Football Features

“Kanté killed them again” – Player ratings as Chelsea devoured Real Madrid to book an all-English Champions League final vs. Man City

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 22:28, 5 May 2021

In a night of dominance, Chelsea crushed the life out of Real Madrid, winning 2-0 to qualify for the Champions League final.

The Blues came into the night with the away goal advantage and after an even 20 minutes, took control and choked the life out of the tie to secure their place in an all-Premier League Champions League final.

Here’s how the players rated at Stamford Bridge:

Chelsea

Edouard Mendy – 8 – Made two absolutely colossal saves at 0-0 to keep Karim Benzema out.

Andreas Christensen – 8 – Absolutely immense; three tackles, two clearances and three interceptions.

Thiago Silva – 8 – A throwback display from the Brazilian. A game-high five clearances.

Antonio Rudiger – 8 – As dominant as he was in the first-leg. No Real Madrid player could do anything in the face of his absurd combination of pace, power and phenomenal defensive technique.

Cesar Azpilicueta – 8 – A captain’s display from the Chelsea skipper as he worked to shut down Real Madrid’s favourite attacking channel.

N’Golo Kanté – 9 – On a day when Warner Bros. were said to be looking to make a film about a black Superman, N’Golo Kanté showed why he is the best choice to play the Man of Steel. Absolutely everywhere defensively, rescuing team-mates from Madrid’s players. But that is standard, what was so incredible tonight was Kanté’s offensive output.

Both goals came from Kanté’s superbly intelligent play. On the first he spun and dribbled through the Madrid midfield as if he were Andrés Iniesta, evading tackles before sliding a perfect pass in to Kai Havertz (who should have scored). Then, on the second, he roared forward to steal the ball from a sloppy Madrid and yet again register a pre-assist with a deft pass to Mount.

As much as Kevin De Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan, N’Golo Kanté is stating his case to be the best midfielder in the world. A perpetual motion machine whose game intelligence, defensive instincts and sharp technique make him a terrifying prospects for opponents to contend with. You have to feel for Madrid; Kanté killed them again and he did it with kindness. The Smiling Assassin, the Man of Tomorrow, is it a Jorginho? Is it a Mount? No! It’s N’Golo Kanté!

Jorginho – 8 – An impeccable showing from the Italian international who made a game-high 6 interceptions.

Ben Chilwell – 8 – Up and down the left-flank all night.

Mason Mount – 8 – Not quite as dynamic as he was in the first leg but still looked too much for Madrid to handle. Should have scored one, but later popped up to bag a crucial second goal.

Timo Werner – 8 – All in all a very impressive performance from Chelsea’s beleaguered striker. Constantly linked play, sending team-mates through to great chances twice, ran away from Madrid players on multiple occasions and of course scored the winner with a close-range header.

Kai Havertz – 8 – Great movement to lead the line. Hit the woodwork twice and could honestly have bagged a hat-trick but his ability to be a dynamic forward and probe to find space makes him invaluable for Chelsea.

Substitutes:

Christian Pulisic (for Werner 68′) – 8 – Added so much energy and drive down the right. Madrid couldn’t live with his dribbling and he almost set-up a couple goals before sitting Courtois down and putting it on a plate for Mount to kill the tie.

Reece James (for Azpilicueta 88′) – n/a – Came on late.

Hakim Ziyech (for Mount 89′) – n/a – Came on late.

Olivier Giroud (for Havertz 90+4′) – n/a – Came on late.




Real Madrid

Thibaut Courtois – 7 – A really impressive performance as he repeatedly denied Chelsea. Could do nothing about either goal.

Eder Militao – 5 – Reasonable at the back but clearly struggled with Chelsea’s movement. Didn’t read Mount’s movement for the second goal.

Sergio Ramos – 4 – Just awful. Could not cope with any of the players he was supposed to defend. Constantly trailing behind whichever Chelsea player he was trying to mark. Outrun by everyone and his team-mates were thrown off having to cover for his clearly unfit self. Worse, he dove in and failed to win the ball, creating the space in defence that Chelsea exploited for their opening goal.

Nacho – 5 – Worked hard to try and close space but simply had too much to do.

Vinicius Junior – 5 – Played out of position at wing-back and beyond one dribble, he struggled and did nothing.

Luka Modric – 6 – Incredibly elegant as always, drifting away from Chelsea pressure and keeping the ball moving for Madrid. Created the most chances (two) for Los Blancos.

Casemiro – 5 – Played his typical game but at no point did he exert any influence on the game.

Toni Kroos – 5 – Offered nothing besides safe passes. No penetration.

Ferland Mendy – 5 – Nowhere near fully fit and it showed. Subbed on the hour.

Eden Hazard – 4 – On his old stomping ground the Belgian winger looked a ghost of himself. A sad ghost.

Karim Benzema – 7 – The only Madrid player to look like he belonged on the same pitch as Chelsea. Pulled two massive saves out of Mendy and just needed more support from his team-mates.

Substitutes:

Fede Valverde (for Vinicius 63′) – 7 – UNREAL block from Kanté’s shot. Prevented a goal that would have surely killed Madrid off, albeit he only postponed the inevitable in the end. Worked hard besides that.

Marco Asensio (for Mendy 63′) – n/a – Couldn’t get in the game.

Rodrygo (for Casemiro 76′) – n/a – Unable to influence anything.

Mariano (for Hazard 89′) – n/a – Came on late.