medvedev made it 6-0 in the end.
Here are the player ratings:
Thibaut Courtois - 7/10
Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois had little to do in goal as Qarabag barely threatened the Chelsea goal but he made routine stops when required like in the 37th minute from Henrique's strike. He did, however, come up with a very unlikely assist to Davide Zappacosta's first half freak goal from out wide on the right flank. The Belgian keeper threw the ball out to Zappacosta who then ran down the line and hooked the ball into the net.
Cesar Azpilicueta - 8.5/10
Cesar Azpilicueta had a solid game as always at the back for Chelsea. He made vital interceptions and supported in attack when needed. He averted danger in the 36th minute when Michel was threatening and then even popped up in the Qarabag box to nod in a goal off Cesc Fabregas' superb cross in the 55th minute. It was a well deserved first ever Champions League goal in Chelsea blue for the Spanish stalwart.
Gary Cahill - 7/10
Gary Cahill was back in the starting eleven after missing a number of games through suspension. He was reckless while challenging for the ball in the first half and clattered into Henrique in the 16th minute of the game. It was a poor challenge and he was rightly booked by the referee and was perhaps lucky not to be sent off.
However, he did help Chelsea keep a clean sheet in the game with his no-nonsense defending by clearing their lines like in the 39th minute and even had a shot blocked at the other end in the 48th minute. He was quiet from then on and went about his job smartly.
Andreas Christensen - 7/10
Andreas Christensen had a good game for Chelsea at the back. The young Dane continued to repay Antonio Conte's faith in him with a good overall performance in this game. He cleared danger early on in the 3rd minute off Medvedev's cross and then had a penalty shout at the other end when he was nudged in the back in the 4th minute. He expertly dealt with danger at the back to head away in the 45th minute when Pedro's clearance nearly fell to Ndlovu and showed his skill and composure on the ball throughout.
Davide Zappacosta - 9/10
Davide Zappacosta had one of the best games of his career against Qarabag. The full-back was involved in a lot of moves going forward with runs and crosses like in the 13th, 23rd and 46th minute and remained an attacking threat throughout the game. He also got on the scoresheet in the 30th minute with an unbelievable goal from the right flank.
His intended cross curled and found the back of the net instead which sent Stamford Bridge wild. It was the standout goal of the game. He tried to score once more with a shot in the 35th minute off Kante's pass but hit it over the bar. He then also assisted in Chelsea's 6th goal with a low cross that was bundled and deflected in off the Qarabag keeper Sehic and Michy Batshuhayi.
Cesc Fabregas - 8/10
Fabregas pulled the strings from midfield in the game spreading the ball around the park. He created a chance for Marcos Alonso in the 24th minute and for Gary Cahill in the 48th minute but they were saved and blocked respectively. He then played an inch-perfect cross with the outside of his boot to find Cesar Azpilicueta who headed the ball into the back of the net in the 55th minute. He ended the game with an assist to his name and good all round play
N'Golo Kante - 7/10
N'Golo Kante went about the game with his usual tenacity and tough tackling when required, winning the ball back in midfield while he was on the pitch, but he did not make any noteworthy tackles or interceptions as the Qarabag attack was barely potent. He was later substituted in the 62nd minute of the game.
Marcos Alonso 7/10
Marcos Alonso was a threat going forward all through the game and had a header saved in the 25th minute. He then tried to emulate Zappacosta's effort in the 44th minute but shot over the bar. His shot off a Zappacosta driven cross was blocked by Huseynov in the 46th minute and he was involved in Chelsea's 4th goal after his cross led to Bakayoko's goal.
Michy Batshuayi 8/10
Michy Batshuhayi had a frustrating night up front initially but made amends later on by getting on the scoresheet. His shot was saved by Sehic in the 5th minute and later in a brilliant back-heeled one-two with Willian, his effort off the Brazilian's rebound hit the side netting in the 19th minute. He would threaten further in the game and finally got his goal in the 75th minute after latching on to Bakayoko's pass and scoring past Sehic.
Willian - 8/10
Willian was a constant threat with his dribbling and runs across the pitch creating space for his teammates. He did well to pick out Pedro for the first goal in the fifth minute and registered an assist. His shot after a quick one-two with Batshuhayi was saved by Sehic in the 19th minute and he almost got a goal in the 67th minute but was denied by the Qarabag crossbar. He continued his good form this season and was unlucky to have not scored.
Pedro - 7.5/10
Pedro did incredibly well to score early on in the 5th minute of the game with a superb, first-time curled effort from outside the box from Willian's pass. However, he almost put his team in danger with a miscued clearance in the 45th minute but Christensen cleared the danger. He was then substituted in the 58th minute for Eden Hazard.
Eden Hazard (on for Pedro, 58 mins) - 7/10
Eden Hazard came on and dribbled well to create space in the last 30 minutes but he could not carve out a goal scoring chance for himself. He looked like a player regaining his fitness and got a much-needed run-out against Qarabag.
Tiemoue Bakayoko (on for Kante, 62 mins) - 8/10
Bakayoko was an immediate impact from the bench after he came on for N'Golo Kante in the 62nd minute. He put himself about and kept the ball moving in midfield. He even scored a goal in the 71st minute which was a simple tap-in after the ball fell to him off of Michel's knee in the Qarabag box. He then assisted Batshuhayi for Chelsea's fifth goal by finding the Belgian on the edge of the box.
Antonio Rudiger ( on for Azpilicueta, 74 mins) - 7/10
Antonio Rudiger came on and looked solid at the back. He made sure Chelsea kept their clean sheet and made some good challenges.
Sehic - 2/10
Sehic had a poor game in goal for Qarabag by letting in six goals in the game. He could have saved Pedro's strike from distance in the 5th minute but could do nothing about Zappacosta's cross-shot in the 30th minute. Michy Batshuhayi's goal in the 75th minute could have also been saved. However, the other goals were unsavable and it just wasn't his day in the end.
Medvedev - 4/10
Medvedev threatened early on in the game with a low cross from the right flank in the 3rd minute which was dealt by Christensen and he then had an attempted cross blocked by Alonso in the 10th minute. He was by far Qarabag's most industrious player but lacked in his final ball. He was then unlucky to score an own goal in the 82nd minute after a combination of him and Batshuhayi bundled the ball into the net off Zappacosta's cross.
Sadiqov - 3.5/10
Sadiqov the Qarabag captain had a poor game and was caught ball-watching and standing still on a number of occasions. However, he made a tackle to stop Willian advancing in the 11th minute and then tackled the ball off Batshuhayi in the 26th minute. He was substituted in the 70th minute.
Huseynov - 3/10
Huseynov was given a torrid time at the centre of defence by the Chelsea attack. However, he did well to block Marcos Alonso's effort in the 46th minute. His slip led to Bakayoko's goal in the 71st minute.
Rzezniczak - 2/10
Rzezniczak could not handle Willian and Zappacosta and was beaten repeatedly by both Chelsea players. He was a mere bystander for all the goals.
Qarayev - 2/10
Qarayev was virtually nonexistent in midfield and let N'Golo Kante and Cesc Fabregas run the show from the middle of the park. He did nothing noteworthy in the game.
Almeida - 2.5/10
Almeida again like his midfield counterpart Qarayev could not assert himself on the game or cause Chelsea's midfielders any problems. He was only slightly better than Qarayev
Guerrier - 4 /10
Gurrier conceded a free kick after Zappacosta beat him in the 23rd minute and could not offer much output up front. He was a bit of a threat to Chelsea going forward, but could not do much to stop the Blues when they attacked.
Michel - 4/10
Michel put some slight pressure on the Chelsea back line with a few runs like getting to the byline in the 36th minute but was kept quiet in the game by the Blues. He was unlucky to have the ball ricochet off his knee into the path of Bakayoko for Chelsea's fourth goal in the 71st minute.
Henrique - 5/10
Henrique was perhaps Qarabag's best player. He was clattered by Cahill early on in the game in the 16th minute but shook it off and continued on the pitch. He hit the wall from a free-kick in the 29th minute and forced Courtois into a save with a shot from outside the box in the 37th minute. He was then substituted in the 77th minute.
Ndlovu - 3/10
Ndlovu was left isolated up front and couldn't do much to help his side in attack. He had a shot blocked by Zappacosta in the 13th minute and forced Courtois into a save in the 51st minute. He got a good chance in the 89th minute to score but shot over the bar.
Medetov - 1/10
Medetov came on for Sadiqov in the 70th minute but was a bystander for the goals.
Diniyev - NA
Diniyev came on for Qarayev but couldn't spark up the midfield at all.
Elyounoussi - NA
Elyounoussi came on for Henrique but did nothing noteworthy.