[Player Ratings] Chelsea 2-1 Aston Villa: Ivanovic Header Seals Win For Blues
Branislav Ivanovic’s second half goal proved decisive in a tense encounter which saw Chelsea overcome Aston Villa 2-1 at Stamford Bridge. Here are player ratings
Branislav Ivanovic’s second half goal proved decisive in a tense encounter which saw Chelsea overcome Aston Villa 2-1 at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues were playing their second home game in four days and entertained a young Villa side on a high from their weekend win at the Emirates Stadium. Jose Mourinho’s side started in storming fashion- as they did against Hull on Sunday- and took the lead through an Antonio Luna own-goal; the ball deflecting off the defender after Eden Hazard’s shot was saved on 7 minutes.
Chelsea failed to capitalise further on their early dominance and allowed Villa to level moments before half-time through Christian Benteke. The powerful Belgian forward was expected to leave Villa Park this summer but decided to sign a new contract, and the man who bagged two at the weekend raced to the top of the scoring charts with a superbly executed finish.
Villa were more than a match for Chelsea in the second half but it was the home side who took the initiative when Ivanovic grabbed the winner, heading home from a Frank Lampard free-kick on ’73. The game wasn’t without controversy however, as Villa contested the referee’s decision to only brandish a yellow card to Ivanovic after he caught Benteke with a loose arm. The incident occurred moments before the Serbian’s winning goal, rubbing even more salt into the Villa wounds.
Chelsea also survived a late appeal for a penalty after it looked as though captain John Terry may have handled in the area, however the referee waved away the protests. A loud cheer- and a simultaneous sound of relief- from the the home faithful greeted the final whistle, as Chelsea moved to the top of the Premier League.
Cech- 7- was rarely called upon in the first half but pulled off a string of fine saves in the second. Not much he could do to stop Benteke’s clinical finishing.
Cole- 6- one of the England international’s quieter games in a Blue shirt. Competent enough. Reliable in defence but did not do enough in attack.
Terry 6- appeared to struggle at times with the powerful and domineering presence of Benteke, but overall marshalled his defender’s well.
Cahill-5- the England centre-half had a torrid time when Chelsea played Villa away last season, and it did not look any more enjoyable this time round. Not his best performance.
Ivanovic- 7- we saw two sides to the Serbian’s game here: the match-winning side, and the ugly side. Secured 3 points for his side with a powerful headed goal, but could easily have seen red for what looked like an intentional elbow on Benteke.
Lampard- 8- continued where he left off from Sunday. The weekend’s goal scorer turned provider here, demonstrating how much the England veteran still has to offer Chelsea. Had a great game.
Ramires- 7- a much improved performance from Sunday. The Brazilian was more his energetic self and provided his defence with a solid screening when Chelsea lost possession.
Oscar-8- another brilliant showing from the Brazilian midfielder. Has taken to the role of Chelsea’s play-maker in chief like a duck to water. Involved in Chelsea’s attacking play from start to finish and always looked like causing Villa problems. My MOM.
Mata- 5- so often Chelsea’s saviour last season, the Spaniard looked half the player here. Fitness seemed to be affecting his performance, tiring in the second half to be replaced by Schurrle.
Hazard 8- Benteke may be the Belgian on everyone’s lips at the moment, but Hazard was a threat from start to finish. His pace and agility was a constant worry for Villa and he found himself in excellent positions thanks to some mazy runs, only to be thwarted by Brad Guzan.
Ba- 5- failed to demonstrate the kind of link-up play we’ve come to expect of a Chelsea centre-forward (ala Didier Drogba). Spent much of the game in offside positions and never really threatened.
Schurrle- 6- showed some neat touches when introduced just after the hour mark but made little impact. Steady start to life at the Bridge
Van Ginkel-4- introduced with just 6 minutes remaining so no chance to make much of an impact.
Lukaku- 6- looks the best option up-front for Chelsea at the moment. Held the ball up well, showed close, tidy control and brought others into play. Finishing touch was lacking however.
What did you make of Wednesday’s game? How good was Chelsea’s football at times? Is this a better Chelsea side than Mourinho’s last one? Should Ivanovich have been sent off? Who was your Man of the Match?…please leave your comments below.
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