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Chelsea Player Rankings After 8-0 Thrashing of Aston Villa

Rowanne WesthenryFeatured ColumnistDecember 23, 2012

Chelsea Player Rankings After 8-0 Thrashing of Aston Villa

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    Chelsea made their Premier League return by beating Aston Villa 8-0 at Stamford Bridge, equaling their own record for the biggest EPL winning margin. They also set a new record, with seven different names finding their way onto the score sheet.

    Aston Villa were behind after three minutes when Fernando Torres rose highest in the area to score from a header, and the Midlands side just disintegrated from there. Goals from David Luiz and Branislav Ivanovic made it 3-0 before halftime, and it looked like game over.

    The Blues didn't see it that way, though, and in the second half, they produced a display of dominance that, only a few weeks ago, seemed to be a distant but happy memory.

    The following slides break down the players' individual contributions to this huge victory. Each player starts on 5/10 and gains points for a high passing accuracy percentage, as well as assists and goals. All stats are provided by Opta.

Petr Cech

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    7/10

    The Chelsea shot stopper had a grand total of one save to make, and he made it. This was his first clean sheet since the 0-0 draw with Fulham in November, a fact which will no doubt boost his confidence. His distribution was excellent, but his passing in open play was only accurate 68 percent of the time.

Cesar Azpilicueta

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    8/10

    Azpilicueta went forward well and got back to defend; however, he wasn't really challenged by any Villa wing play. He still managed to win four out of five tackles and intercepted the ball twice. He also got the ball in the box for Torres to head home the first goal, his only successful cross from four attempts.
     
    This was an encouraging performance and will help him continue to develop. With David Luiz moved into midfield on a semi-permanent basis, he will need to be able to cover the right back position more often.

Branislav Ivanovic

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    8.5/10 

    The high-scoring defender was at it again today, getting his head to the ball when Villa were struggling to clear a Gary Cahill shot. As Villa decided to have a day off from attacking with any real purpose, he didn't have a lot to do at the back, but won five out of six aerial duels he was involved in. 
    Excellent work as usual, he seems more comfortable at the centre of the defensive line rather than on the right.

Gary Cahill

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    8/10

    As with the rest of the Chelsea defensive line, Cahill had a relatively easy day at the office. He kept himself busy further up the pitch, making two successful tackles before having a lovely turn-and-shoot manoeuvre blocked, which led to Ivanovic's goal. 

Ashley Cole

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    8/10

    Like Azpilicueta, Cole was never really challenged defensively. He even had time to have an off-target shot on goal. With a passing accuracy of 97 percent and a 10-of-10 success rate from throw-ins, he once again proved how much he is worth, a fact which becomes more and more relevant as the January transfer window looms just around the corner.

David Luiz

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    8.5/10

    David Luiz started in the defensive midfield position he received so much praise for during the Club World Cup match against Monterrey. Having a defensive line as well as the 'keeper behind him allows him to have his moments of madness with slightly less danger of conceding a goal.

    He scored a wonderful free kick in the first half, a lively effort which looped over the wall before dipping into the net. A few minutes later, he had a great curling shot saved by Brad Guzan, who did well to get across to it.

    Luiz didn't neglect the defensive side of his midfield duties and made six interceptions to protect the back four. 

Frank Lampard

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    8.5/10 

    Still coming back from injury, Frank Lampard was substituted after 67 minutes in a straight swap with Ramires. In the hour or so he was on the pitch, he scored a great goal from well outside the box and had a pass success rate of 90 percent. Not bad for a player over 30 who isn't sure where his future lies.

Juan Mata

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    8/10

    As usual, Mata was the key playmaker in the attacking trio. The midfield maestro created four chances and got an assist for Frank Lampard's goal. He was substituted after 74 minutes for Lucas Piazon, who made a similar impact on the game

Victor Moses

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    8/10

    Moses made some good runs down the right and got the ball into dangerous areas on a few occasions. He linked up well with Mata and Eden Hazard and had two attempts to get on the score sheet, the best of which was a long-range shot in the second half. However, despite his best efforts, he couldn't keep it down and had to watch it sail over the bar. 

    He created three chances for his teammates, but none of them resulted in goals. Sterling effort from the former Wigan man, though, the sort of performance Chelsea fans have come to expect of him.

Eden Hazard

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    8.5/10

    Hazard won two free kicks, and his movement was excellent. I was surprised to see him step back when Chelsea got their first penalty, but he capped another great performance with an excellent goal from open play. Along with Mata and Oscar, he has been one of Chelsea's most consistently excellent performers this season.

Fernando Torres

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    8/10

    Torres started the game brightly and got up well to head his goal in. He made some half-decent runs in the box while loitering around the Villa back line. After his goal, he had a couple of half chances and then seemed to drift out of the game before being substituted on 63 minutes for Oscar.

Substitutes

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    Ramires: 9/10

     Ramires was Brought on for Frank Lampard on 61 minutes, had two shots on target and scored two goals in the 33 minutes he was on the pitch. Not a bad performance following his disappointment in the Club World Cup final.

     

    Oscar: 8.5/10

     Oscar came on for Torres after 67 minutes and set up two goals as well as scoring a penalty. Imagine what he could have done if he'd played the full 90 minutes.

     

    Lucas Piazon: 8/10

    With his second touch of the ball, he played a sublime pass to Ramires to set the Brazilian up for the first of his two goals. He missed the Blues' second penalty of the game, but played very well otherwise.

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