Chelsea: Player Ratings Against Manchester United

Rowanne WesthenryFeatured ColumnistOctober 28, 2012

Chelsea: Player Ratings Against Manchester United

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    After a game filled with so much controversy and so many contentious decisions. it can be hard to remember that there are 11 men on each team, at least at the start of the game anyway.

    Taking into account their contributions to the overall performance of the team, here are my Chelsea player ratings after the EPL clash with Manchester United.

Petr Cech

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    Despite his counterpart being the busier of the two 'keepers in terms of shot stopping, Cech was on hand to save three attempts on target from United.

    However, his back four were not providing enough cover for him, especially on the flanks, which led to the first two goals.

    The third came when the Blues were down to nine men (and it was offside), which means that only the cruelest of critics could fault him for that one.

    Ultimately he could have organised his defence better, but his saves kept Chelsea in the game once they had equalised, so I give him 7/10.

Branislav Ivanovic

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    The picture says it all, really.

    Ivanovic made some good clearances in the first half and made for a decent attacking full-back down the right in the second half.

    He was more consistent about tracking back to defend than Ashley Cole, and had a pass completion rate of 82 percent.

    His good distribution became pretty meaningless, however, after a silly challenge on Ashley Young. As the last man, denying a clear run on goal, he had to walk, and was duly shown the red card.

    This was his first sending-off in the Premier League, but he has committed similar fouls in cup competitions throughout the years, and I am in very little doubt that it will happen again in the future. 5/10, purely for the distribution work he did before he was sent off.

Ashley Cole

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    Much was made of the pre-match handshake in the buildup to the game, and the will-they-won't-they question around Ashley Cole and Rio Ferdinand had become, quite frankly, tedious.

    In the end they both showed a never-before-seen level of maturity and shook hands, a wonderful display of people doing as they have been told.

    Once the game kicked off, Ashley Cole seemed to have missed the whistle and was uncharacteristically shy in making the tackle, preferring to back off from the oncoming attacker.

    He was exposed for both first-half goals from United, and looked like he wasn't really there until the half-hour mark, when he woke up and remembered that he is one of the top left-backs in the world.

    He began making some crucial tackles and interceptions that helped keep Chelsea in the game. He also formed a major part of the Blues' attack after Torres' sending-off and with a pass completion rate of 82 percent, I give him 7/10.

David Luiz

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    David Luiz is a very affable character.

    He seems to have a very positive and relaxed attitude, which is lovely, so long as you're not playing Manchester United with him at centre-back.

    His positioning throughout the whole game was dire, and he seemed not to know where he was, never mind what anyone else was doing. He kept making stray passes in some key areas.

    He scored an own goal with his bottom after four minutes, and it pretty much went downhill from there. On a positive note, I think he'll be more focused and determined to improve for the Capital One Cup rematch. However, based on this game, I give his performance 4/10.

Gary Cahill

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    Gary Cahill was Chelsea's most efficient defender in this match, getting in the right position to make blocks as well as creating chances at the other end.

    He had one shot saved and another blocked in the box, and with a pass completion rate of 97 percent, he had seemingly become the consistent defender that Chelsea were lacking for the first 30 minutes.

    I rate his performance 7.5/10, which would have been higher had Chelsea not conceded three goals.

Ramires

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    As the box-to-box midfielder in the starting formation, Ramires had a very good game.

    He completed 97 percent of his passes, 100 percent of those carried out in the attacking third of the pitch.

    He also won some very important challenges in the middle of the park and took his goal very well.

    One of the stand out performances in a team that took a while to really fire up. I rate him 8.5/10.

John Obi Mikel

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    Mikel started the game in a new role as the holding midfielder in front of the back four.

    He made some very good tackles and clearances, but was booked for dissent after complaining to the referee that Javier Hernandez's goal had been offside.

    After the two red cards, he needed to take a more attacking role, but when the ball came to him in he looked panicked, like he couldn't get rid of it fast enough.

    However, his passes found their man 87 percent of the time and he did not make any major errors, so I give him 7.5/10.

Oscar

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    Oscar is one of those players who floats in and out of games.

    Sometimes you won't even know he is on the pitch for ten-minute stretches, until he pops up with some fancy footwork and makes almost everybody else look a bit ordinary.

    He set up Ramires' goal and did more than his fair share in the way of defensive duties, but was substituted after just over an hour to make way for Cesar Azpilicueta, who was coming on to replace the dismissed Ivanovic at right back.

    This young Brazilian makes some lovely runs and has a hell of a cross on him, so for that and the assist I give him 8/10.

Eden Hazard

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    After a blistering start to his Premier League career, Hazard has switched to a simmer for the last few matches.

    His passing has become more wayward, as he completed only 73 percent against United, but his positioning is good and he made some vital interceptions.

    The little jinking runs he goes on are lovely, but he was just lacking that extra heat, and because of that I rate his performance 7/10.

Juan Mata

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    When it comes to Juan Mata, I am beginning to struggle to find superlatives superlative enough for him.

    His work-rate is faultless, and he completed 90 percent of his passes against Manchester United, as well as creating five goal-scoring opportunities.

    The skill it took for him to keep the ball in play in the buildup to Ramires' goal was sublime, and the free kick from which he scored was beautiful. It appeared to be going wide until the last possible second, when it curled just inside the post and out of the reach of De Gea.

    He was substituted after Torres' red card to make way for the more defensive-minded Ryan Bertrand, but I rate his 72 minutes on the pitch 8.5/10.

Fernando Torres

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    Unfortunately for the beleaguered Chelsea striker, that image will be the one that he is most remembered for in this game.

    There was definite contact from Jonny Evans, yet referee Mark Clattenburg saw fit to award the Chelsea man his second yellow card for simulation.

    Up until that point he had been as out of sorts as usual, misplacing half his passes with one shot on target, not what you expect from a player who broke transfer-fee records.

    I rate his performance 5/10 since he didn't deserve that second yellow card, but hadn't looked a major threat before that turning point, either.

The Substitutes

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    Cesar Azpilicueta was brought on after an hour as a direct replacement for the dismissed Branislav Ivanovic. He got himself into some good positions and made himself useful, completing 83 percent of his passes in the 30 minutes or so he was on the pitch. I would rate him 7/10 for a brief but lively performance.

    Ryan Bertrand was brought on in a similar fashion to Azpilicueta, as cover on the left to help Chelsea defend the draw after Torres' dismissal. He didn't have much of an impact on the game, but by then Chelsea were down to nine men and playing for damage control, so I didn't expect too much. If I was forced to give him a grade, I think that 7/10 would be fair enough.

    Daniel Sturridge's introduction to the game was delayed, following Torres' second yellow card. The striker was stripped and ready to come on in a like-for-like swap with the Spaniard until events undid that plan.

    It seemed strange to me that he was then brought on to replace Hazard who, in my mind, after the substitutions of Oscar and Mata, was the only player left who could provide Sturridge with the sort of service he requires. Still, he had a couple of half-chances and was eager enough to chase the ball down, so 7/10 for his 10-minute cameo.