Chelsea started their Champions League campaign with a bang, comprehensively beating Qarabag 6-0 at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea rung the changes for Tuesday’s match, bringing in new signing Davide Zappacosta as well as Gary Cahill, Andreas Christensen, Michy Batshuayi and Willian.
Despite the changed side, there certainly wasn’t a changed mentality as Chelsea raced into a 2-0 lead with in 20 minutes. The Blues opened the scoring through Spanish winger Pedro, who curled in a strike from the edge of the area, before Davide Zappacosta, on his first start for the club, ran 50 yards and sent in a whipped cross that flew past Qarabag keeper Ibrahim Sehic.
After halftime, the floodgates well and truly opened as Chelsea added four more goals to their tally. Cesar Azpilicueta nodded in a Cesc Fabregas delivery for 3-0, whilst another new signing, Tiemoue Bakayoko, announced himself to the Stamford Bridge crowd with a goal, as he saw his deflected shot hit the back of the net from close range.
Michy Batshuayi then git his name on the team sheet as he fired home from just outside the area after a series of defensive errors gifted Chelsea the ball. Again Zappacosta was back amongst the action, as his cut back was bundled in by a combination of both Batshuayi and an unfortunate Qarabag defender.
Here are the Chelsea player ratings from the game:
Thibaut Courtois – 6
Held on to a couple of long range efforts from Qarabag, but on the whole, he had nothing much to do.
Cesar Azpilicueta – 8
The attacking side of his game is becoming more prominent, a rare goal to accompany his two consecutive Premier League assists. He also got the basics right defensively and helped his side maintain their clean sheet.
Andreas Christensen – 7
Extremely composed on the ball under pressure, his confidence in possession emulated that of David Luiz, the man he replaced in the starting line up.
Gary Cahill – 7
A simple job for Cahill as he was made to recycle possession and snuff out any signs of attacking intent from Qarabag. A routine return to the side for the captain.
Davide Zappacosta – 8
The Italian was exceptional going forward. Whilst he may not have meant to score from what seemed a wayward cross, his cut back for Batshuayi’s goal was superb and showed his ability to beat a man and deliver a pin point cross.
Cesc Fabregas – 7
A brilliant cross for Azpilicueta’s goal, using the outside of the boot to curl a cross right onto the head of his fellow countryman. He was able to dictate the tempo due to Chelsea’s dominance and this attacking freedom allowed him to roam forward and spray passes left, right and centre.
N’Golo Kante – 6
Gave the ball away a couple of times, but honestly, the tempo of the game didn’t suit a player of Kante’s ability as he was expected to contribute further forward due to Chelsea’s dominance and Qarabag’s lack of urgency going forward.
Marcos Alonso – 6
Wasn’t at his marauding best last night and could’ve done with more support on the overlap. He wasn’t really at fault however as most of the play came down the opposite flank, as both Pedro and Willian prefer to play on the right side of attack.
Willian – 7
Produced lovely cut back from a short corner for Pedro’s opening goal, and he was unlucky not to find the back of the net as he hit the crossbar late on.
Michy Batshuayi – 7,
The man always scores, no matter how mediocre his performance up to then may be. Last night was no different, as the Belgian struggled to hold the ball up and make incisive runs that influenced the game. He did, however, manage to grab himself two goals late on, a long range strike and a bundled finish.
Pedro – 7
Scored a trademark curling shot from the edge of the area to open the scoring, and his link up play with Willian was impressive at times.
Eden Hazard – 6
He had his moments, but his mazy runs showed no end product. He should hopefully be ready to compete when Arsenal play Chelsea at the Bridge on Sunday.
Tiemoue Bakayoko – 7
Involved from the outset, crunching into tackles and driving forward with the ball, he also managed to grab himself his first goal for the club.
Antonio Rudiger – 7
looked very capable in the tackle and made numerous recoveries to win back possession. He seems to be settling in nicely. If he can manage to sort out his feet when under pressure then there is potential for Rudiger to replace Cahill on a more permanent basis.