Football News

“Channeling his inner Miguel Almiron” – Player ratings as Jack Grealish stars in Man City 2-0 Chelsea

By Harry Edwards

Published: 22:20, 9 November 2022

Manchester City booked their spot in the fourth round of the EFL Cup thanks to a 2-0 win over Chelsea on Wednesday night.

After a goalless first half which saw both teams have their opportunities, Man City took the lead through Riyad Mahrez just after half-time. Their advance was doubled shortly after through Julian Alvarez, with Chelsea unable to find a way back into the game.

Man City now go into Thursday’s fourth round draw knowing the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham have all been knocked out.

Here’s how the players rated at the Etihad:


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Man City

Stefan Ortega – 8 – Making just his third appearance for Man City, Ortega was fantastic when called upon. In the first half he made a good stop to deny Pulisic and then pulled off another after half-time to keep Lewis out, with five saves in total. Ederson still may not be fearing his place, but this shows Man City have two very capable goalkeeping options.

Rico Lewis – 6 – Put in a good block early on to take all the power out of a Pulisic shot but struggled slightly defensively up against Hall. Enjoyed himself a lot more going forward.

Ruben Dias – 7 – Didn’t really have too much to do, with the midfield protecting the defence well.

Aymeric Laporte – 7 – Like Dias didn’t have much of note to deal with but did put in a wonderful challenge to stop Ziyech when he looked in on goal in the first half.

Sergio Gomez – 6 – Sat back and let Grealish run his flank, only stepping up later in the game as Chelsea were chasing.

Cole Palmer – 7 – A decent game from the youngster, particularly when pressing the Chelsea defenders high up the pitch. He made it tough for them to play out from the back but was perhaps missing the consistency across the full 90 minutes that Man City will want.

Rodri – 7 – His usual self in the midfield. Had a sloppy pass here and there but nothing that truly messed Man City up. Although Man City scored twice after Rodri left the pitch, his presence was missed as they looked to see the game out, losing some of the control he would’ve brought.

Ilkay Gundogan – 7 – Was a nuisance for Chelsea just outside their area, looking to pull the strings from high up the pitch, while also being part of Man City’s press.

Riyad Mahrez – 8 – Had a quiet first half as his wing partner thrived but stepped things up after half-time. Opened the scoring with a beautiful free-kick and constantly ran at Cucurella, with his shot also leading to Alvarez’s goal.

Julian Alvarez – 7 – In the first half it looked as though Alvarez would be having one of those nights where a backup striker doesn’t take his chances, missing a couple of opportunities to truly test Mendy. But he finally took a chance in the second half, in a move he started with an excellent cross-field ball to Mahrez. Not happy with just the pass, Alvarez started his run into the box and got in front of Koulibaly to tap in and make it 2-0. A good night.

Jack Grealish – 9 – Good performances for attackers aren’t purely based on goals and assists, though Grealish will have wished he could have got at least one of each. The Englishman was channeling his inner Miguel Almiron, causing Chelsea’s defence some serious problems cutting onto his right foot. He tested Mendy on numerous occasions, and Chalobah will no doubt be seeing Grealish in his sleep for a few weeks.

Substitutes:

Kalvin Phillips (for Gundogan 50) – 6 – Making his return after injury, Phillips had a pretty decent showing, though perhaps could have helped control the midfield a bit better as the game went on.

Bernardo Silva (for Rodri 50) – 6 – Brought on to add something more to the attack, Silva gave Man City another option but, like Phillips, didn’t do enough to keep things calm later on.

Nathan Ake (for Laporte 81) – N/A – A late sub.


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Chelsea

Edouard Mendy – 7 – Although he conceded two goals, this was the best Mendy has looked for quite some time. He was confident in claiming crosses and got down well to make a number of saves — seven in total. He could do nothing about Mahrez’s free-kick and was let down by his defence after making a save in the lead up to Alvarez’s goal.

Trevoh Chalobah – 4 – After looking good as part of Chelsea’s regular front three at the start of Potter’s reign, which coincided with a stat that he had never lost a Chelsea game in which he started, Chalobah had a night to forget. He was given the runaround by Grealish and also made a rash tackle to give away the free-kick for Mahrez’s goal.

Kalidou Koulibaly – 5 – Booked in the first half for cleaning out Grealish and had a mixed game. There were moments of solid defending but sometimes they were preceded by mistakes Koulibaly himself had made. A lot of fingers will be pointed at him for Mahrez’s free-kick too, as he would have blocked the effort had he jumped with the rest of the wall.

Marc Cucurella – 6 – The best of the Chelsea back three and his strongest performance in a Chelsea shirt for some time. Put in a wonderful tackle to take the ball off Mahrez when he was about to shoot in the box in the second half.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek – 4 – Did okay to support Ziyech going forward but really offered no help to Chalobah defensively, leaving his compatriot stranded against Grealish. Chelsea will be thankful the World Cup break is just a few days away, meaning they have only one more game without Reece James.

Mateo Kovacic – 5 – Still not 100% and that really cost Chelsea as they lost the midfield battle.

Denis Zakaria – 6 – A big difference from his debut but showed signs of being capable of starting regularly for Chelsea. Perhaps needed a more mobile teammate.

Lewis Hall – 8 – Making just his second start for Chelsea, Hall was the bright spark this team had been missing. Really should have put Chelsea ahead just before half time making a late run into the cut, selling the defender a fake shot but his actual shot was very tame. Another good chance in the second half but his shot was well saved. Chelsea’s best outfield player on the night, by some distance.

Hakim Ziyech – 6 – Pretty quiet in the first half but grew as Chelsea pushed higher up the pitch and showed a moment of brilliance to tee up Hall, but he was robbed of the assist by a good save.

Armando Broja – 6 – Like Alvarez for Man City, Broja was looking to make the most of his opportunity but he struggled in front of goal. There was evidence of why he should be given more chances in a fluid attack, pushing hard, but his work was isolated at times.

Christian Pulisic – 6 – Had a couple of good chances but really should have done more with them. In the first half he had two very good opportunities to score but one saw his shot tame and blocked, and another brought out a save from Steffen. Also set up Hall for his first-half opportunity. But as is often the case for Pulisic, the final action after a dribble was always too late, whether that’s a pass or a shot.

Substitutes:

Raheem Sterling (for Ziyech 68) – 5 – Up against his former club, Sterling struggled to get into the game after coming on.

Mason Mount (for Broja 68) – 6 – Went close to pulling one back for Chelsea with a good touch and shot inside the box.

Conor Gallagher (for Zakaria 68) – 6 – His position in midfield, coupled with Man City sitting off, allowed Chelsea to take some control.

Cesar Azpilicueta (for Chalobah 69) – 6 – Took on an attacking role and put in some good crosses.

Kai Havertz (for Hall 75) – 6 – A danger at times.

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