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  • By Yann Tear at Stamford Bridge

How they fared - we assess the Chelsea players on the night Champions League football returned

Chelsea began the defence of their Champions League title with a 1-0 win over Russia Champions Zenit.

Yann Tear looks at how the players did as European football returned to the Bridge.


Edouard Mendy: 6 Had to keep his eye on a couple of weakish efforts but this was a night when the Senegal stopper could have dozed off without any adverse consequences. That said, took a painful blow to the head after a Zenit striker slid in to try and reach a cross.

Cesar Azpilicueta: 6 The skipper was modestly impactful. Was not overly stretched when it came to defensive duties and was having a quiet night until his perfect chip was met by the head of Lukakau on 69 minutes. Thiago Silva replaced him late on.

Andreas Christensen: 6 Continues to look so composed in the heart of that back three. Assured both in the air and on the deck.

Antonio Rudiger: 8 As robust and uncompromising as ever with tackles which took no prisoners – and almost scored a blinder after a slalom run from deep and crisp low shot which flashed just wide. A timely tackle thwarted a rare Zenit chance after the break.

Reece James: 7 Good piece of work in tracking back to whip the ball off Claudinho as the Zenit player was about to pull the trigger from close range

Matteo Kovacic: 7 Impressive shift from the Croatian, particularly in the first half when he linked play well, broke up attacks, and started moves.

Jorginho: 7 Richly applauded before kick-off after receiving an award from Uefa’s president before kick-off for last season’s accomplishments.

Marcos Alonso: 7 His sheer ebullience and presence down the left again underlined just why he has kept Ben Chilwell sidelined since last year’s final in Porto. Came close to scoring late on with a low shot before making way for Chilwell, making his first appearance of the season.

Mason Mount: 6 Some typically dangerous carries from deep into the danger zone.

Hakim Ziyech: 6 Some neat twists and turns on the edge of the box but it was not quite his night as he failed to fully exploit the pockets of space he made for himself. Made way for Kai Havertz just past the hour.

Romelu Lukaku: 8 Always a handful. Although Zenit’s well-organised defence marshalled him well, they could do little to stop him making the breakthrough with a towering downward header.

Kai Havertz: 6 The hero of Chelsea’s win in Porto came on for Ziyech after 64 minutes.


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