Football Features

James and Ziyech star in bad night for defences: Full player ratings from Chelsea 4-4 Ajax

By Harry Edwards

Published: 22:17, 5 November 2019

Chelsea came back from 4-1 down to draw 4-4 with Ajax in a bonkers night of Champions League action.

The Blues were their own enemies in the first half with Kepa Arrizabalaga and Tammy Abraham scoring own goals to cancel out Jorginho’s penalty alongside Quincy Promes’ header.

Ajax then went 4-1 up through Donny van de Beek but goals from Jorginho, Cesar Azpilicueta and Reece James completed the comeback in an enthralling match.

Here’s how the players rated at Stamford Bridge:


Kepa Arrizabalaga – 2 – The goalkeeper had a night to forget, showing weaknesses from set-pieces. Was beaten far too easily by Promes’ free-kick, wrong-footed by Abraham’s slight nick on the ball and was once again beaten too easily by Ziyech’s free-kick, with the ball bouncing back off the post into his face for an own goal.

Cesar Azpilicueta – 4 – A really strange night for the Chelsea captain. Showed his defensive weaknesses in being second-best to Ajax’s wide players throughout, conceding the early free-kick for the opening goal. Was then beaten by Promes’ run for second goal, while also playing the winger onside as he was not in-line with his fellow defenders. But he improved after switching to the left after half-time, scoring Chelsea’s second. Thought he had completed the comeback but his goal was ruled out for a handball in the build-up.

Kurt Zouma – 5 – The better of Chelsea’s two centre-backs, though he wasn’t spectacular defensively. Almost pulled a goal back for Chelsea with a wonderful run from inside his own half, including stepovers, but his shot on the edge of the area was poor. It was his header which hit the bar in the build-up to James’ equaliser.

Fikayo Tomori – 2 – Fortunate not to see Chelsea concede after he switched off thinking play had stopped following a foul. Lost the ball on the edge of his own area in the build-up to Ajax’s fourth. Probably the worst game of his Chelsea first-team career to date.

Marcos Alonso – 1 – After some impressive performances in recent weeks, Alonso showed why fans had started to grow frustrated with him. Conceded a needless free-kick which led to Arrizabalaga’s own goal and he was poor in attack too. Hooked at half-time.

Mateo Kovacic – 7 – Another solid performance from the Croatian midfielder, albeit in a game in which his team-mates were on the back foot until playing against nine men.

Jorginho – 8 – Coolness personified twice to score from the penalty spot, the second of which came after a lengthy delay. Showed why so many are asking for him to be made permanent Chelsea captain in the fightback.

Mason Mount – 3 – Failed to get into the game as Chelsea were outclassed at times. Taken off with an injury.

Willian- 4 – Wasn’t great in the first half, struggling to get up and running. Improved slightly after half-time, though that came as Ajax went down to nine men.

Tammy Abraham – 3 – Had a goal correctly ruled out for offside in what was his only positive impact on a first half in which he struggled. Missed his attempted clearance on Promes’ early free-kick, inadvertently flicking the ball past Arrizabalaga for his second own goal of the season. Should have pulled a goal back for Chelsea shortly after half-time but his shot, under pressure, was poor.

Christian Pulisic – 7 – Chelsea’s brightest attacking spark in the first half and won them the penalty, inviting tackles from Ajax’s defenders inside the area. Sent in the cross that was tapped on by Abraham before Azpilicueta ensured it went over the line.


Reece James (for Alonso 45) – 8 – The 19-year-old was brilliant after coming on, providing fresh attacking input down the right. Completed the comeback for Chelsea firing in a rebound after Zouma’s header hit the crossbar.

Callum Hudson-Odoi (for Mount 60) – 7 – Enjoyed his game when Ajax went down to nine men, constantly getting at the opposition defenders.

Michy Batshuayi (for Kovacic 87) – N/A – Had chances to win it for Chelsea but did not have too much time on the pitch.

Frank Lampard praises Reece James


Andre Onana – 8 – Produced some good saves to ensure Ajax left Stamford Bridge with something having already surrendered a three-goal lead. Could not do too much to stop either of Jorginho’s penalties.

Noussair Mazraoui – 7 – Was strong defensively with Ajax on top, commanding his side of the pitch, keeping Mount and Azpilicueta quiet in the first half.

Joel Veltmann – 3 – Was the first to upend Pulisic for Chelsea’s penalty. Booked midway through the first half for a foul in the middle of the pitch that put him on a tightrope. Did well to put off Abraham when the Chelsea forward was in on goal but was sent off for a second yellow card after conceding another penalty after half-time for handball.

Daley Blind – 3 – Had looked composed in the first half but picked up a needless yellow card that would ultimately come back to bite him as he was sent off for a second booking after half-time.

Nicolas Tagliafico – 6 – Gave the referee very little option but to point to the penalty spot after stopping Pulisic inside the area. But he improved from there, particularly enjoying his time getting forward.

Donny van de Beek – 7 – Was quiet in the first half but he wasn’t really needed as Ajax exploited Chelsea’s weaknesses out wide. However, he made sure Chelsea fans knew he was there by adding Ajax’s fourth, finding space in the box to calmly finish.

Lisandro Martinez – 6 – Had very little to do, such was Ajax’s dominance of the wide areas when they had 11 men. Dropped back to defence later on and helped Ajax leave with a point.

Hakim Ziyech – 9 – What a wonderful performance that may have added another £5m onto his ever-increasing price tag. Constantly caused Chelsea’s defence problems with his deliveries, ensuring his opponents barely had a moment’s rest. Set up Promes’ goal with a beautiful cross into the box before another delightful ball from a ridiculous angle hit the post for Arrizabalaga’s own goal. Got a second official assist in neatly finding Van de Beek inside the Chelsea box.

David Neres – 5 – Was fairly quiet as Ajax’s other stars shone. Replaced when his side went down to nine men.

Dusan Tadic – 5 – Gave Tomori something to think about early on but was unable to have too much influence on the match.

Quincy Promes – 9 – Confused the Chelsea defence with a wonderful cross into the box, resulting in Abraham’s own goal. Then put Ajax ahead for the second time heading in from another cross, after running in behind Azpilicueta. Still caused problems when Ajax went down to nine men.


Perr Schuurs (for Ziyech 72) – 5 – Came on to fill in at centre-back after Ajax’s sendings off and held relatively firm.

Edson Alvarez (for Neres 72) – 5 – Could have won it for Ajax late on against all odds but his effort was saved by Arrizabalaga.

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