Chelsea extend their gap over 4th place after favourable results on Sunday and Monday with a lethargic and uninspiring home win over Norwich, here are Will Reyner’s judgements on how Lampard’s men competed today.
Kepa Arrizabalaga – 5
A comfortable day for Kepa in goal. Norwich failed to test him over the course of the 90 minutes putting up 0.06 expected goals in the game. Kepa’s distribution was solid today but he wasn’t called upon enough to warrant any more than a 5. Clean sheets have been hard to come by for Chelsea and Kepa this season so that is a positive that can definitely be taken from today’s game.
Cesar Azpilicueta – 7
A performance that is typical of the man, Cesar looked very strong defensively and put in a decent shift going forward. Although he doesn’t have the attacking capabilities of Reece James, he certainly looked respectable in that sense and was sprinting up and down the line for the full game. You associate Cesar with a 7/10, the score making him such a dependable player throughout the decade and today was no different.
Antonio Rudiger – 6
Rudiger had some sloppy moments on the ball today which has been a constant feature of his game since the Premier League restarted, however, unlike games like West Ham and Sheffield United away, he was relatively convincing in the defensive aspect of the game today. He made one brilliant last ditch tackle which blocked a potentially threatening attack from Norwich.
Kurt Zouma – 6
A very similar performance to his partner at centre-back, Kurt Zouma had his sloppy moments on the ball, with a few crossfield balls going astray but ultimately faced a subpar attacking threat from the Norwich forwards. Kurt was certainly solid defensively and had to rely on his admirable speed on a couple of occasions to get us out of potentially dangerous situations but it was another solid performance from our best centre-back since the league restarted.
Marcos Alonso – 5
Alonso was heavily involved in the first half, receiving the ball on multiple occasions from Zouma and Rudiger, however he failed to capitalise on the space he was given throughout the game and put in some frustrating crosses that didn’t reach their intended targets. Had a small part to play in Giroud’s goal knocking the ball to Pulisic but it’s safe to say it wasn’t his finest evening.
Jorginho – 4
A poor performance from the Italian today. He didn’t provide anything either defensively or offensively and was bullied by Norwich players regularly. Was against Lampard starting him today as it felt unnecessary and that scepticism I had came into fruition with his performance today. Not good enough, but his days left in a Chelsea shirt appear limited.
Mateo Kovacic – 8
Another masterful performance from our best player this season. Showcased his elite ball carrying skills and dependability on the ball. He completely ran the game today and led by example as he tried to increase the pace of the game. Kovacic gets my MOTM for today and I hope the game exhibited to Frank that he should be the first name on the team sheet against Manchester United on Sunday.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek – 6
Encouraging performance from Ruben today, still a little off the pace but his power and ability on the ball seems to be coming more naturally each time we see him play. Not expecting him to set the world alight this season but today did show why we should be excited for next season when he’s had a full pre-season and is on a level playing field with the rest of the league.
Willian – 4
A very frustrating performance from Willian today which showcases why its best for the club to move on from him when the window opens. He was slow on the ball and demonstrated no end product, and I’ve said that before about Willian, many times and its evident that his “purple patch” is over. Said Benrahma is a much needed upgrade that we need to be looking at for the summer. Not good enough from our number 10 today.
Olivier Giroud – 7
An excellent performance from Olivier Giroud today. He was the matchwinner, converting from close range with his head after a sumptuous cross from Pulisic. Although he could’ve easily had a couple more, he got the all important goal which secured 3 vital points in our pursuit of the Champions League. Always dependable and today he continued his great goalscoring form since the restart.
Christian Pulisic – 7
Another very positive performance from the American today. He provided a beautiful cross that Olivier Giroud met to put us 1-0 up just before the half time break and it was showcased again that he’s the man that Chelsea players turn to in times of need. Perhaps he tried too much at times but his attitude is so refreshing and I can see him having a “Hazardesque” level of influence at Chelsea in years to come.
Reece James – 6
Had a positive impact on the game and delivered some fantastic crosses in the short time he was on the pitch. He should’ve come on 10 minutes earlier but did very well considering the time he had on the pitch.
Ross Barkley – 5
Some decent touches when he came on, however he did slow the game down at times. A standard cameo from Ross.
Callum Hudson-Odoi – 5
Not enough time to really influence the game but showed some delicate touches and flair when he was introduced. He should’ve started the game but he needs to make the most of all the opportunities he gets.
Tammy Abraham – 5
Didn’t have much joy in his short time on the pitch and he lost headers that Giroud was winning for fun, but It’d be hard to judge him negatively on that short cameo.