Ben Chilwell was the only positive, while Cesar Azpilicueta and Jorginho disappointed as Chelsea suffered a 2-1 defeat to Aston Villa on Sunday.
The game was off to a cagey start, but Chelsea were largely in control of the proceedings, albeit without really troubling Emiliano Martinez in the Aston Villa goal. Ahead of half-time, though, the hosts ended up taking the lead against the run of play, as Bertrand Traore scored from close range to make it 1-0.
Things went from bad to worse early in the second half as Kepa Arrizabalaga first replaced Edouard Mendy at half-time due to an injury to the Senegalese goalkeeper. The Blues then let in a second goal after Jorginho gave away a penalty by bringing Traore down, with Anwar El Ghazi making no mistake in converting from the spot.
Thereafter, it was all Chelsea, as they pushed hard to mount a comeback and pulled a goal back in the 70th minute through Ben Chilwell, whose effort was thought to have been saved by Emiliano Martinez before he was awarded a goal thanks to goal-line technology. Chelsea remained in control in the final stages of the game, but could not manage to pull back on level terms.
In fact, the visitors’ woes worsened when Cesar Azpilicueta was sent off for a swipe on Jack Grealish, but in the end, the defeat did not manner one bit, as Leicester City’s defeat to Tottenham Hotspur meant that Chelsea clinched fourth spot on the table to secure automatic qualification to the UEFA Champions League. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Thomas Tuchel’s men.
Edouard Mendy: 6/10
There was precious little that Mendy had to do in the first half, with Aston Villa barely threatening. Not at fault for the first goal that Chelsea conceded either, but picked up an injury while trying to deny Bertrand Traore. Taken off at half-time, and is now a doubt to start the Champions League final next week.
Reece James: 6/10
In what appears to be his new nailed on position, James started as a centre-back again. The young Englishman was solid for the most part, marshaling Anwar El Ghazi smartly, winning 7 duels while completing 4 tackles. Completed 89 percent of his attempted passes as well, but his best qualities are utilised when he plays as a right wing-back, which is where he ought to be deployed in the European final.
Thiago Silva: 6/10
A nervy outing for Thiago Silva, who faced a few hairy moments against Ollie Watkins. However, the veteran Brazilian defender also made some critical interventions while winning 7 duels in all. Precise as ever with the ball at his feet as well, completing 93 percent of his attempted passes. Not the be blamed one bit for the defeat.
Antonio Rudiger: 6/10
A largely solid outing for Rudiger at the back, with the German international not being troubled a whole lot when Aston Villa did take the game to Chelsea. Won 2 duels and was hardly called into action. On the ball, he was efficient in recycling possession, completing 94 percent of the passes he attempted.
Cesar Azpilicueta: 4/10
CAPTAIN John Terry sent off in the UCL match before the #UCL Final.
— Chelsea Exeter TV (@ChelseaExeterTV) May 23, 2021
Once again deployed as a right wing-back, Azpilicueta was solid for the most part and spent a lot of time in the Aston Villa half. Sent in a few dangerous cross as well and played 2 key passes in all. But, the Chelsea captain was one of those culpable for the defeat, as he lost Traore in the build-up to the first goal. There was time for another forgettable moment as he was sent off for a swipe at Jack Grealish.
A game to forget for Jorginho, who was one of the catalyst in Chelsea’s defeat. One poorly weighted pass nearly gave Aston Villa a chance in the opening quarter of the game, but it was his foul to bring down Traore that killed the Blues’ hopes, with Anwar El Ghazi converting the penalty. Otherwise, the Italian international was typically precise with the ball at his feet, misplacing just two passes.
Mateo Kovacic: 5/10
Back in the starting lineup, Kovacic had a difficult game in which he looked off pace for the most part. Did seem to be everywhere at times and helped Chelsea retain control over the proceedings, but fatigue started to show early in the second half. Unlikely to start in the Champions League final.
Ben Chilwell: 7/10
One of the brightest sparks for Chelsea, Chilwell sent in some threatening deliveries from the left flank, playing a game-high 4 key passes in all. Gave Chelsea hopes of a comeback when he scored from close range, but was denied a second shortly after by Aston Villa goalkeeper Emi Martinez. Nevertheless, it was a positive display by the Englishman.
Ben Chilwell vs Aston Villa (A):
44 accurate passes (84.6%)
4 key passes
7/9 ground duels won
Immense performance. With every passing day his £50m price-tag becomes more justified. pic.twitter.com/NgSFURE61h
— ExpectedChelsea (@ExpectedChelsea) May 23, 2021
Mason Mount: 6/10
A game of hits and misses for Mount. While the Englishman was typically in the mood to make things happen, his output in front of goal was sub-par and he should have buried one of the better chances of the first half. Played 3 key passes and posed a creative threat, but this was one of the more forgettable games this season for Chelsea’s Player of the Year.
Timo Werner: 5/10
Yet another frustrating evening for Werner, who was denied by an offside call for the umpteenth time for Chelsea this season. The German international, though, impressed with his output on the ball once again, playing 3 key passes, but he really needs to up his game in front of goal, which is why he only gets a 5 here.
Christian Pulisic: 6/10
The Player to Watch in our preview, Pulisic flitted in and out of the game. When he did get a look-in, the USMNT international posed a great deal of threat, and it was he who ended up providing the assist for the goal that Chilwell scored. Might not have done enough to earn a start in the UEFA Champions League final next week, though.
Kepa Arrizabalaga: 6/10
On for Mendy at half-time, Kepa made a frustrating start to the second half, as he could not deny El Ghazi from the spot. Not called into action at all thereafter, with Chelsea in total control of the proceedings in the final 40 minutes or so. Did complete each of the passes he attempted, though.
Hakim Ziyech: 6/10
Sent on in place of Jorginho, Ziyech was decent enough in his came, although he did not see the ball nearly as much as another substitute, Kai Havertz. The Moroccan, though, was involved in the lead-up to the goal that Chilwell scored, playing Pulisic through before the American set the full-back up.
Kai Havertz: 6/10
On for Kovacic, Havertz was a bundle of energy in the final quarter of the game and came close to scoring on a couple of occasions. In the end, though, it was not to be for the German international despite his best efforts.