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Player Ratings: Man City 2-0 Chelsea | Carabao Cup

Joel Middleton

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Player Ratings: Man City 2-0 Chelsea | Carabao Cup

Chelsea were taught a harsh footballing lesson in a 2-0 loss to Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday evening.

The Pensioners went into tie low on confidence, after a humbling defeat to arch-rivals Arsenal at the weekend served as a nasty wake-up call as to the current state of a squad only eighteen months removed from besting their opposition on the evening to become kings of Europe.

Despite ceding ground in the possession stakes as expected, it was actually the visitors who enjoyed the brunt of the best chances in an entertaining first period. USMNT talisman Christian Pulisic drew smart stops from Stefan Ortega before impressive hot prospect Lewis Hall applied everything but the finish on the cusp of the interval.

Stefan Ortega of Manchester City makes a save form Lewis Hall of Chelsea (hidden) during the Carabao Cup match. (Alamy)
Stefan Ortega of Manchester City makes a save form Lewis Hall of Chelsea (hidden) during the Carabao Cup match. (Alamy)

The first 45 minutes had been like a breathless chess match, with the men in the royal shade of blue having some success in playing out from the back and springing the counter, but also plenty of occasions in which they had been caught cold by a relentless press.

But the pieces quickly fell off the board after the break. Riyad Mahrez stroked home a free kick in the 53rd minute before Julian Alvarez notched a rebound just five minutes later. Ortega remained in inspired form to deny the Blues any answer.

It's another loss for Graham Potter and a miserable early Carabao Cup exit before a fixture with huge Premier League ramifications against Newcastle United. Until then, here is how Absolute Chelsea rated the players’ performances against Man City.

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Edouard Mendy - 8/10

It's been a period of intense scrutiny for the Senegalese giant, one in which he had to wait patiently as his colleague Kepa seemingly usurped him in the pecking order under Graham Potter. Tonight was a reminder of his strengths. Strong saves either side of half-time were particular highlights, while he showed general all-round good command of his area and a confidence to come and claim aerial balls successfully that had somewhat eluded him earlier in the season. Could have been a cricket score without him.

Trevoh Chalobah - 6/10

Not the easiest day at the office by any stretch for the young Sierra Leonean. He often found himself on the cover for Ruben Loftus-Cheek, whose awareness was found wanting on more than an acceptable number of occasions. The man affectionately known as 'Trev' had his own troubles too, particularly with the nippy Julian Alvarez hanging off his shoulder. Conceded the foul for the opener in a rare moment of misjudgement.

Kalidou Koulibaly - 5/10

A few moments of trademark recklessness and rashness aside, this was shaping up to be a decent performance from the former Napoli man. It is a shame that such a rookie error, opting not to jump to block Riyad Mahrez's free kick, went on to undo that good body of work from someone with such an experienced head on his shoulders.

Stefan Ortega of Manchester City collects as Kalidou Koulibaly of Chelsea charges in during the Carabao Cup match. (Alamy)
Stefan Ortega of Manchester City collects as Kalidou Koulibaly of Chelsea charges in during the Carabao Cup match. (Alamy)

Marc Cucurella - 6/10

Coming up against the side who showed a strong interest in him this summer before his new employers swooped, he deserves some credit for his passing often offering a useful angle out of trouble and for an excellent tackle in his own area at one point.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek - 4/10

His versatility may afford him minutes but it also affords fans a headache and spells of serious anxiety. The full-back experiment clearly isn't working for the Lewisham lad, with Sergio Gomez and Jack Grealish having him 'on toast' between them. A defensive liability, and his attacking contribution doesn't warrant Chalobah virtually pulling double duty.

Denis Zakaria - 6/10

Not quite the same swashbuckling performance up against a different proposition than Dinamo Zagreb, but this was perfectly serviceable from the Swiss star. Added some steel and reinforcement to the engine room.

Manchester City versus Chelsea; Ilkay Gundogan of Manchester City crosses the ball past Denis Zakaria. (Alamy)
Manchester City versus Chelsea; Ilkay Gundogan of Manchester City crosses the ball past Denis Zakaria. (Alamy)

Mateo Kovacic - 5/10

Captain for the evening, but without the step-up in performance to go with it. Failed to produce the killer ball when it presented itself on a fair number of occasions and looked every bit a man not firing on all cylinders.

Lewis Hall - 8/10 [76]

Extremely positive from the youngster, who more than warrants this opportunity through the body of work he has put together over the last couple of seasons in particular at youth level. Not overawed by the occasion in the slightest, showing plenty of energy in the press and not being afraid to go on driving runs and take on his man - not something you can say often of his senior peers. Really should have taken at least one of his chances, although much of the credit must go to the hosts' goalkeeper, who was surely a contender for man of the match.

Hakim Ziyech - 6/10

In a portfolio of pretty poor performances when the opportunity has arisen of late, there was actually kernels of quality in this one. None of his teammates had the wherewithal to get on the end of a couple of handy balls into the box from the Moroccan, and there were glimpses of a real player with the ball at his feet. Still far too laboured in his contribution on the whole however.

Chelsea's Lewis Hall greets manager Graham Potter after being substituted off during the Carabao Cup third round match at the Etihad Stadium. (Alamy)
Chelsea's Lewis Hall greets manager Graham Potter after being substituted off during the Carabao Cup third round match at the Etihad Stadium. (Alamy)

Christian Pulisic - 6/10

Started off really bright, with excellent driving runs and an attitude to stamp his mark on the evening. A couple of times he made the wrong decision, but he showed plenty of accountability and responsibility. Waned after the interval, never really showing the same level of influence thereafter.

Armando Broja - 7/10

Terrier like battle and spirit, often at both ends of the pitch. Evidently eager to make a splash - to a fault, at times, although one would sooner see that desire and work rate than tired, languid efforts at the spearhead of the Chelsea attack. His running into the channels was most pleasing, affording Pulisic the space to get into the pockets behind. The Albanian was just too often without the requisite support, though.

Bench

Mason Mount - 6/10

A few neat turns and nice periods of play here and there.

Raheem Sterling - 5/10

Offered very little of note against his former side.

Conor Gallagher - 6/10

Added a bit of energy and battle in the dying embers.

Cesar Azpilicueta - 6/10

Looked up for the fight with plenty of passion, but the damage had already been done.

Kai Havertz - N/A [76]

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Manchester City, Chelsea, Football, Carabao Cup

Joel Middleton
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