Football Features

Tomori shines as Hudson-Odoi struggles: Full player ratings as Chelsea edge Ajax

By Ben Green

Published: 20:05, 23 October 2019

Chelsea took all three points in Amsterdam as a late winner saw Frank Lampard’s men beat Ajax 1-0 at the Johan Cruyff Arena.

There was little to separate the two sides for most of the match, with Ajax enjoying the better of the opportunities after Quincy Promes had a goal ruled out for offside, while Edson Alvarez saw his header cannon off the woodwork.

However, it would be the Londoners who snatched maximum reward in this Champions League Group H showdown, with Michy Batshuayi coming off the bench to score the winner in the dying embers.

So, how did the players rate?

Ajax

Andre Onana – 6 – Commanded his box well and looked to play out from the back at every given opportunity – could do nothing as Batshuayi thumped home the winner.

Sergino Dest – 5 – A difficult night for the teenager as he was tasked with the ominous prospect of marking Hudson-Odoi and dealing with the overlapping Alonso; he stood up to the challenge well at times, but most of the Blues luck was down their left.

Joel Veltman – 6 – Had a few jittery moments in terms of his distribution, but formed a relatively strong partnership with Blind, though Chelsea found a few openings and were duly rewarded for their efforts in the closing stages.

Daley Blind – 6 – Alongside Veltman, the Dutchman looked sturdy at the back and tried to instigate attacking moves from the Ajax defence whenever in possession, but failed to keep Chelsea at bay in a difficult game.

Nicolas Tagliafico – 8 – The best player on the pitch in the first-half, Tagliafico dominated Willian down the byline, making six successful tackles in the opening 45 minutes, and that largely spilled over to the second half with the Brazilian eventually taken off by Lampard.

Edson Alvarez – 6 – Came excruciatingly close to breaking the deadlock with a fine header in the second-half, but that was about as good as it got for the young Mexican.

Lisandro Martinez – 6 – A real pitbull in the middle of the park, Martinez was tenacious and energetic, but scarcely offered a threat further forward.

Hakim Ziyech – 5 – Showed glimmers of quality but just couldn’t find that moment of magic to really light up this fixture as he has done on so many occasions in the past.

Donny van de Beek – 6 – Like Ziyech, there were fleeting moments of creative class, with Van de Peek himself making four key passes, but this was not his finest performance in Europe as Ajax fired a blank.

Quincy Promes – 5 – The incisive wide-man was unlucky to have his goal ruled out for offside by VAR, but proved a threat down the flank, though this proved a largely unsuccessful night for the wingers.

Dusan Tadic – 5 – A quiet game for Ajax’s typically tremendous false nine, the former Southampton forward struggled to overcome Zouma and Tomori at the back and couldn’t quite get into the groove.

Substitutes:

David Neres (for Promes 74) – 5 – In truth, 15 minutes was not enough time to make a significant impact.

Siem de Jong (for Alvarez 89) – N/A – Came on in the closing stages.

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (for Veltman 89) – N/A – Also came on with just a few minutes remaining.

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Chelsea

Kepa Arrizabalaga – 6 – Kept a clean sheet but didn’t have much to do as Chelsea held the fort well and reduced Ajax to only two shots on target.

Cesar Azpilicueta – 7 – Industrious as ever at the back, the skipper wasn’t extremely effective going forward, but defensively he held his own against Ajax’s threatening frontline.

Fikayo Tomori – 9 – Had a shaky opening few minutes, but once he overcame those initial teething problems, he was ruthless, dominant and just generally exceptional at the back. A commanding performance from a player improving every time he takes to the field.

Kurt Zouma – 7 – A very solid performance from the Frenchman, but there were one or two moments to forget and definite areas for improvement. That said, he was imposing and made Tadic seem like he wasn’t there.

Marcos Alonso – 7 – Offered support on the byline, most of Chelsea’s success this evening came down the left, with Alonso also having a hand in the winner, cheekily dummying Pulisic’s cross for Batshuayi.

Jorginho – 6 – Tried to set the tempo, which was by no means an easy job against this high-pressed, possession-based Ajax side, but the Italian stuck to his guns and looked solid alongside Kovacic.

Mateo Kovacic – 7 – Brought a bite and tenacity to the middle of the park, Kovacic was as energetic and composed as ever, collecting the ball in pressurised situations, relieving pressure and getting forward when he could.

Willian – 5 – Came up against Tagliafico and in truth, the South American came up short, looking out of ideas and invention on a night that was crying out for a bit of quality to shine through.

Mason Mount – 8 – The England international was never afraid to show for the ball or try something inventive, he was quite easily Chelsea’s best attacking player, looking to run at Ajax and create openings every time the ball touched his feet.

Callum Hudson-Odoi – 5 – Managed to get himself into exceptionally dangerous positions, but his end product was below his usual standard this evening. It was encouraging that he never shied away from taking his man on, but his twinkle-toed feet eluded him at times tonight.

Tammy Abraham – 6 – Held the ball up well and looked to rough up the Ajax defence, which he did at times, but he struggled to get himself into scoring situations before being taken off.

Substitutes:

Christian Pulisic (for Willian 66) – 7 – Looked threatening the minute he came on and also set up the winner.

Michy Batshuayi (for Abraham 71) – 7 – Like Pulisic, the duo changed the complexion of the game upon coming on as the Belgian bagged the winner.

Reece James (for  Hudson-Odoi 90) – N/A – Came on in the closing minutes of the match.

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