On Wednesday night, Chelsea took home their second ever UEFA Super Cup win in a narrow penalty shootout against La Liga opponents Villareal CF. The 1-1 (6-5) victory marks the second trophy won in the past three months under the guidance of Thomas Tuchel, whose team selection and substitutions arguably made all the difference in this one. In a very topsy-turvy game where Chelsea dominated bookends of the match and were dominated in between, some players stood out and others uninspiring.
Antonio Rudiger – 8
Rudiger had another game where, considering his past year at the club, put in what I would call a vintage Rudiger performance. Authoritative tackling, wild sprinting all over the shop and gazelle-like ball progression driving the ball up the pitch, Rudiger did almost everything right besides a failed clearance which ultimately ended up causing the equaliser for Villareal. Thrashed home a beautiful pen in the shootout and was earlier unlucky to receive a yellow on what was a fantastic sliding challenge.
Kurt Zouma – 6
Zouma ultimately didn’t have much to do on the pitch but his positioning in the center of the backline was sometimes sloppy, creating chances for the opposition at times. Completed all of his passes and was unlucky not to get more on a perfect Ziyech cross that surely would’ve resulted in another goal otherwise. Solid, but nothing spectacular from the Frenchman.
Trevoh Chalobah – 10
My man of the match. What a stellar way to make your senior debut. Chalobah played the full 120 minutes and completed 124/130 passes all the while flying about clearing chances, properly diving in and snuffing out any passes near his area. Shuffled the ball at his feet in the box at one point creating half a chance for the opposition which Mendy comfortably swallowed up after Chalobah recovered and slowed the attacker. Nearly flawless.
Andreas Christensen – 7
Like Zouma, Christensen didn’t have much to do. He was much more solid at the back and made a couple of nice blocks when the team was under siege in the second half. Completed 58/60 passes and calmed the game down after coming on.
Cesar Azpilicueta – 8
Surprisingly, the ageing skipper was much more influential and aggressive going forward than the player he succeeded upon entering, Callum Hudson-Odoi. Dave was constantly seeking a cross to put in for someone and his defensive positioning was much more assured than Odoi, limiting counter attacking possibilities. Confidently smashed home a fantastic penalty in the shootout as well.
Callum Hudson-Odoi – 5
I love CHO, but wing back is not his position. Defensive positioning was all over the place for most of the game and was far too timid going forward, rarely taking the ball at opposing defenders 1 on 1. Probably influenced the game more negatively than positively.
Marcos Alonso – 8
This guy is too funny. Marcos Maldini with another vintage performance of his, taking set pieces, getting caught out in defense due to his poor pace and clumsiness and influencing all the attacks coming down his side. Assisted Havertz’ assist to Ziyech, played some decent set pieces, pulled a John Terry (but scored) and didn’t get caught out too significantly to cause any worry. Inspirational performance.
Edouard Mendy – 10
Mendy was everywhere once again, swallowing up crosses, passes and shots that came his way. Made several crucial stops prior to and after half time when the team’s rhythm fell apart at the seams. Unlucky to have been beaten and left rooted by a well worked goal, caused by a poor clearance and even worse man marking on the break. Replaced by Kepa before the end of 120 minutes for the shootout.
Kepa Arrizabalaga – 7
Got Chelsea the upper hand early in the shootout with the save on Villarreal’s second shooter Aissa Mandi but started to sort of guess and throw himself about too early making the opposition takers’ jobs a little easier. Ultimately denied Raul Albiol to see the game off. Great to see his passion and confidence back on the pitch.
Mateo Kovacic – 7
Kovacic played a lot of unnecessary negative balls and was too timid in possession, and slow decision making often found counter-pressing attackers nipping at his heels in a heartbeat. Marked the same player as Rudiger on the equaliser, leaving Gerard Moreno all alone to finish the move. Grew into the game in the later stages and made some important interventions later on. Uninspiring. Perhaps a little rusty for now.
N’Golo Kante – 7
A vintage Kante performance; flying around everywhere and effectively moving the ball where it needed to go in a timely fashion. Didn’t necessarily offer a lot else in a limited amount of minutes and perhaps not a coincidence to have conceded after he came off. He is probably being preserved for the start of the league season.
Jorginho – 8
Jorginho became the first baller in history to play in and win the Champions League, Super Cup and Euros finals all in the same year. What a player. Jorginho D’or loading… Could’ve done better on the goal conceded but ultimately at his best once again, with a penalty goal to boot.
Christian Pulisic – 6
Drew some nice fouls in the opposition half but turned the ball over far too often and offered basically nothing going forward besides the threat of some pace. Clearly off the pace and will need to improve quickly once the season starts. Confident penalty goal however.
Timo Werner – 5
If you didn’t check SofaScore or read the team sheet you’d probably have forgotten he even played. 17 touches in 66 minutes and missed a decent chance early in the game. Another game to forget for Big Tim, better luck next time I guess.
Kai Havertz – 7
Started strong with a good cross to Ziyech for the opener but faded as the game went on. Menacing at times and invisible others. Needed to do more to get on the ball later in the game, but had a few nice moments trying to push for the go-ahead goal. His penalty to open the shootout left a lot to be desired.
Hakim Ziyech – 8
Our wizard was starting to grow on me before he was forced off injured. The Moroccan Messi scored yet another goal and was flying around the pitch. Preseason Ziyech might be a greater Chelsea preseason legend than Zinidine Barkley or Pedro Cruyff. Someone get this guy some water and bubble wrap before the season starts.
Mason Mount – 7
Didn’t do a lot for me and decision making left a little to be desired but ultimately provided a much needed spark to the attack late in the second half. Assured on the ball and decisive, whether right or wrong. Scored a pivotal penalty during the shootout to keep the momentum going.
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