Rating the Chelsea Players Against Aston Villa

Joe KrishnanContributor IMay 11, 2013

Rating the Chelsea Players Against Aston Villa

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    It was a cagey encounter to say the least, but one thing that we can always guarantee when Aston Villa play Chelsea is that there will be goals and drama. This fixture did not disappoint.

    While there was a distinct lack of quality in the game, Aston Villa would have been content to take home a point at the start, bu, leading 1-0 over 10-man Chelsea, they failed to make the advantage pay off, as Chelsea clawed back.

    After the lunchtime kickoff, let's take a look at how Rafa Benitez's side fared against Paul Lambert's relegation-threatened side.

    All ratings are marked out of 10, and any statistics used are courtesy of WhoScored.com.

GK: Petr Cech

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    Normally such a presence in between the sticks, Cech had a game to forget against Aston Villa.

    Despite conceding just the one goal, he was rarely tested, but he will be disappointed about the manner in which Aston Villa scored the opener.

    After Christian Benteke broke forward and raced past Gary Cahill, Cech confronted the Belgium international, but got his positioning all wrong, leaving his front post exposed as the talented forward coolly slotted his effort past him.

    Aside from his slight error, the Czech Republic keeper did look comfortable throughout and made a fine stop to deny Ashley Westwood with a thunderous half-volley.

    Not his best game in a Chelsea shirt, but once again Cech looked assured as ever in goal. 

    Rating: 6.0/10

RB: Cesar Azpilicueta

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    Since his £7 million move from Marseille, Cesar Azpilicueta has experienced a significant rise in his reputation at Chelsea.

    But after keeping his place at right-back for the game against Aston Villa, the Spaniard will know he can perform better after facing up against Gabriel Agbonlahor.

    The England international used his pace and skill to confuse Azpilicueta, and the former Osasuna man will be disappointed with his lack of bite in the tackle.

    Although he is mostly known for surging forward, he was left high up the pitch with Christian Benteke and must take responsibility for not tracking back.

    In the second half, he made a slight improvement and was undoubtedly aided by Benteke's sending off, which saw Agbonlahor switch to centre-forward, allowing the Spain international to attack down the right hand side.

    Rating: 6.0/10

CB: Gary Cahill

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    The inconsistency of Gary Cahill this season has been frustrating for Chelsea fans this season, and after a decent performance against Tottenham, he showed his vulnerability in defense.

    Cahill knows that he made a mistake for the opener along with Petr Cech and will feel his position is under threat for the Europa League final as a result.

    The former Bolton man was turned far too easily by the majestic Christian Benteke, and as the Belgian fired home, it marked the beginning of a difficult afternoon for the England international.

    Like the majority of his teammates, the 27-year-old did improve in the second half, making a significant block against Gabriel Agbonlahor to deny him a goalscoring opportunity.

    Goal-line technology was again the major headline as Cahill's effort was clawed brilliantly off the line by Ashley Westwood, although replays showed that the whole ball may have crossed the line.

    Either way, it was an unspectacular show against his former club, and he will be hoping it doesn't cost him a place on Wednesday.

    Rating: 6.0/10 

CB: John Terry

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    If John Terry needed a performance to show he deserves to play in the Europa League final, he certainly gave 100 percent against Aston Villa.

    The club captain showed great leadership and was a commanding presence in the air, although there is an indication that perhaps he is struggling to keep up with the pace of the game.

    Having to deal with quick strikers such as Christian Benteke and Gabriel Agbonlahor is never an easy task, but the former England man looked assured as ever.

    Terry's afternoon was cut short as he landed awkwardly in the Aston Villa penalty area, with a twisted ankle the likely diagnosis of the injury.

    It means it will be touch and go for the 32-year-old to be named in the Europa League lineup, but if he is fit, he could be a contender after a solid showing.

    Rating: 7.0/10

LB: Ashley Cole

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    Signs of decline in Ashley Cole's performances may have been quashed against Tottenham, but the 32-year-old, like his teammates, knows he needs to step up his defensive efforts.

    Up against Andreas Weimann for a large proportion of the game, Cole kept the Austrian quiet for some parts, although it seems the Blues' long season may be getting the better of the jaded left-back.

    Still showing signs of his attacking instinct, however, it was Cole's lovely flick to Eden Hazard which set up Frank Lampard's winner, and the 100-cap England man will be happy with his contribution.

    A fairly average performance for the ex-Arsenal man, he rarely puts a foot wrong and showed his consistency once again.

    Rating: 6.5/10 

MC: Ramires

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    Usually he keeps a cool head in the midfield, but the Brazilian midfielder Ramires will be thankful for Frank Lampard saving his blushes after receiving a very early bath.

    After earning a yellow card for a late challenge on Christian Benteke, the 26-year-old tested Lee Mason's patience all throughout the first half and finally went a step too far when he raised his boot towards an Aston Villa player.

    Despite making minimal contact, it was a silly decision from the former Benfica man to go in for the tackle and deserved to receive his first red card of the season.

    Sloppy in possession and misplacing passes, it was a game to forget for a player usually so crucial to Chelsea's play. He will be grateful that his side rallied impressively from 1-0 down to win the game and will no doubt be making his apologies for his rash challenge.

    Rating: 5.0/10

MC: Frank Lampard

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    It was a day that he will cherish for the rest of his career. Why? Because Frank Lampard not only equaled Bobby Tambling's all-time goalscoring record at Chelsea. He broke it with a last-gasp winner.

    Christian Benteke's sending off gave Chelsea a lifeline after Ramires' earlier dismissal, and after receiving the ball from Eden Hazard, Lampard moved inside and unleashed a trademark piledriver into the far corner.

    That was his 202nd goal as a Chelsea player, but if anything, his 203rd was even more special.

    With the game heading towards a stalemate, Chelsea needed a win to all but guarantee Champions League football, Hazard played a lovely one-two with Ashley Cole. The Belgian played a great ball in to the onrushing Lampard who smashed home from six yards.

    Emotions ran high and it was clear just how much the goal meant to Lampard, who dedicated the goal to his late mother Pat by pointing to the sky.

    An incredible performance from the midfield veteran, but what would be more incredible is if Chelsea opt not to give him a new deal after this stunning show.

    Rating: 9.0/10 (Man of the Match)

AMR: Victor Moses

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    Handed a rare start ahead of Brazilian starlet Oscar, it was a prime opportunity for Victor Moses to shine ahead of Wednesday's Europa League final. 

    But the Nigeria star failed to make an impression, appearing to lack the extra yard of sharpness, which enables him to cause havoc on the wing. 

    His chances were limited in the first half as Chelsea struggled to maintain momentum, and after Ramires was sent off, there were no prizes for guessing who would be withdrawn as the Blues changed shape.

    Rating: 5.5/10

AMC: Juan Mata

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    After such an impressive performance against Manchester United and a superb season overall, Juan Mata is allowed to have an 'off game' like any other player.

    Certainly, the Spain international looked jaded and lacked the creativity he has shown so many times this season.

    But if anything, when his side went down to 10 men, Mata sprung to life. He kept alive Chelsea's opportunity for a goal when he passed to Eden Hazard, and despite not being credited for the assist, he will know he played a part once again.

    As ever, his passing was consistent and almost got his assist for a splendid pass to Demba Ba. Despite not putting in the vintage performance we are used to seeing, he was solid in the playmaker role.

    Rating: 6.5/10


AML: Eden Hazard

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    As ever, Eden Hazard provided the spark Chelsea needed to shift up a gear and gain a priceless win, with the Belgian having a major part in both goals.

    Hazard was outstanding on the left hand side, causing American full-back Eric Lichaj all sorts of problems and was very positive in attack, attempting several dribbles throughout the game.

    His pass found Frank Lampard who scored the equalizer, and a lovely one-two with Ashley Cole before drilling a ball into the area set up Lampard again.

    The £32 million man would have been devastated at the fact he came off with a suspected hamstring injury and could miss the Europa League final.

    From this display, Chelsea very much need the 22-year-old against Benfica. A superb performance from an outstanding player.

    Rating: 8.5/10

ST: Demba Ba

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    Many Chelsea fans would have been interested to see whether Demba Ba could help send Chelsea through to Champions League qualification. On this performance, the answer would be no.

    Ba has struggled to hit top form since his £7 million January move from Newcastle, with just six goals in 21 games for the Blues.

    The powerful forward was kept quiet by Ron Vlaar and Nathan Baker and never looked like causing much trouble.

    He had a golden chance to equalize for Chelsea, but saw his effort smothered by Brad Guzan.

    As he is ineligible for the Europa League final, Ba will be desperate to grab a goal to end the season on a high against Everton at Stamford Bridge.

    Rating: 5.5/10

Substitutions

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    David Luiz (on for Moses, 45 mins)

    The Brazilian international was rested for the Europa League final on Wednesday, but would've been satisfied with his performance after coming on for Victor Moses at halftime. Deputizing in midfield, Luiz looked assured as always on the ball, and his passes out to the flanks stretched Aston Villa's defense. 

    Rating: 7.0/10

     

    Branislav Ivanovic (on for, Terry 75 mins)

    Another player seemingly rested for the final, Ivanovic's involvement was more necessary as John Terry came off with an ankle injury. The Serb was solid as always in the centre half position and managed to make some crucial interventions to protect his side's 2-1 lead.

    Rating: 6.5/10

     

    Fernando Torres (on for Ba, 85 mins)

    Without much time to make an impact, Rafa Benitez threw on his trusted Spaniard in an attempt to grab a late goal. The 29-year-old showed a desire to work to retrieve the ball and will be delighted to start the Europa League final on Wednesday.

    Rating: 6.0/10