Chelsea dispatched Arsenal 3-0 in Saturday’s early kick-off to further cement their place at the top of the Premier League. Here’s how we rated the Blues players at Stamford Bridge.
Thibaut Courtois: 8
Survived an error in the first couple of minutes which could have changed the tone of the entire afternoon, but then made excellent saves to deny Gabriel and Danny Welbeck before eventually being beaten by Olivier Giroud late on.
David Luiz: 7
While he wasn’t always composed on the ball, the Brazilian put in a calm display. Under Conte, his trademark headrushes seem a thing of the past. He was only really asked questions once Giroud came on.
Cesar Azpilicueta: 8
From right-back, to left-back, to commanding centre-back – the Spaniard has well and truly completed his graduation in this formation and was effective on the ground, in the air and tidy in possession.
Gary Cahill: 8
Excellent at the back, closing off every avenue Arsenal ventured down. He put in a couple of timely interceptions and was superb in the air.
Victor Moses: 8
A hardworking display and showed the attributes associated with all the great wing-backs – a direct threat going forward and the pace, awareness and willingness to track back and help out defensively. Theo Walcott, take note.
N’Golo Kante: 8
There is not a blade of grass at Stamford Bridge that the Frenchman is not acquainted with. Arsene Wenger admitted before the match he had tried to sign Kante before Chelsea got their man – if he’d been in red instead of Francis Coquelin, Hazard’s goal may never have happened.
Nemanja Matic: 8
Injuries deprived Arsenal of a proper defensive screen and ball player in the middle. In Matic, Chelsea had both. He and Kante allow the front four to cause mayhem without ever conceding ground in the middle.
Marcos Alonso: 8
Whether you believe it was a foul for the opening goal or not, Alonso deserves great credit for his speed of reaction and determination to make the loose ball ahead of Hector Bellerin. He enjoyed so much space down the left, only Hazard and Pedro were further forward on average.
He and Hazard were tormenters-in-chief. Supplied an outstanding cross for the Diego Costa header which led to the opening goal and he was clever in his use of the ball, particularly in the final third.
Diego Costa: 8
Didn’t score – though came close when he hit the bar before Alonso profited, but kept Arsenal’s defenders busy enough to allow Pedro and Hazard to do most of the damage. Occasionally guilty of choosing the wrong option; notably when Conte screamed and stamped in frustration as the Spain striker lost the ball rather than play in Pedro.
Eden Hazard: 9
Outstanding on and off the ball. And while his goal was remarkable, the sight of him winning the ball back deep in his own half summed up his overall display. At the Emirates Stadium in September, he was anonymous. Five months on, he was dazzling.