Chelsea player ratings and what we learned: Ziyech a shining light and forwards fill their boots vs Krasnodar

James Robson
·4-min read
REUTERS
REUTERS

By the time Callum Hudson-Odoi broke the deadlock in Russia, Frank Lampard won’t have cared how it came.

Staring down the barrel of fifth consecutive 45 minutes without a goal, Chelsea’s calamitous opener could be filed in the category of “they all count.”

And by the time Christian Pulisic completed a 4-0 win over Krasnodar, concerns over Lampard’s misfiring forward line were well and truly put to bed.

The emphatic score line may have flattered Chelsea, but here was an example of the attacking power they possess.

Hakim Ziyech – starting for the first time since his move from Ajax – was the shining light on a very positive night for Chelsea.

The Morocco winger was the most creative force on the pitch – the greatest goal threat.

(REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

He duly found the back of the net with 11 minutes left as part of a late goal flurry from the visitors.

Timo Werner had all but killed off Krasnodar’s challenge with a 76th-minute penalty after the home side had given Chelsea a number of uncomfortable moments, including hitting the bar when 1-0 down.

But considering Jorginho missed a first-half spot-kick, it was a richly-deserved victory that sends Chelsea to the top of Champions League Group E.

Lampard shook up his attack, playing Hudson-Odoi and Ziyech either side of Kai Havertz behind Werner.

Three of those four found the back of the net – and Chelsea can already count 13 different scorers this season.

At the back Antonio Rudiger was recalled to the starting XI for first time since the FA Cup final in the absence of the rested Thiago Silva.

Lampard had warned against taking Krasnodar lightly, but will have known qualification from the group stages would be made considerably more difficult if his side couldn’t secure maximum points against the Russians.

A 0-0 against Sevilla was a solid start – but failure to build on that with a win against the underdogs of the group would have undone the good work from Matchday One.

Yet it quickly became clear Krasnodar posed a threat. The home side were quick to show their threat early on with two breaks within five minutes - Daniil Utkin forcing a fingertip save from Edouard Mendy.

Chelsea dominated possession, but the majority of the chances went Krasnodar’s way.

The visitors should have taken the lead after 13 minutes when Werner was brought down by Kaio in the box.

Jorginho stepped up and sent the Matvey Safonov the wrong way – but saw the ball come back off the post and hit the keeper before eventually being cleared.

(AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Hudson-Odoi’s breakthrough was a welcome relief, but was an absolute gift. Safonov got his scuffed shot completely wrong, allowing it to bobble out of his hands and over line.

After the break Chelsea enjoyed luck at the other end when Yuri Gazinskiy’s volley struck the bar with Mendy beaten.

Just as the game looked like heading towards a tense finish, substitute Christian Pulisic had a shot blocked by Aleksandr Martynovic. The ball inadvertently hit the Krasnodar defender’s hand and a second penalty was awarded.

With Jorginho off the pitch, Werner stepped up and smashed home.

(AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Ziyech then scored the pick of the goals – squeezing a shot into the far corner with three defenders trying to crowd him out.

Pulisic got in on the action right at the death to round off a near-perfect night for Lampard.

Do Chelsea have a new man on the spot?

(AP)
(AP)

So often Chelsea’s Mr Reliable, Jorginho has now missed two penalties this season to prompt debate over whether it’s time to take him off spot kick duties.

Werner has certainly given Lampard a decision to make after smashing home from 12 yards when Aleksandr Martynovich was penalised for handling in the box.

Would Jorginho have been given the chance to make amends if he hadn’t already been substituted?

Stepping up from 12 yards with skip and a jump in the first half, the Italian didn’t look like his miss against Liverpool last month was playing on his mind. He oozed confidence and was successful in sending Safonov the wrong way – only see the ball come back off the post.

Lampard clearly had enough faith in him to keep him as Chelsea’s No1 penalty taker – but that position is under greater threat now than at any other in recent memory.

Lampard couldn’t ignore Rudiger

(REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

The idea of leaving Antonio Rudiger languishing on the fringes was never a viable option for Lampard.

Neither player nor manager expected him to still be at the club by now, but the centre back is just too good to ignore.

Especially with Lampard acknowledging the need to carefully manage Thiago Silva’s game time at the age of 36.

Rudiger might just be the ideal cover for the Brazilian as a leader and vocal figure in the dressing room.

Player ratings

Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Mendy; Azpilicueta 8, Zouma 7, Rudiger 7, Chilwell 6 (Emerson, 80); Jorginho 6 (Kante, 71 ), Kovacic 6 (Mount, 71 ); Ziyech 8 (Abraham, 80), Havertz, Hudson-Odoi 7 (Pulisic, 71 ); Werner 7

Star man: Hakim Ziyech – on his first start, he’s picked up his first goal after a performance full of menace

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