Chelsea vs. Tottenham: Rating Both Sets of Players
The race for the Premier League’s top four places remains as open as it can be at this stage of the season following Tottenham’s 2-2 draw at Chelsea.
Two of the biggest clubs in England right now, the duo naturally had a set of star-studded lineups on displays at Stamford Bridge, both of which been ranked out of 10 for the performance in West London.
All statistics provided courtesy of WhoScored.com.
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Sharing the goal count with Hugo Lloris, there was nothing Petr Cech could have done about Emmanuel Adebayor’s first equaliser that was struck superbly from long range.
Although strong when challenged, Cech’s distribution was slightly poor, sometimes struggling to find a figure among Chelsea’s attacking midfielders after perhaps choosing the wrong options at times.
Caught up in a wing battle opposite PFA Player of the Year Gareth Bale, Chelsea’s Spanish right-back was always going to have his work cut out for him in getting up and down his flank without leaving gaps at the back.
Contributing well in attack, Azpilicueta was exposed on several occasions and was at fault for allowing Emmanuel Adebayor to equalise in the first half after not closing down the Togolese forward quickly enough.
Ashley Cole had a relatively easy night as far as defending his flank was concerned, handling the speed of fellow England international Aaron Lennon well before the Tottenham player’s second-half substitution.
The first half saw Cole make two fairly vital challenges in withstanding the Spurs' threat, and with Eden Hazard tracking back to help out with defensive responsibilities, the 32-year-old was able to launch counterattacks to his heart’s content at times.
Branislav Ivanovic had a fairly quiet game from open play but presented Tottenham with a challenge from set pieces, often rising above his marker to challenge for high balls.
That being said, the Serbian could have done better in withstanding the threat of Emmanuel Adebayor and lacked communication with his defensive midfield in orchestrating the defence.
Helping his side get an lead early at Stamford Bridge, it was Gary Cahill that got a touch onto Juan Mata’s corner, providing Oscar with ample opportunity to finish from two yards out—an opportunity the young Brazilian took with glee.
Lining up alongside Branislav Ivanovic in central defence, the Englishman also provided good cover for his adventurous wing-backs and was especially successful in the aerial channels.
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Having featured at defensive midfield for a few games in a row now, David Luiz is really flourishing in his new duties and gave another well-rounded display in the draw against Tottenham.
Luiz holds a significant aerial advantage over his fellow central midfielders having played at centre-back for most of his career, providing Chelsea with a platform in the middle of the park—and one they can trust at that.
While defence and the breaking up of attacks remains the Brazilian’s main priority, Luiz got forward in his latest Stamford Bridge showing, allowing those around him to get into more dangerous positions as a result.
Functioning well with David Luiz in a midfield anchor, Ramires was again handed the more offensive responsibilities of the two and clearly enjoyed operating in a looser role.
The Brazilian international gratefully snapped up a pass laid ahead of him by Fernando Torres in the first half, accelerating magnificently past Tom Huddlestone and prodding past Hugo Lloris from just inside the Spurs box.
He received a yellow card for kicking the ball away late on.
Midway through the game against Spurs, Twitter rumours started to spring that this was Oscar’s 89th game in the past 12 months—but the Brazilian didn’t let it show and was arguably his side’s best player on the night.
@amoreliyah Exactly..and Oscar has played 89 games since last year..for a 21 year old its outrageous— Nawaz™ (@BlueNawaz) May 6, 2013
It was Oscar that opened the scoring inside 15 minutes, directing Gary Cahill’s nod past a helpless Hugo Lloris before posing even more of a threat on the Frenchman’s goal, getting both of his two shots on target.
Lining up on the right of Chelsea’s three-pronged midfield, the 21-year-old linked up well with Fernando Torres and found himself in some very dangerous positions on a very frequent basis.
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At the time of his second-half substitution, Eden Hazard was second only to Cesar Azpilicueta in terms of involvement at Stamford Bridge, taking 48 touches of the ball in his 71 minutes of action.
Just coming back from injury, what was perhaps most encouraging about the Belgian’s performance was not his contributions in attack, but his willingness to get back and help his defenders when needed, a trait he’s become known for in recent seasons.
Winning three dribbles, two tackles and finishing with one of the highest pass completion rates on 83 percent, Eden Hazard was one of the Blues’ more active participants, despite not actually finishing the game.
Although fluid in his passing as usual, Juan Mata didn’t quite have the same attacking guile as usual against Tottenham and was actually one of the quieter Blues attackers for once.
That being said, the Spaniard was involved in just about every Chelsea movement going forward at some point or another, involving himself well in attack and asserting his usual precision passing across the hosts’ offence.
Admittedly, Fernando Torres remains far from the same attacking threat he was three years ago, but the draw against Tottenham showed just how capable the striker can sometimes perform as a lone striker, acting more in provision than finishing himself.
It was Torres that threaded Ramires through on goal to make the score 2-1 in Chelsea’s favour, but the Chelsea trifecta of Mata, Hazard and Oscar is still the side’s most threatening aspect.
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Didn’t have as much success against Kyle Walker as Eden Hazard and, in the end, didn’t quite have enough time to assert any real difference on proceedings.
Came on to boos as the home fans blatantly thought it was Frank Lampard who was needed more.
Had little effect.
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Finishing the fixture with three saves to his name, Lloris was a valued figure in goal for Tottenham but could have perhaps hoped to pose more of a challenge to Ramires’ goal, rushing out slightly too late.
Despite being reliable in one-on-one situations, the Frenchman could have been more assured when coming to claim aerial balls, although he wasn’t helped by a shaky defence.
Oddly switching flanks on numerous occasions, Kyle Walker did a great job in covering not just his own flanks but also that of Benoit Assou-Ekotto when the Cameroonian was out of position.
Finishing with a passing accuracy of 92 percent, Walker used his superb pace to give Ashley Cole a serious run for his money at times and linked up well with Aaron Lennon before the speedster was pulled off in the second period.
A shaky performance at the back from the Cameroonian was offset by his contributions in attack that were of great value to his side.
Failing to make even one tackle against Chelsea, Assou-Ekotto and Azpilicueta engaged in an entertaining back-and-forth between wing-backs, ultimately ending in a stalemate.
The most experienced member of the Spurs defence, it’s Michael Dawson that a lot of the visitors’ faces will have been turning to for leadership at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday—and lead the England international did.
Even going as far as taking a bulleted Juan Mata shot directly in the mush at one stage, Dawson’s lack of pace means that his positioning talents were more needed than ever against a tricky Chelsea offence, but Dawson did well to keep the likes of Fernando Torres and Mata quiet.
Pulling off a match high of six individual tackles, it’s safe to say that Jan Vertonghen maintained his reputation as an elite defender against the Chelsea challenge, keeping the Blues' fearsome attacking threat at bay with ease.
The Belgian also managed to make 10 clearances, all the while preserving the highest passing rate of any player on the night, completing 93 percent of all passes.
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Arguably at fault for Chelsea’s second goal, Tom Huddlestone took his eye off his man for just a split second—a decision that Fernando Torres chose to exploit by sending Ramires through on Hugo Lloris’ goal.
However, the English pivot recovered well from his setback and took the second-highest amount of touches between both sets of players, combating the danger of Chelsea’s attacking midfielders well.
The more defensively inclined of Tottenham’s central midfielders, Scott Parker found himself slightly unnoticeable at times, despite completing 35 of his 41 passes.
However, the Spurs anchor failed to inject any real threat going forward and was merely deployed against Chelsea’s forwards in a restraining sense, coming away with three tackles and two clearances.
David Luiz listening as AVB gives instructions to Lewis Holtby! Hahahaha! twitter.com/AliMousawi17/s…— Ali Mousawi (@AliMousawi17) May 8, 2013
In just the fourth start of his Premier League career, Lewis Holtby was given an increased sense of attacking responsibility against Chelsea, ahead of the more central position he’s tended to take up since arriving at White Hart Lane in January.
However, the presence of David Luiz and Ramires often proved too much for the former Schalke star to overcome and his impression was substantially limited as a result.
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With Ashley Cole providing a stern defensive presence for the Blues and Eden Hazard doing his bit at the back for Rafa Benitez’s side, Aaron Lennon found it tough to find the necessary space against Chelsea in order to utilise his immense pace.
Before coming off for Gylfi Sigurdsson in the 62nd minute, Lennon took a total of 23 touches, committing one foul and struggling to have any real impact on the game.
Having his characteristically significant say on matters against big opposition, Gareth Bale’s trip to Stamford Bridge saw the Welshman pose a large threat to the Chelsea defence and unsurprisingly so.
Bale had four shots, the most of any Spurs player, completing two successful dribbles but also performing well in a defensive aspect, completing three tackles.
Switching from left to right wings, Bale was a constant figure in providing ammunition for his teammates and proved to be a major thorn in Cesar Azpilicueta’s side for decent portions of the match.
More used to playing as part of a one-man strike force, Emmanuel Adebayor gave both Demba Ba and Fernando Torres a lesson as to how they really should be doing their job with a terrific display in West London.
Undoubtedly, it’ll be Adebayor’s equaliser, a goal that saw him stride forth from halfway unopposed by the Blues defence before stroking expertly into the top left corner of Petr Cech’s goal from all of 25 yards.
If that wasn’t enough, the lanky frontman then provided Benoit Assou-Ekotto with a fine target before Adebayor laid the ball on a plate for Gylfi Sigurdsson to make the score 2-2, once again playing his part in a Tottenham goal.
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Although the “Iceman” was a star player at Swansea City, Gylfi Sigurdsson has had to settle for more of a supersub role at White Hart Lane, a reputation he lived up to at Stamford Bridge.
The Iceland international coolly struck home Spurs’ second after being fed by Emmanuel Adebayor, earning his side a very vital point in the meantime.
Taking only 10 touches after coming on for Lewis Holtby, Dempsey failed to get as involved after lining up behind Emmanuel Adebayor. Ineffective.
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