Player ratings as Chelsea take a major step towards qualifying for the UEFA Champions League next season, defeating Leicester City 2-1 at Stamford Bridge.
Having lost to Leicester City in the FA Cup finals only three days ago, Chelsea looked like they meant business from the word-go. Indeed, they were all over the visitors, keeping them pegged back in their own half for long stretches.
Timo Werner put the ball into the back of the net twice but the goal did not stand each time, once for offside and once for handball. The German also had a valid penalty shout turned down while the likes of Mason Mount and Christian Pulisic also caused problems. Two minutes after the break, though, Chelsea were up and running as Antonio Rudiger turned home a corner from Ben Chilwell.
Twenty minutes later, the Blues were two goals to the good as Werner was once again fouled in the box, with the penalty being awarded this time out and Jorginho made no mistake from the spot. Leicester were sparked into life after this as substitute Kelechi Iheanacho pulled one back in the 76th minute to set up a nervy finish.
Leicester had a great chance to draw level on the 90th minute mark but Ayoze Perez blazed over the bar, as Chelsea held on for a narrow win, which sees them move to the third spot in the table, four points clear of Liverpool in fifth, while Leicester slip down to fourth and could slide down to fifth if the Reds beat Burnley on Wednesday night.
Here are our player ratings for both Chelsea and Leicester stars in what was a gripping encounter at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.
Edouard Mendy: 6.5/10
Reinstated to the lineup after being benched for the cup final, the Senegalese was not called into action a great deal on the night but was alert whenever he needed to be. Could have done little to stop Iheanacho’s strike, though. Impressed with composure on the ball and ability to pick out teammates when the Foxes pressed him.
Reece James: 7.5/10
Another game where he started as the right-sided wing-back in order to deal with the threat of Jamie Vardy, and he did so again, ensuring that the veteran striker hardly had a sniff. Dealt well with crosses and long balls, was good in possession and also chose to drove forward when his team were on the front foot. Impressive.
Thiago Silva: 7/10
The pass into Mateo Kovacic leading up to Leicester’s goal aside, the veteran defender was solid yet again. Hardly gave an inch to the Leicester attackers, kept his defence organized and was sharp with his distribution. Won six aerial duels and came to scoring in the first half, heading over from a set-piece.
Antonio Rudiger: 8/10
Antonio Rüdiger’s game by numbers vs. Leicester City:
86% pass accuracy
6 ball recoveries
4 attempted tackles
2 successful tackles
An eventful evening for the CB. 🇩🇪 pic.twitter.com/yKqkx8BJFr
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) May 18, 2021
Aggressive from the get-go, the German international was strong in his challenges, setting the tone for Chelsea’s early dominance. Pushed forward with the ball whenever the opportunity presented itself, while hardly giving Ayoze Perez any breathing space. Got his team up and running with a smart finish. A solid display all around from Rudiger. A new contract surely should be in the works now.
Cesar Azpilicueta: 7/10
Slotting in at right wing-back again, the Chelsea skipper spent most of the first period holed up inside the Leicester half and helped his team stay on the front foot with his accurate passing. Sound defensively throughout, especially in the second half when the Foxes threatened a comeback. Made a couple of key passes.
N’Golo Kante: 7/10
Lasted just thirty minutes on the pitch before he had to be taken off with an injury but was a force to be reckoned with in that half hour as he harried the Leicester players aggressively, drove forward with purpose and even forced Kasper Schmeichel into a save. Chelsea fans will be hoping that he is okay, with the Champions League final just ten days away.
Jorginho has now scored more Premier League goals this season (7) than he managed in his first two seasons combined (6).
The penalties help. 😅 pic.twitter.com/ZgyQB7Y0LW
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) May 18, 2021
After two poor performances against Arsenal and Leicester in the FA Cup final, the Italian stepped up on Tuesday night. Solid in his defensive duties, making three tackles and two interceptions, purposeful on the ball as he looked to set a quick tempo with his passing while also making two key passes. Nerveless penalty to make it 2-0.
Ben Chilwell: 7/10
A low cross/shot early in the game fizzed just past the post. A threat with his crosses and deliveries from set-pieces while remaining responsible in his defensive duties throughout. Fired the corner from which Rudiger found the back of the net.
Mason Mount: 7.5/10
The newly-crowed Chelsea Player of the Year was lively from the kick-off, taking the game to Leicester, with driving runs into the box. Tested Schmeichel with a fine effort and set Pulisic up for a chance after a brilliant nutmeg and run in the first half. Carried on in the same vein of form after the break, finishing with two key passes.
Christian Pulisic: 6.5/0
Back into the starting XI after not featuring in the cup tie from the off, the USMNT international offered good movement at the top and linked up fairly well. However, his end product and decision-making were a letdown as he wasn’t able to capitalise on some of the chances that came his way.
Timo Werner: 8/10
Great turn and run before setting Chilwell up for an early chance. Unlucky not to have won a penalty in the first period while he also had a couple of goals chalked off, rightly. Continued to pose a threat to the Leicester backline after the break with his pace and won the penalty from which Jorginho scored to make it 2-0. Made one key pass. Deserved a goal for his performance.
Timo Werner has won more penalties (5) than any other player in the Premier League this season.
A handful in the box. ⚠️ pic.twitter.com/JA2BK8evSz
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) May 18, 2021
Mateo Kovacic: 6/10
Replaced Kante to make his first appearance in over a month. Played some nice passes forward but was guilty of getting caught on the ball leading to Leicester’s only goal of the game. Did make four dribbles and four tackles, while also completing one key pass.
Kurt Zouma: N/A
On for Azpilicueta in the 89th minute.
Olivier Giroud: N/A
Stoppage time substitute for Werner.
Kasper Schmeichel: 6/10
Looked like he would carry on from where he left off in the cup final, making two good stops in the first half. Not a lot he could have done to stop Rudiger’s shot while was beaten easily by Jorginho’s penalty.
Timothy Castagne: 6/10
The Belgian started as the right-sided centre-back yet again and did not look out of place for the majority of the proceedings. Made a few crucial clearances and interceptions but needed to be more accurate with his passing.
Wesley Fofana: 4/10
Fofana struggling with Werner
— Dub (@Cfc_Dub) May 18, 2021
A difficult outing for one of the standout performers for Leicester in the FA Cup final. Werner caused him a lot of problems, while Fofana was also guilty of not picking Rudiger up for the first goal before conceding the penalty for the second.
Caglar Soyuncu: 6/10
Strong in the air, the Turkish international won eight of the nine aerial duels he contested in and effected five clearances as well in what was a whole-hearted display. Not at fault for either goal.
Marc Albrighton: 5/10
Worked hard on the right side but had his hands full with the lively Ben Chilwell, which meant that he wasn’t able to have much of an impact in the attacking side of things. Created no chance.
Youri Tielemans: 5/10
How has Timo Werner not been given a penalty by VAR?? 🤷🏽♂️🤷🏽♂️🤷🏽♂️ pic.twitter.com/Ei39INEZDN
— Jonathan Walters (@JonWalters19) May 18, 2021
The match-winner for Leicester in the FA Cup final, the Belgian was nowhere near that level on Tuesday night. Sloppy on the ball, he completed just 69 percent of his passes and while he did make a game-high five tackles, he couldn’t help contain Chelsea’s threat. Lucky not to have conceded a penalty in the first half for a clear foul on Werner.
Wilfred Ndidi: 5.5/10
Not good enough in the first half as the likes of Jorginho and Kante overran him with ease. Another player who was culpable for not picking up Rudiger for the opening goal. Did somewhat redeem himself by regaining possession to set Iheanacho up for the goal.
Luke Thomas: 5/10
Kept pinned down in his own half for the majority of the game, meaning he could hardly make any notable contribution going forward. Not always solid at the back either, even though he did make three tackles and an interception. Inexperience showed at times.
James Maddison: 4/10
Chelsea fans: 'You're just a s— Mason Mount'
James Maddison trudging disconsolately around pitch after being subbed: *mimes lifting the FA Cup*
— Sam Wallace (@SamWallaceTel) May 18, 2021
Reinstated to the lineup as the No. 10, Maddison’s performance was in stark contrast with Chelsea’s attacking midfielder Mason Mount on the night. Hardly did anything of note, managed just 18 touches of the ball and created no chance or took no shot before making way for Iheanacho around the hour mark.
Ayoze Perez: 4/10
Not involved a great deal as Leicester were defending for a lot of the game. Had one big chance come his way late in the game when he could have salvaged a point for his side but shot over.
Jamie Vardy: 4/10
Starved of service on the night, as a result was hardly able to pose a goal-threat. Had a chance from a corner which he sent wide. Just 15 touches and seven completed passes all game.
Kelechi Iheanacho: 7/10
Surprisingly benched for the game, the Nigerian replaced Maddison at the hour mark and livened things up for Leicester at the top. Good, composed finish to find the back of the net and offer a glimmer of hope of a comeback.
Kelechi Ịheanachọ is the first player to score a Premier League goal on every day of the week in the same season:
The Craig David special. 🙌 pic.twitter.com/rrWWTwIsvq
— William Hill (@WilliamHill) May 18, 2021
Ricard Pereira: 5/10
On for Albrighton in the 67th minute. Provided energy but wasn’t able to make an impact. Booked.