Chelsea player ratings versus Zenit: Job done despite misfires

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Chelsea’s German defender Antonio Rudiger (R) runs away from Zenit St. Petersburg’s Russian midfielder Daler Kuzyaev (L) during the UEFA Champions League Group H football match between Chelsea and Zenit St Petersburg at Stamford Bridge in London on September 14, 2021. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP) (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images)

Chelsea welcomed Russian side Zenit St. Petersburg at Stamford Bridge earlier tonight to kick off their title defense in the UEFA Champions League.

All of the fans were in hopes of an easy game for the Blues but it turned out to be completely different. Both sides fought tooth and nail in the first half but could not create any clear-cut chances and the first half ended at nil-nil.

The same could be said for the early parts of the second half too with any of the teams reluctant to concede first. However, Romelu Lukaku finally managed to break the deadlock in the 69th minute when he scored a good header from Cesar Azpilicueta’s cross. After that, the game was more open with Zenit St. Petersburg committing players forward in the search for an equalizer.

They did come close in the dying minutes of normal time but the game management from the Blues helped them in securing a narrow 1-0 win.

Let’s take a look at how each Chelsea player fared during the game against Zenit St. Petersburg:

Edouard Mendy (Goalkeeper): 8/10

Edouard Mendy was the spectator for the majority of the game. With only two shots on target from the Russian side which were straight to Edouard Mendy’s hands, did not give much for him to do until the dying minutes of the game when Artem Dzyuba came within inches of scoring an equalizer. Apart from that, another day another clean sheet for the Senegalese international.

Cesar Azpilicueta (Centerback): 6/10

The Spanish defender by far did not have an amazing game to be totally honest but his pinpoint assist for Romelu Lukaku’s goal has somewhat improved the final rating. Cesar Azpilicueta was caught lacking sometimes and the lack of pace in his armory did almost send the opposition through. Definitely could have had a better game.

Andreas Christensen (Centerback): 8/10

Andreas Christensen continues his impressive form under Thomas Tuchel, playing in the middle of the defense and being solid as always. The Danish international completed the game with 92.4% pass accuracy and won the second most amount of aerial duels (two) after Antonio Rudiger. A new contract is fully deserved to Andreas Christensen and now it seems that we have found the perfect replacement for Thiago Silva.

Antonio Rudiger (Centerback): 8.5/10

By far one of the best players in the Chelsea team against Zenit St. Petersburg was Antonio Rudiger. The Germany international was very solid at the back and came in clutch with a last- ditch interception which prevented the Russian side from equalizing. The left-sided center back was dominant in the air too winning the most aerial duels in the game (three). If Antonio Rudiger could have finished his amazing run from defense to the opponent’s box, he would have definitely made Kurt Zouma proud.

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