Romelu Lukaku and Hakim Ziyech were on target while Mason Mount starred as Chelsea defeated Middlesbrough 2-0 in the FA Cup quarter-finals on Saturday.
Chelsea were up against a Middlesbrough side that had already eliminated Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur from the FA Cup this season. But the Blues made a positive start at the Riverside Stadium, with Mason Mount looking lively from the off. After creating a chance for Christian Pulisic early on, the academy graduate produced a cross into the six-yard box, which Romelu Lukaku tucked away to make it 1-0 in the 15th minute.
After going in front, Chelsea allowed Boro to get on the front foot for a brief period, but the hosts failed to hit back. Hakim Ziyech doubled the Premier League giants’ lead with a fierce strike from outside the box, with Mount again getting the assist. Chelsea could have killed off the tie close to half-time, but Lukaku was denied by a brilliant off-the-line clearance by Anfernee Dijksteel.
The second half was a mellow affair, with neither team threatening as much, even though Middlesbrough showed plenty of endeavour to try and mount a comeback. There were a couple of chances for Chelsea late on as Timo Werner saw a shot saved by Joe Lumley and had another effort blocked. Boro sent in one or two tricky crosses at the other end, but the Blues held on for a comfortable victory.
It was yet another positive display from Thomas Tuchel’s men despite the uncertainties and distractions created by the club’s situation. Here are our player ratings for the Chelsea stars after a well-deserved win against the Teessiders.
Chelsea Player Ratings
Edouard Mendy: 6/10
A spectator for most of the evening, the Chelsea goalkeeper was hardly called into action, especially in the first half. Mendy was alert to a few crosses from the byline late in the game to keep Middlesbrough from scoring.
Cesar Azpilicueta: 6.5/10
The Chelsea skipper slotted in at right-back in Chelsea’s four-man backline and had a comfortable outing. He defended well, for the most part, making a few crucial interventions to cut out attacks. Azpilicueta also got forward in support of Ziyech, but not regularly enough.
Thiago Silva: 8/10
The veteran Brazilian makes everything he does look so easy. Silva did not put a foot wrong throughout the game as he was always popping up in the right place at the right time to deny Boro a clear sight of Chelsea’s goal. His passing from the back was also top-class.
Thiago Silva vs Middlesbrough
• 109 touches
• 95% pass accuracy
• 100% tackes won
• 9 recoveries
• 100% aerial duels won
• 8 accurate long balls
Magnificent 🔥 pic.twitter.com/jIwmcP9iqo
— 🌊 (@Vintage_Cfc) March 19, 2022
Antonio Rudiger: 7/10
The German international, who could be on his way to Juventus in the summer, was rock solid in defence as usual, not letting anything get past him on Saturday. He also made a few forward forays while showing good composure on the ball.
Malang Sarr: 6/10
The Frenchman was deployed at left-back over Marcos Alonso, and he did not start well, with Middlesbrough getting the better of him on a few occasions early in the game. However, he got better with time and kept things tight, but did not offer much going forward on the flank.
Mateo Kovacic: 7/10
The senior midfielder on the pitch for Chelsea, Kovacic was full of energy and effort at the Riverside Stadium. The Croatian did a lot of good work off the ball to keep the hosts quiet and offered quality on the ball as well. His driving run forward started the move for the second goal.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek: 6/10
Starting alongside Kovacic in the double pivot, Loftus-Cheek had a nervy start to the game and conceded possession in dangerous areas on a couple of occasions. However, he settled down with time and grew more confident, which was visible in the way he carried the ball upfield and made progressive passes.
Hakim Ziyech: 8/10
𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝙬𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙨𝙩𝙧𝙞𝙠𝙚𝙨 𝙖𝙜𝙖𝙞𝙣 🪄
— Emirates FA Cup (@EmiratesFACup) March 19, 2022
A fine, all-round performance from the Moroccan international, who looked lively from the off. Ziyech played a hand in the buildup to the opening goal, playing a through ball for Mount, who assisted Lukaku. He then made it 2-0 with a fine effort to win it for Chelsea. The former Ajax man also worked hard off the ball and helped out defensively.
Mason Mount: 8.5/10
The best player on the pitch at the Riverside Stadium, Mount was critical to Chelsea coming out on top. Most of the positive moves that the Blues created went through the Englishman, as he fashioned a chance for Pulisic early on before setting Lukaku up for the goal. The Chelsea academy product also got the assist for Ziyech’s strike and created a late opportunity for Werner. He is slowly getting back to his best.
Mason Mount has 4 assists and 1 goal in his last 3 starts for Chelsea…
𝐊𝐞𝐲 𝐦𝐚𝐧. 🌟 pic.twitter.com/wY62K3MYpp
— LDN (@LDNFootbalI) March 19, 2022
Christian Pulisic: 6/10
Not the most impactful of displays from the USMNT international. Pulisic just about failed to get on the end of a cross from Mount early on and made a couple of driving runs. But he was largely a peripheral figure for Chelsea on the evening.
Romelu Lukaku: 7/10
Having fallen behind Kai Havertz in the pecking order, Lukaku got a chance to redeem himself on Saturday. He did not waste his opportunity, putting Chelsea in front with a simple tap-in. The Belgian could have had a second later in the first half after he rounded Lumley, but was denied by Dijksteel. He was not involved heavily but did his job and held up the ball well at the top.
Timo Werner: 5/10
On for Pulisic in the 68th minute, Werner had two good chances to get his name on the scoresheet but could not make them count.
N’Golo Kante: 6/10
Kante replaced Kovacic with a little more than twenty minutes left. Did his job.
The Brazilian got a rare run-out when he replaced Ziyech in the 80th minute.
Harvey Vale: N/A
Late substitute for Lukaku.