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Player Ratings: Chelsea 1-3 Real Madrid | Champions League

Chelsea succumbed to a 1-3 reverse in the first leg of their Champions League quarter final tie against Real Madrid at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday evening.

The torrential rain in west London heralded a torrid performance from the Blues, who were left shellshocked by the sheer quality exuded by the fearsome partnership of Vinicus Jr and Karim Benzema, coupled by a myriad of their own mistakes.

A quickfire double of outstanding headers from Los Blancos' talisman Benzema gave the visitors a two goal cushion by the 24th minute. Kai Havertz would fashion up one of his own in reply five minutes before half-time to stem the tide and offer a much need glimmer of hope.

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Given their shaky start, a one goal deficit was probably the most Thomas Tuchel could have hoped to work on at the interval. His men were second best in every department, but the goal had offered up a lifeline.

A lifeline that lasted all of about 50 seconds in the second half, with Edouard Mendy and Antonio Rudiger conspiring to give a goal away to Benzema, who could hardly believe his luck.

In the final analysis it was a comedy of errors that has left the Pensioners with it all to do if they are to defend their Champions League crown. Up next is a tricky Premier League assignment away at Southampton before that salvage operation can begin. 

Until then, here is how Absolute Chelsea rated the Blues’ performance against Real Madrid:


Edouard Mendy - 2/10

Take nothing away from the sumptuous nature of both of Benzema's goals, but you'd have fancied the Senegalese giant to get his palms on at least one of them. What was rather more unforgivable was his error for La Casa Blanca's third, serving it up on a plate through timid sweeping. Almost killed the tie beyond doubt with a similar bit of shaky distribution. Looks well off it at the moment and this'll have done no favours to his confidence - but he's only got himself to blame.

Andreas Christensen - 3/10 [45]

The Dane had the crossbar to thank for sparing his blushes early on after a slip had let in Vinicius Jr, but his luck was to run out when he let the Brazilian get beyond his grasp for the opener. Mercifully hooked at half-time after a pitiful performance that might leave his suitors FC Barcelona wondering if he can cut the mustard against their arch-rivals.

Thiago Silva - 5/10

Usually a supreme performer no matter how those around him struggled, but he came up against a supreme performer in Benzema. There's no shame in having a bad day at the office against the Frenchman, but this will sting someone of O Monstro's mentality and class. 

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Antonio Rüdiger - 4/10

This was not brilliant from the former AS Roma man, who has now leaked seven goals since his scorcher against Brentford hit the back of the net. While fault primarily lies at the door for Mendy for the third, Rüdiger was far too casual and lax in being alert to the danger in the first instance, and it proved his undoing when he was closed down. His general performance was altogether less assured, too.

Reece James - 6/10

Still getting up to speed after a couple of spells on the sidelines, but this was still a half decent showing. Played a big role in the Chelsea goal and was his typical powerful self. Truth be told, most of his struggles came from the static

Jorginho - 6/10 [64]

While it's clear the Italian isn't at his full potential playing alongside someone with scant little discipline in his positioning, he conjured up a real moment of quality to deliver an inch perfect ball for Havertz to restore some life to the Pensioners' performance.

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N'Golo Kanté - 4/10 [45]

Chelsea fans won't forget his clinics against Los Merengues in the historic Champions League run last season, but they might want to forget this one in a hurry. It's hard to deny the Frenchman has lost a step and, combined with his committal to a swashbuckling style, left the Blues exposed on a couple of occasions. His outings in 2022 haven't merited his inclusion in the starting XI and he shouldn't be getting the nod on the notion of him being a different animal under the floodlights on a European evening. Not at all surprising withdrawal at the break.

César Azpilicueta - 6/10

One of very few who can hold their head high. The Blues' Spanish skipper was as industrious as ever, really putting a shift in with a determination to get his side back into the game. As it happened, the fingertips of pantomime villain Thibaut Courtois put paid to one very literal example of that.

Mason Mount - 5/10

Pressed well, but one would expect much much more from the young Englishman. Fairly ineffectual in an attacking sense and that is his responsibility, although he was unlucky to see a great effort soar over the woodwork when he attempted to grab the bull by the horns.

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Christian Pulisic - 4/10 [64]

Found space hard to come by and struggled to get a foothold in the game, try as he might. Partially hamstrung by Havertz often occupying his flank, but he needs to be more proactive in dropping deep and collecting the ball. The American can do a lot of harm by directly driving at defences, but we didn't see enough of it here.

Kai Havertz - 8/10

The German was a livewire spearheading the attack, forging openings with his intelligent runs and deftness of touch. His header to half the deficit was exactly what the doctor ordered and further reinforces his penchant for the big occasion. Crying out for support all evening, and it wasn't forthcoming.


Bench

Hakim Ziyech - 5/10 [45]

Well known to conjure up magic but it never looked overly likely after his introduction. The Moroccan looked like he was shaking off some rust and was actively sluggish at points. A tad livelier as the game wore on, but without the desired results.

Mateo Kovacic - 6/10 [45]

Coming up against his former employers, the Croatian dynamo was decent enough with some trademark light-footedness. His omission from the off was a tad befuddling, given he has been the most consistent provider of quality for the hosts this season.

Romelu Lukaku - 4/10 [64]

Chelsea's record transfer had his golden opportunity and he spurned it, glancing a free header wide. A difficult spinning ball mitigates that somewhat, but not when you cost north of £97m and claim to be in the same echelon as the forward man who bagged a hat trick at the opposite end of the field here. Just not good enough.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek - 6/10 [64]

A few moments of uneasiness at the back aside, he brought a fair bit of impetus into the centre of the park and the Blues definitely improved going forward once he was introduced.


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