Chelsea ratings: Reliable stars endure shockers as brilliant Benzema puts Real Madrid in total control
Several members of Chelsea’s trusted rearguard endured nightmares as a Karim Benzema hattrick put Real Madrid 3-1 up at the half-way mark in the Champions League quarter finals.
Vinicius Jr. caused Chelsea’s right side all manner of problems early on and proved too hot to handle for Andreas Christensen as Real Madrid took an early lead.
A one-two with Karim Benzema put Vinicius in behind Christensen before returning the favour with an inch-perfect cross for Benzema. The Frenchman was curiously unmarked, though that should take nothing away from his truly superb headed finish that left Edouard Mendy grasping at thin air.
One quickly became two when the veteran striker bagged a brace with another headed goal. Luka Modric provided the pass with Benzema guiding his header beyond Mendy after clever movement saw off Thiago Silva.
The next goal was vital and Chelsea grabbed it through Kai Havertz. The German was brave when putting his head in amongst the boots to halve the deficit after latching on to Jorginho’s delivery.
Thomas Tuchel rang the changes at half-time, but Edouard Mendy and Antonio Rudiger gifted Benzema his hattrick goal in bizarre fashion.
An aimless long ball saw Mendy control the ball 15 yards outside of his area. A sloppy pass to Rudiger set up a 50/50 between he and Benzema with the striker coming out on top. Needless to say, Benzema passed into the open goal from distance to make it 3-1.
Rudiger and Mendy scored just a five and four respectively in our ratings, though even that was higher than one of Thomas Tuchel’s substitutes.
Edouard Mendy: Blameless for both of Benzema’s truly outstanding headed finishes. The same, however, cannot be said for his third. Had ample time to do whatever he wanted with the ball but a scuffed pass to Rudiger gave Benzema a chance he should never have had. 4/10
Hat-trick for Benzema! ✔️
The worst possible start to the second half for Chelsea… 😔
A terrible defensive mix up between Édouard Mendy and Antonio Rüdiger allows a tap in for Real Madrid's star man ⚽️#UCL pic.twitter.com/GJDtp3IM6u
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 6, 2022
Andreas Christensen: Entrusted with the tough task of containing Vinicius Jr. and struggled mightily with the Brazilian striking the crossbar early on. Looked thankful every time James or Silva helped to double up on the forward, but was caught out by a neat one-two in the build-up for Benzema’s opener. Unsurprisingly hooked at half time. 5
Thiago SIlva: Will be disappointed to be given the slip by Benzema for the Frenchman’s second goal. Given the chance to rectify his error when latching onto a free header from a corner, but floated his effort harmlessly over the bar. A disappointing night for the usually dependable veteran. 5
The ball by Modric 🤤
The precision from Benzema 👌
The Frenchman is on fire. Real Madrid are on fire.
They lead 2-0 at Stamford Bridge! 🔥#UCL pic.twitter.com/YJFTQec6qm
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 6, 2022
Antonio Rudiger: Solid first half from the German with the bulk of Real’s threat coming down Christensen’s side. Booked for a cynical foul to break up a counter-attack, though his team were thankful he did.
That yellow card appeared to affect his judgement for Benzema’s hattrick goal, however, with Rudiger unusually weak in a 50/50 challenge. Mendy’s error started the chain of events, but Rudiger didn’t cover himself in glory either with a tame poke at the ball. 5
Reece James: Misplaced back-pass to concede a corner summed up Chelsea’s nerves after Benzema struck twice. Showed greater composure in the final third with some teasing deliveries and played the pass before the pass that set up Havertz’s goal.
Fared better against Vinicius than Christensen did after Tuchel switched to a back four at the break. Chelsea’s best player along with Havertz. 8
N’Golo Kante: Full of running and needed to be when outnumbered against the experienced midfield trio of Kroos, Casemiro and Modric. Showed excellent vision when putting Havertz through on goal for the game’s first real chance. Strived to get forward after Chelsea went two down but his end product was lacking. Somewhat surprisingly replaced at half time. 7
Jorginho: Metronomic with his passing but struggled to halt Real breaking out when outnumbered in midfield. Excellent pass to tee up Havertz as Chelsea halved the deficit before the break. Sacrificied for fresh legs for the final 25m. 6
Cesar Azpilicueta: Little to do in the way of defending with Valverde a surprise selection down Real’s right wing. Kept things nice and simple when on the ball, though that also ensured Chelsea created little down his flank.
Came close to making it 3-2 after Benzema bagged his hattrick but saw his rifled effort expertly tipped over by Courtois. More comfortable at left-back than wing-back after the tactical change. 6
Christian Pulisic: The quietest of Chelsea’s front three in the first half. Fared little better after the break with a tame shot that Courtois comfortably gathered summing up his night. Replaced by Lukaku for the final half hour. 5
Mason Mount: Industrious start and hustled and harried Real’s midfield at every turn. Influence waned after Real scored and struggled to impact proceedings as much as he’d have hoped in the first half.
Stuck to his task as he always does and came close to pulling one back after the break with a sublime curling effort. Tried hard but not his night. 6
Kai Havertz: Constantly alive and alert to both his own team’s through balls and any inkling of a lax touch from Real’s defenders. Put his head in where it hurts to pull one back when he could’ve so easily got a whack in the face.
Excellent work-rate off the ball and continues to look more and more comfortable as a No9 with each passing week. Used his body to shield the ball well in duels and outmuscled Militao in one instance to showcase his development physically. 8
Mateo Kovacic (On for Christensen, 46m): Helped stabilise the midfield, though wouldn’t have expected his backline to concede a sloppy third within 60 seconds of his substitution. 7
Hakim Ziyech (On for Kante, 46m): Dangerous deliveries but couldn’t find the killer pass. Blazed over in injury time with a decent opportunity. 6
Ruben Loftus-Cheek (On for Jorginho, 64m): Solidified the midfield and helped ensure Chelsea were the dominant side in the last half hour. 7
Romelu Lukaku (On for Pulisic, 64m): Headed wide soon after coming on in a chance he’d have expected to do better with. Compounded his misery minutes later when glancing a free header wide from only six yards out. 3