Football Features

“This guy is going to be a superstar” – Player ratings as Chelsea beat Man City to win Champions League

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 22:34, 29 May 2021

In an open and fun night of football, Chelsea beat Manchester City 0-1 to win their second-ever Champions League.

It was echoes of 2012 as another mid-season manager change led to Champions League glory. This was the Blues’ third straight victory over Pep Guardiola’s men since Thomas Tuchel took charge.

Here’s how the players rated at Estadio do Dragao:


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Manchester City

Ederson – 3 – Fortunate with Werner’s poor finishing and then completely lost his head on the Chelsea goal, rushing out and exposing himself – making it all to easy for Havertz. A colossal mistake from a player City need to be flawless, and his long-range passing at the end was shockingly wayward as his side desperately chased an equaliser.

Kyle Walker – 6 – Solid defensively. One nice run in possession.

John Stones – 4 – Could not live with the Chelsea movement all night long, constantly getting pulled out of position, especially on the Chelsea goal where he ran wide to press the ball (dragging the City defence out of position) but then just sort of stood still as Mount took all the time in the world to pick his pass. Awful, weak defending typical of Stones at his first. Laporte should have started.

Ruben Dias – 7 – Solid, despite no help from his team-mates.

Oleksandr Zinchenko – 4 – Decent performance but slow to react on the Chelsea goal, allowing Havertz to get goal-side.

Ilkay Gundogan – 5 – Did alright in a deeper role but nowhere near his best.

Bernardo Silva – 5 – A decent performance in the middle of the park. Not bad, but not good enough either. Subbed off.

Kevin De Bruyne – 4 – Bar one lovely cutback to Foden he was lost in the mire of Chelsea’s defensive structure. Went off injured in the second-half after a sickening bodycheck from Antonio Rudiger.

Phil Foden – 7 – Some tasty runs with the ball, especially after De Bruyne went off. Almost scored in the first-half but for a phenomenal Rudiger block. The only City attacker who looked at it.

Riyad Mahrez – 4 – Moved well but not well enough. Held on to the ball far too much.

Raheem Sterling – 3 – Guardiola’s big gamble of starting Sterling backfired as the Englishman was as inept in terms of his last pass as he has been all season. Ran really well, lovely movement, but nearly always picked the wrong decision with his passes.

Substitutes:

Gabriel Jesus (for De Bruyne 60′) – 6 – Added so much drive. Why didn’t he start?

Fernandinho (for Bernardo 64′) – 5 – Was combative but despite all the media hype, not functionally all that useful.

Sergio Aguero (for Sterling 77′) – 5 – Had two moments, half-moments, at the death. But in truth Chelsea were set by the time he came on.


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Chelsea

Edouard Mendy – 6 – Did what little he was asked to do very well. Didn’t have a save to make.

Cesar Azpilicueta – 8 – Another heroic display from the Chelsea captain. Rugged and relentless at the back in all his duels plus a massive clearance on the hour to prevent a City tap-in. “He takes his place standing among the giants of Chelsea,” said Joe Cole after the game, and who could deny their long-serving Spaniard who has now won everything the club game can offer in Chelsea blue.

Thiago Silva – 6 – Looked good but had to leave the field early with an injury.

Antonio Rudiger – 8 – Immense block to stop Foden from getting a tap-in. Injured De Bruyne with a hideously cynical bodycheck. Dominated everyone who tried to test him in usual brutal style.

Reece James – 9 – Really impressive performance both with and without the ball from the England wing-back. Got the better of his duel with Raheem Sterling and racked up some very impressive numbers as a result.7 tackles and 5 clearances both game-highs and he really came of age. “Times like this, players become men,” said Rio Ferdinand of Reece James.

N’Golo Kanté – 9 – Everywhere. All the time. Chelsea’s badge has a lion and today they played in a stadium named after a dragon, but neither of those could possibly strike fear into anyone’s heart quite like the sight of N’Golo Kanté.

The smiling assassin was everywhere, winning possession a massive 10 times and was constantly getting in the way of City attacks, thwarting Pep Guardiola in a way that even José Mourinho and Pépé would be impressed by. In 2011 the Portuguese covered every blade of grass as a midfield enforcer as Pep Guardiola lost his first final (0-1 to Mourinho’s Real Madrid). Now, 10 years later, Guardiola loses another final because N’Golo Kanté echoed Pépé’s defensive intensity but was also as important progressing the ball as Angel Di Maria or Xabi Alonso.

“We wanted to be the stone in their shoes,” said Thomas Tuchel after the match, but Kanté was more than just a stone. He was a boulder chasing after the City players like its Raiders of the Lost Ark. It’s impossible to put into words just how good N’Golo Kanté was. As close to getting a 10/10 as anyone has been for years and years. He slayed Pep Guardiola.

Jorginho – 7 – Solid, but didn’t have to do much, such was the greatness around him.

Ben Chilwell – 8 – Very impressive display to keep a lid on Riyad Mahrez. Played his part in the goal, too.

Kai Havertz – 9 – Absolutely sensational performance. Worked so hard defensively (3 tackles and 2 clearances) and devastated City on the break with his movement. Took the only goal of the game supremely well and also put it on a plate for Werner early on. “This guy is going to be a superstar – he is already,” said Azpilicueta about Havertz “he scored in a Champions League [final], and not only that. He ran like crazy.”

Mason Mount – 8 – Worked hard. Played a simply sublime pass through to Havertz for the goal. Caused trouble with his passing.

Timo Werner – 5 – His movement was exceptional, but his finishing was abysmal. Missed two sitters in the opening 15 minutes and only the usefulness of his run to the Chelsea goal prevents a truly miserable rating.

Substitutes:

Andreas Christensen (for Thiago Silva 39′) – 8 – Rock solid off the bench.

Christian Pulisic (for Werner 66′) – 5 – Massive miss when he should have made it 0-2.

Mateo Kovacic (for Mount 80′) – 6 – Came on late but got stuck in and made 2 tackles and a clearance.

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