Brilliant Caballero, Disappointing Morata – The best and the worst rated Chelsea players vs Norwich

Willy Caballero

Final Score: Chelsea 1-1 Norwich City (Chelsea won 5-3  on penalties)

Chelsea edged past Norwich City in the replay of the FA Cup game at Stamford Bridge in a game that consisted of a galore of key events, a late equaliser and a nerve-wracking penalty shootout. The match ended 1-1 after the extra time break and the Blues converted all their spot kicks in the shootout to seal their berth for the 4th round. Penalties ended 5-3 as the likes of uncharacteristic natural finishers such as N’Golo Kante and Cesar Azpilicueta stepped up to convert and send the Canaries packing.

After four draws in a row in 2018, the home side started off the first 15 minutes with a bang, firing on all cylinders where they could have easily scored a couple. As the game went on, the Championship side gained confidence and almost hurt Chelsea, with the post saving the Champions of England on one occasion. In the second half, Michy Batshuayi broke the deadlock.

Pedro and Alvaro Morata saw red cards, both of them having received their first yellow for simulation in front of goal. Daniel Farke’s team got bodies forward as the game went on and Jamal Lewis found the answers in the final minute of stoppage time, which somewhat proved to be the start of an array of eventful moments for either side. Also to add, VAR wasn’t referred to by the referee, which almost caused havoc from all Chelsea players after the end of ET.

Thankfully to their liking, they survived a late scare after being reduced to nine men. The Blues play Newcastle United in the next round of this competition.

Chelsea Player Ratings

Willy Caballero: 9/10

Involved in a mix up with Azpilicueta but was comfortable all evening. The veteran proved to be the hero in the end.

Ethan Ampadu: 8.5/10

Didn’t move from his position, barely put a foot wrong. The 17-year-old is a real prospect for the future as he showed maturity and all his quality at the back.

David Luiz: 4/10

Switched off at the last minute which gave Norwich the equaliser and Antonio Conte the headaches. The best finisher in the penalty shootout, though.

Cesar Azpilicueta: 8/10

Strong and dependable as ever, the captain of the night tracked the oppositions down and was aerially the best on the pitch without a doubt.

Davidé Zappacosta: 8/10

The Italian was always a willing runner who worked hard for all 120 minutes. His deliveries too were of first rate.

Danny Drinkwater: 5/10

Drinkwater gave away the ball in dangerous positions and was very slow at times. Not disciplined at all but struck the post once, which was some shot.

Tiemoue Bakayoko: 4/10

Another horror show from the 23-year-old. He seems to lack the urgency in his game as he proved to be a lazy player, a ball watcher who let things be as they were for Norwich City without pressing or intercepting anything.

Kenedy: 7.5/10

Considering the fact that he doesn’t even feature in a PL Matchday squad, Kenedy stepped up to the occasion. He provided the assist for their only goal and was much better defensively. The Elastico nutmegging incident by him got the crowd on their feet.

Willian: 8/10

Very involved, always willing to be in the mix. Willian linked up well with Hazard and showed his sharpness in dribbling.

Pedro: 3/10

Silly tackle after he was forced to play the semi-defensive role at wing-back. Pedro’s dive was rather witless. He lacked the zip in his dribbling, apart from two moments where he almost tore apart the Norwich midfield.

Michy Batshuayi: 6/10

Another horrible performance by the Belgian. He came into the game low on confidence but barely had any movement. He was always behind the defender, didn’t judge passes well or hold the ball well. Batshuayi gave the Chelsea the lead though, which was a fine finish from close range.

Substitutes

Alvaro Morata: 1/10

Yet again, missed a tap-in from Pedro’s cross and a simple header off Christensen’s pass. Foolishly, he simulated inside the box, for which he received a yellow. In spite of having gone to ground when he was ahead of the defender, he raised his arms against the referee and questioned him, which proved to be the end of his outing. How unprofessional!

Andreas Christensen: 8/10

Excellent defending, like he’s done all season. He kept Murphy up in wraps since being brought on. The Dane surged forward and aided the attackers too.

N’Golo Kante: 7.5/10

Good tackling and more importantly, acceleration was key to his game. He carried the ball forward many a time.

Eden Hazard: 7/10

Drove in well but lacked the conviction and final touch, which was surprising. His link-up play helped Chelsea keep the attack flowing.

Penalty Shootout Report

Right after the final whistle which led us to the shootout, Chelsea players, staff and manager were all over referee Graham Scott who got almost all his decisions spot on last evening. The Canaries certainly went into this spot kick contest high on optimism and with a mental edge over the Blues as they had nothing to lose, whereas their opponents had lost two able penalty takers.

With the A-B-B-A penalty system, Willian stood up and overcame his nervy moment with a cool finish to send the in-form Angus Gunn to the wrong side. Then, Willy Caballero, who’s 15 years older than his opposite number, spread his wings and made a full stretch dive down his right to deny Nelson Oliveira, who had one of the best chances during the match. Since then, it was just a matter of holding their nerves and seeing it over by doing their bit.

David Luiz, who made a huge mistake earlier in the game, sent the ball home with a run-up up to his kick. Although Maddison and Mario Vrancic converted for Norwich, it wasn’t enough as the super reliable Cesar Azpilicueta yet again stepped up for his team. There were a few rounded mouths around when N’Golo Kante took the fourth kick for Chelsea. However, the Frenchman didn’t let the moment get the better of him.

To finish things off in a tiring third round, after having made to replay, face a late winner and lots of drama with the VAR and red cards, Eden Hazard, Chelsea’s penalty specialist buried the ball into the back of the net with all the composure to seal a 5-3 victory on penalties.

 

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