Chelsea took on Tottenham Hotspur in a game which could have huge consequences in the race for a Champions League spot this season. Despite losing Thiago Silva to a thigh injury midway into the first half, the players showed great desire and character in their application of Thomas Tuchel’s aggressive style of play to ultimately come away with all three points. Here are the player ratings from Tottenham 0, Chelsea 1.
Edouard Mendy, Keeper: 6/10
Despite not having much to do in goal against an opponent as passive as Tottenham Hotspur was for large parts of the game, Mendy was nevertheless solid when called upon to make a save or claim a cross. However, as the home side attempted to put the squeeze on Chelsea in the second half, there were several instances of lackluster distribution which could well have led to a goal conceded in a different match. A mixed bag for the Senegalese who would undoubtedly still be happy with his third clean sheet in as many games under Tuchel.
Cesar Azpilicueta, Centerback: 7/10
Deployed on the right side of a back three, Azpilicueta had himself a good game despite having to come up against the pace of Son Heung-Min and Carlos Vinicius who were always looking to get in behind the Chelsea defense. With Reece James often venturing further up the pitch on the overlap, Azpilicueta defending hence becomes important in ensuring that Spurs were unable to exploit the spaces left behind the wing-back. Occasionally even offering himself as an additional passing option higher up the pitch during Chelsea’s greatest periods of domination, Thursday’s match showcased just how versatile and important Chelsea’s captain still is to the team.
Thiago Silva, Centerback, 7/10
Despite being 36 and lasting only 36 minutes on the pitch, Thiago Silva was quite simply outstanding against Tottenham Hotspur. As experienced as he is calm, Silva displayed the kind of defensive acumen and leadership in the middle of a back three that has many still recognize him as a world-class player. While Chelsea’s poorer second-half showing could be attributed to Spurs’ more aggressive pressing, the impact of the loss of Silva’s presence at the back cannot be understated. Already Chelsea most important defender, Tuchel’s ability to manage the fitness levels of the Brazilian could prove decisive for the club’s goals of a top-four finish as well as any additional silverware.
Antonio Rudiger, Centerback, 7/10
Sometimes guilty of being too conservative in his passing when allowed time and space to step out of Chelsea’s backline, a similar accusation most certainly cannot be levelled at the German when it comes to the quality of his defending in this game. Strong in the air and possessing the kind of pace that makes him less vulnerable to being exposed by the pace of Steven Bergwijn on the right, Rudiger also had Thiago Silva and then Andreas Christensen sweeping up behind him. A back three seems ready-made for the 27-year-old and with the team having kept three consecutive clean sheets using this system, the German certainly looks set for an extended run in the team.