Eden Hazard scored on his return to the starting line-up as Chelsea secured their third successive Premier League win with a patient victory away at Newcastle. Here’s how we rated each Blues player in the 2-1 success.
Kepa Arrizabalaga: 6
May as well have brought a chair, so comfortable was the first 80 minutes, but will not be happy at being beaten by Joselu’s near-post header, albeit he had very little chance from such a short distance.
Cesar Azpilicueta: 8
He played it safe with a second-half chance, opting to place the ball at the near post when only smashing it seemed likely to lead to a goal and was unfortunate with a chance before the break. The Blues captain supported well in attack and defended faultlessly.
Antonio Rudiger: 7
He lost his man for a corner in the second half with a lack of concentration that could have easily seen Salomon Rondon score with a header. Otherwise the German was untroubled defensively and was a fraction away from finding the net with a breathtaking second-half shot from 30 yards that smacked the bar. Stood firm late on as Newcastle finally awoke.
David Luiz: 7
Another quietly impressive performance from the Brazilian, who showed glimpses of what a stylish footballer he can be, but moreover played within himself thereby showing what a world-class defender he is when he puts his mind to it. He was, however, one of three men who must share the blame for the Newcastle goal, when he allowed his man to get in front of him.
Marcos Alonso: 8
As sparky and intelligent as ever, Alonso never neglected his defensive work yet still managed to practically play as a winger. He took up countless cute attacking positions, as demonstrated for his run which earned the penalty and his strike which led to DeAndre Yedlin’s own goal. Should have been braver in the lead up to the equaliser though.
N’Golo Kante: 8
Kante was typically energetic and continued to embrace the greater freedom afforded to him by his more attacking role. Did not see as much of the ball in defensive areas but made numerous vital tackles and raced forward at every available opportunity.
Patrolled and controlled the breadth and depth of the pitch, always assured and always probing and looking to pass forward as a first option. Effortlessly brilliant and a pleasure to watch.
Mateo Kovacic: 7
Neat and tidy but overshadowed by his fellow midfielders, it was still a more than promising performance from Kovacic, who looked elegant and comfortable throughout his first Premier League start.
The Spaniard was hampered by Newcastle’s lack of ambition, which denied him space in behind and led to Chelsea generally looking for their more creative talents to unlock the home defence. Pedro should have scored with a first-half effort he curled off target after getting a lucky break, but he played his part in a fine team display.
Eden Hazard: 9
Back in the starting line-up and dominated despite the typical roughhouse treatment that constantly stretched the boundaries of legality and at times clearly overstepped the mark. Mohamed Diame somehow escaped a caution but the yellow cards belatedly started to pile up in the final third of the match. His penalty was superbly taken.
Alvaro Morata: 6
Morata held the ball up well enough but did not get as involved as he could have done, failing to show for possession on a couple of occasions when his winger cut inside and needed an out-ball. Rarely squandered possession and almost got on the end of a teasing Azpilicueta cross shortly before he came off.
Olivier Giroud: 6
Gave Chelsea more of a presence up front after coming on and was involved in the build up to the own goal which secured the victory.
Brought pace and another outlet and then lifted spirits with his direct running when Chelsea were pegged back.
Ross Barkley: 6
Helped the Blues earn a thoroughly deserved win during a steady late cameo.