Rating Chelsea Players’ Performances Following Super Cup Triumph

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.

The Cobham boys were the stars of the spectacle once again. Credit: @amadoit__on Twitter.

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.

Jorginho is reportedly 10/1 to win the Ballon D’or. Credit: Squawka Football

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.

Chelsea V Villarreal – UEFA Super Cup Match Preview

Been a while, hasn’t it? After what feels like an eternity, Chelsea are back in competitive action, and boy are we back with a bang. Following the Champions League triumph in May (yes, it really was over two months ago when we finally lifted the biggest prize in club football again), the Blues take centre stage once again, and this time, we face the Europa League champions with a trophy that has eluded the Blues on the last three occasions on the line.

Chelsea were bulldozed 4-1 by Atletico Madrid in 2012, and one year later lost to Bayern Munich on penalties, as the German giants got their revenge after Chelsea beat them in their own backyard (yes, I just had to) one year prior to claim their first ever Champions League trophy. Fast forward to 2019, and the SW6 once again lost on penalties, this time to then Champions of Europe, Liverpool. However, as the famous saying goes, the thir… I mean, fourth times a charm, and surely this time, Chelsea can finally secure the Super Cup for the first time since 1998.

The Champions of Europe (I may rinse that over the coming season, and you can do nothing about it), take to Belfast for what is sure to be a real ding-dong battle with Villarreal, who under no circumstances may be underestimated. Just ask our Mancunian “friends”. But in all seriousness, Chelsea must win this game to give them the most momentum they can get going into the opening league game with Crystal Palace. The Blues have already been in good form throughout preseason, beating Peterborough, Bournemouth, Arsenal, and drawing with Tottenham. Victory in Belfast would be the icing on the cake, and will also be a good demonstration for Thomas Tuchel, to see how up for the season his players are.

Team news and updates:

As far as team news goes, everyone is available for the match. Tuchel gave an update regarding players who returned late following international duties, such as Mason Mount and Jorginho, with the gaffer saying that eight days in training is not the ideal amount of time for the players to then jump straight into a European final like this.

With that being said, I do expect Jorge and Mason will be in contention for a start, as the two were among the very best last season. To predict a line up for this game would just be far too difficult, as only Tuchel knows how his players have been during pre-season and training. But we’re going to do one anyway.

Predicted Lineup:

Mendy, Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger, James, Jorginho, Kante, Chilwell, Mount, Werner, Havertz.

Thiago just misses out for me due to his lack of training and minutes during pre-season. As for J5 and Mason, the duo make my eleven due to their sheer importance to our side. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Pulisic, Kovacic or Ziyech start however, after the Moroccan netted five times during pre-season.

Players to watch:

Kai Havertz: King Kai. The man who secured us our second Champions League trophy will be sure to light Belfast up on Wednesday evening, with the German international impressing at the Euros as well as carrying his late season form into pre-season. Havertz will be looking to pick up where he left off in royal blue.

Gerard Moreno: Moreno will certainly have a point to prove after he struggled to pick up any real momentum during his time with Spain at the Euros. The centre forward had an impressive season in La Liga last year, netting 23 times and grabbing seven assists in 33 games. The 29-year-old will hope that last seasons numbers can be replicated this year, starting with the Super Cup.

Written by @mashgreaves