Rating the Chelsea Players in Win over Rubin Kazan

John BainesCorrespondent IApril 4, 2013

Rating the Chelsea Players in Win over Rubin Kazan

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    A brace from Fernando Torres helped Chelsea on their way to a 3-1 Europa League quarterfinal first-leg win over Rubin Kazan.

    The Blues were cruising after goals in the opening half-hour from Torres and Victor Moses put them two clear, but after John Terry was adjudged to have handled in the box, Bibras Natcho reduced the arrears from the spot.

    With games coming thick and fast in three competitions, Rafa Benitez's side needed a healthy lead to take into the return tie in Russia, and Torres duly restored their advantage when he headed home a Juan Mata cross on 70 minutes.

    The hosts could and should have extended the score line but were kept at bay, whilst Kazan also posed plenty of problems down the other end.

    I'll run the rule over the runners and riders of a largely impressive display, and make sure you let me know your opinions on how you saw it by posting your comments down below.

Petr Cech: 6

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    Petr Cech is one player in no danger of being given a rest, and he wasn't given the luxury of a quiet 90 minutes by the lively Russians.

    He needed to be on his toes as Kazan employed a shoot-on-sight policy early doors, and some of his handling left a lot to be desired when dealing with the speculative efforts.

    He had one rush of blood to the head when he came and missed a long ball midway through the first half and was lucky not to incur punishment for flattening Vladimir Dyadyun in the process.

    He could do little about the penalty and wasn't required to make any outstanding saves, but he wasn't at his commanding best throughout the evening.

Cesar Azpilicueta: 7.5

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    Whisper it quietly, but is there a better right-back around at the moment than Cesar Azpilicueta?

    The Spaniard spent most of his time on the front foot and got forward well without causing any real chaos, yet he still impressed defensively with Kazan posing a persistent threat on the break.

    The former Marseille man has the ability to always be in the right place at the right time, and the number of tackles, blocks, interceptions and clearances he makes is no fluke.

    I suspect he could form a decent partnership with whoever plays right wing. But with that person constantly changing, it's hard for Azpilicueta to forge any understanding, and as such his forward threat is somewhat reduced.

David Luiz: 7.5

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    Another solid display from David Luiz in what is becoming the rule rather than the exception.

    He set up the first goal for Torres with a sumptuous 50-yard through ball, and the rest of his distribution was pretty assured in an effective display overall.

    He coped with the pace and guile of Salomon Rondon without much fuss and was always looking to instigate attacks once he'd won possession.

    Luiz still has the odd moment where he flies forward uninvited,. In one instance in particular he gave the ball away deep in opposition territory with only minutes to go.

    That could have cost a goal against better teams, but he's still learning, and recent defensive strides should be noted by all.

John Terry: 7

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    The Chelsea skipper set the tempo early on with a couple of raking long balls which penned the visitors in, but he had to be on his toes to deal with some lively breaks thereafter.

    He was harshly penalised for the handball which led to the penalty, but some say it could be karma for the arsenal he's gotten away with down the years.

    The Kazan strikers didn't get much change from the 32-year-old, and his ball-playing from the back was just as impressive and effective as David Luiz's.

    He stood up to the pacy test of Rondon when he came on and was always a vocal presence during the precarious position of a two-goal lead.

Ryan Bertrand: 8

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    The England international will become a regular fixture over the next couple of weeks with Ashley Cole injured, and he got the ball rolling with an impressive display.

    Bertrand gave little encouragement to the Kazan wide players and snuffed out attacks with relative ease on more than one occasion.

    He also got forward with more panache than Cole, with his extra energy and enthusiasm carrying him back and forth into both halves.

    Sterner tests lie ahead, but Bertrand proved he is more than an able deputy to his senior partner.

Ramires: 7

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    Ramires was the more impressive of Chelsea's midfield two and wasn't helped by the performance of his partner.

    A mass of games in recent weeks didn't seem to hinder the indefatigable Brazilian, and there were plenty of the usual sights of him nipping in to nick balls away from opposition players.

    His passing was hit-and-miss, but he drove forward when given the opportunity and got back to cover ground as the visitors broke effectively.

    Still, too much of his best work comes when he doesn't have to think about things, but the game was played at a high enough tempo for that not to become an issue.

Frank Lampard: 5.5

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    It was a very poor showing from the Chelsea vice-captain, and one which won't do him any favours in his quest for a new contract.

    Lampard was a passenger for much of the tie, and his passing was poor when he was involved.

    He didn't get forward enough to have much of an effect, and for the first time in living memory, I cannot remember him having a shot during the game.

    He also looked off the pace in mopping up loose balls and dealing with the swift Russian counters, and he didn't atone for a similarly substandard showing against Southampton at the weekend.

Victor Moses: 7

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    He's not the most refined of creatures, but what Victor Moses lacks in grace he makes up for in effectiveness.

    I've been saying all season that Chelsea need to play one genuine winger to stretch the play, and the Nigerian was a regular outlet down the right flank as the Blues dominated the opening exchanges.

    A lack of action in recent weeks means he's tripping over his own feet too often, but he took his goal well and his pace and penetration always looked a threat.

    His final ball is still erratic and he gets caught in multiple minds when in dangerous positions, but his positioning is more beneficial for the team than the three of of Oscar, Hazard and Mata treading on each other's toes. I think he'll be a key asset during the run in.

Juan Mata: 8

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    It was business as usual from Chelsea's main man, but only after recovering from a sluggish start.

    He was caught out on a couple of occasions early on and strangely misplaced a few passes, but gradually he became more involved and was soon running the show.

    The Spanish maestro was always in space to receive and invariably did the right thing with it as he linked the whole production together.

    Mata was unlucky not to score just after the restart, but he floated over a delightful cross for Torres' second before being hooked for Oscar with 10 minutes to go.

Yossi Benayoun: 7

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    He's not a universally popular selection amongst the Chelsea faithful, but he justified his place with an astute showing.

    Benayoun grew into the game as it wore on and used the ball well on most occasions without doing anything too outstanding.

    Overall, the Israeli international did a decent job as the third spoke in the front three and linked well with Torres at times.

    He worked hard and tracked back throughout, and although he's not exactly a fan favourite, I'd be happy enough if he did more of the same when picked between now and the close.

Fernando Torres: 8.5

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    It was the sort of performance which makes you wonder if—and it's a big if—there is light at the end of the tunnel for the £50 million man.

    Torres was a hive of energy from the off and unsettled Kazan's back four with some intelligent running and determined hold-up play.

    He matched his commitment with some nifty footwork and looks reinvigorated of late following his late goal against Sparta Prague in this competition.

    Torres deserved the bit of luck which came his way for the first goal, and he rose superbly to power a header home for his second.

    All in all, he led the line with the sort of commitment and quality you'd want from your front man, and he could well be the difference between success and failure in multiple competitions this season.

Substitutes

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    Eden Hazard came on for Victor Moses just after the hour to illuminate proceedings with some delightful dribbles and always looked an outlet on the break as Chelsea hunted a fourth.

    Oscar replaced Juan Mata with just over 10 minutes to go, but he struggled to fit with the game stretched from end to end and largely went unnoticed.

    Marko Marin got a late run out at the expense of Yossi Benayoun, but he couldn't influence proceedings and was booked for halting a Kazan breakaway at the death.