The Champions League returned to Stamford Bridge for the first time in 2 seasons and Chelsea responded emphatically by putting Azerbaijani side Qarabag to the sword in a 6-0 drubbing. Although the quality of the opposition wasn’t great, there were some impressive performances in blue that will have a lasting impact on the fans as well as their manager. So, here are your contenders for Man of the Match.
Despite the fact that the Brazilian didn’t bag a goal, it was his quick thinking that started the rout as he set up Pedro for the opening goal with 5 minutes on the clock. Willian was involved in a short corner and rolled a perfectly-weighted ball to the edge of the area where Pedro was waiting and the Spaniard slotted home past the goalkeeper. The only way the defenders could stop him was by fouling him so he did well to come away unscathed. Had a low drive saved well by Ibrahim Sehic before Michy Batshuayi hit the rebound wide. Overall, a decent performance from him but not the best to judge considering the low standard of the opposition.
2. Cesc Fabregas
It was just too easy for Chelsea’s midfield maestro, he was given so much space and time on the ball that he could’ve got out a cigar. Had the freedom of Stamford Bridge to pick passes and claimed an assist after his cross found Cesar Azpilicueta. Barely put a foot wrong and often played from deep as the game progressed in order to conserve his energy. N’Golo Kante and Tiemoue Bakayoko did much of his running for him so Fabregas could use his talented playmaking ability to dictate the tempo of a routine game.
1. Davide Zappacosta
Even though it was only Qarabag, the impression that the Italian is giving is a very good one. It was a tireless performance by the man who arrived from Torino on Deadline Day. He replaced Victor Moses in the side at right wing-back and showed both attacking and defensive qualities after a nervy start to the game. His first goal in Chelsea blue was a rather fortunate one but it still was a wonder to behold. He received the ball off Thibaut Courtois and sprinted down the right-hand side, past a couple of players, and fired in a rasping ‘shot’ that beat the keeper at his near post because of sheer power. Although it almost certainly was a cross, he certainly didn’t let it show as he ran straight to the crowd, beaming from ear to ear. He also grabbed an assist late-on as he won the ball back outside the Qarabag penalty area and marched into the box before putting a cross in towards Batshuayi who, with the help of Maksim Medvedev, bundled it home. Competition will thrive between him and Victor Moses for that position in the weeks and months to come.