Football Features

“A lionhearted display” – Player ratings as Chelsea shut down Man City to reach FA Cup final and end the quadruple dream

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 19:54, 17 April 2021

In a tight afternoon of football, Chelsea beat Manchester City 1-0 in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley.

The win ends City’s hopes of a legendary Quadruple and even their attempts to win the true Treble. Pep Guardiola’s men looked absolutely toothless as Thomas Tuchel’s honeymoon period with the Blues continues unabated.

Here’s how the players rated at Wembley:

Chelsea

Kepa Arrizabalaga – 6 – Had very little to do but did that well, including one save in stoppage time.

Cesar Azpilicueta – 9 – A rabid performance from the Chelsea captain as he hunted down every City player in possession. His relentless tackling (3/4) was eventually punished in the 89th minute but by then he had already cowed City into submission. 5 clearances and 1 interception completed his afternoon. A lionhearted display worth of any Chelsea captain.

Thiago Silva – 8 – Played through back pain for the entire game it seems like but was cool, calm and in control the whole way. A massive 6 clearances was a game-high.

Antonio Rudiger – 8 – A colossus in defence. Shut down every City attempt to attack down his flank. The man of the match the last time Chelsea won the FA Cup is back for another go at being best boy. Attack him if you dare!

Reece James – 7 – A great cross for Chilwell at the start but for the most part was defending and to be fair, he did that well.

N’Golo Kanté – 8 – A ferocious presence in the middle of the pitch. Closed down almost every City player in that middle third. Every time they tried to build they found Kanté in their way and then broke superbly out from the back.

Jorginho – 8 – Somehow ended up with more tackles than Kanté (4 in total) but the Italian international showed that as much as a passing phenom he can pitch in and defend with the best of them.

Ben Chilwell – 7 – Missed a great chance early on with a volley but was a solid performer on the night both in attack and defence.

Hakim Ziyech – 7 – Some lovely passes in the build-up as he dropped deep to find runners. Scored the opening goal with a neat tap-in but really should have doubled his tally minutes later but shot straight at Steffen.

Mason Mount – 8 – Nice pass in behind for the Chelsea goal but what was fantastic was his movement. Seemed to be on a one-man mission to ritually humiliate Fernandinho every time he had the ball.

Timo Werner – 7 – A brilliant run and well-timed pass set-up the opening goal of the game for Ziyech. Looked a threat on the break all night and even though he missed a great chance to double the lead late on, this was a very promising performance from the German.

Substitutes:

Christian Pulisic (for Mount 70′) – 7 – Came on and looked bright on the break. Scored a superb second but saw the goal ruled out for offside.

Kai Havertz (for Wermer 78′) – n/a – Came on late.

Emerson (for Ziyech 78′) – n/a – Came on late.

Kurt Zouma (for Thiago Silva 88′) – 6 – Came on late but still managed to make an impressive clearance.








Manchester City

Zack Steffen – 4 – Handed Chelsea the win with an incredibly indecisive bit of goalkeeping. Came off his line but then hesitated and backtracked. A massive unforced error that blotted what was otherwise an impressive performance from City’s back-up.

Joao Cancelo – 6 – Nowhere near as dominant and influential as you’d expect with the ball. Defended well.

Ruben Dias – 7 – Not at his dominant best but still dealt with the Chelsea break well. Missed a good chance to equalise with a close-range header.

Aymeric Laporte – 7 – Handled the Chelsea counter nicely for the most part but could have been more aggressive on the goal.

Benjamin Mendy – 5 – What happened to him?

Rodrigo – 7 – Was always looking forward and pushing City into good positions with some surprisingly dynamic dribbling and passing. However his team-mates couldn’t make any use of his passes. Was a threat at set-pieces too.

Fernandinho – 5 – Flashed a header wide late in the first-half but mostly just looked his age as Mason Mount out-ran him every time. Watching the Brazilian desperately try and keep up with the Englishman who is more than a decade younger than him was embarrassing.

Kevin De Bruyne – 5 – Relatively quiet first-half and then had to go off because of injury early in the second-half.

Ferran Torres – 5 – Quiet.

Raheem Sterling – 3 – Every single thing he tried did not come off. And it’s not like he was trying ambitious things he could barely pass the ball 5 yards and that’s not an exaggeration. Watching him try to dribble was just sad. Honestly, he looked like he had his footballing essence drained by Swackhammer and the Monstars. Every time he had the ball you just wanted to start singing “Basketball Jones.”

Gabriel Jesus – 6 – City’s brightest forward and the only one who looked like he could make things happen. He wasn’t good, but he was ok.

Substitutes:

Phil Foden (for De Bruyne 48′) – 7 – Instantly took City up several gears and his every touch fizzled with energy.

Ilkay Gundogan (for Torres 64′) – 7 – Along with Foden he really pushed City into a different gear and you have to wonder why he wasn’t starting given the effect he has on City’s style of play.