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Player Ratings: Chelsea 2-1 (AET) Palmeiras | Club World Cup

Chelsea are champions of the world after a 2-1 victory over Palmeiras in the Club World Cup final at Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium on Saturday evening.

The Blues made it 19 major trophies in 19 years of the Roman Abramovich era, with the owner in attendance to see his club finally scooping the one that had eluded them after a shock defeat to Corinthians a decade ago in the 2012 edition of this tournament. 

They were made to work for it by their stubborn Brazilian opposition, who were all but happy to sit back, soak up pressure and launch counter attacks at pace. Indeed, the Pensioners had only mustered up two shots on the Palmeiras goal by half-time and their best chance was a long-range speculative effort from an irritated Thiago Silva.

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Thomas Tuchel was back in the dugout having flown over to the UAE after registering a negative Covid test, and he was given some food for thought at the break by the well-drilled defensive unit of the Verdão. It seemed certain a moment of genius was needed to unlock the seemingly impenetrable.

And so it proved when Callum Hudson-Odoi sparked into life, leaving his marker for dust before clipping in a fine pinpoint delivery for Romelu Lukaku to crash a header home in the 55th minute. But the lead only lasted all of ten minutes, when Raphael Veiga dispatched a dubiously awarded penalty.

With neither side able to find the decisive breakthrough thereafter within the 90 minutes, it went to extra time. It seemed destined for penalties until Chelsea were awarded a penalty themselves in the 117th for handball by Luan. Step up Kai Havertz to nab the winning goal as he did in the Champions League final in May. The German could even have had a second if not for a red card challenge from Luan.

The sight of club captain Cesar Azpilicueta lifting the Club World Cup will be forever etched in the memory of Chelsea fans around the world. The Pensioners will now make the trip back to London with another trophy in their travel luggage, with attention turning to a return to Premier League action against Crystal Palace on Saturday. Until then, here is how Absolute Chelsea rated the Blues’ world cup winning performance against Palmeiras...


Edouard Mendy - 6/10

Inserted into the team despite the recent heroics of deputy Kepa Arrizabalaga, he could not replicate his own AFCON penalty heroics with Veiga sending him the other way. That aside, he was relatively unbusy and did well when called upon. Two finals, two trophy wins in February for Chelsea's man between the sticks - will three be the charm when the Blues face Liverpool in the Carabao Cup final at the end of the month?

Andreas Christensen - 7/10 [90]

This was a much improved showing for the Dane after suffering against Al Hilal in the semi-final. Mopped up long balls with minimal fuss and his recovery pace was sorely needed when Palmeiras threatened on the counter attack. Struggled with cramp towards the end of regulation time and you get the sense he's carrying some underlying fatigue.

Thiago Silva - 6/10

The Copa Libertadores holders were happy to sit so deep that the game effectively became a passing drill for 'O Monstro'. He was oftentimes frustrated with the lack of lanes available to him, so he took it upon himself to unleash a rocket from all of thirty yards as the first half drew to a close. Can be considered unfortunate to have conceded a penalty he seemed to know little about, having been adjudged to have handled the ball while in an aerial duel.

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Antonio Rüdiger - 7/10

A formidable showing from the German, who locked down the left flank virtually by himself while Hudson-Odoi was given licence to fly further forward. His eye for a pass was exquisite.

César Azpilicueta - 7/10

When the Blues signed a 22 year-old César Azpilicueta at a cost of £7m from Marseille on the 24th August 2012 - fresh off the back of an historic first Champions League win - one has to wonder how many fans had him pegged down as the last man standing a decade on. Worked incredibly hard here to a fault, launching a number of bids to get in behind the opponent's deep line - efforts which left him seriously flagging as the game drew to a close. No matter what happens this summer, the man affectionately nicknamed as 'Dave' has cemented himself in Chelsea folklore as the only player to win every major trophy possible with the club. He is - without a shadow of a doubt - a captain, a leader, and a legend.

N'Golo Kanté - 7/10

The Frenchman added the Club World Cup to go with his international iteration, and it took a lot of industry on his behalf. Ran his socks off and said driving runs forward were as threatening as Chelsea could get for large periods.

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Mateo Kovacic - 6/10 [90]

The Croatian dynamo was a shave off the pace today, having a tough time in the tackle while struggling to find pockets of space between the lines. Press resistance was fine, but after he had beaten the press he seemed befuddled as to what to do next.

Callum Hudson-Odoi - 5/10 [76]

Perhaps one of the big surprises of Thomas Tuchel's team selection, this was a distinctly average performance from the young Englishman, if not a poor one for vast swathes. His tracking back was negligible and he found himself struggling to get the better of veteran Marcos Rocha - that is, until he took the bull by the horns by making a beeline for the byline and clipping in a delicious cross that Romelu Lukaku ate up gleefully. So while his overall game was not his finest hour (and a half), his inspiration was exactly what the doctor ordered.

Mason Mount - 5/10 [32]

Withdrawn through injury two thirds of the way through the first half and he may well have been carrying it into the game. Struggled to make space or exercise any level of influence, while his usual highly competent set-piece deliveries were awry.

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Kai Havertz - 8/10

Really strutted his stuff in the early going, demonstrating a range of tidy flicks and progressive bursts of energy. Certainly looked the most likely of anyone in the first 45 to be the catalyst and spark for the dissolution of the Alviverde's resolve. Seemed to have spells where he was a passenger before coming alive again with excellent movement. Supreme confidence to seal it at the very death. Left everything out on the pitch.

Romelu Lukaku - 7/10 [76]

It's no secret that the Belgian is going through a tough period, but a Club World Cup campaign in which he notched two in two will do him the power of good. His hold-up play was again very good, in spite of fairly limited service. Could hardly miss for his goal, but he has been missing them recently. Curious decision to withdraw him.


Bench

Christian Pulisic - 7/10 [32]

Brought some much needed fresh impetus and energy to an attacking unit that looked short on ideas. Some neat footwork on display and his tendency to go direct was exactly what Chelsea were crying out for. Unlucky not to get on the scoresheet on a couple of occasions.

Timo Werner - 6/10 [76]

Picked up some decent positions on the left hand-side of the Palmeira's penalty box, but lacked the final bit of technical quality to make the most of his pace in the late stages.

Saul Niguez - 6/10 [76]

The lesser spotted Saul was a surprise introduction, and the Spaniard contributed quite well defensively.

Hakim Ziyech - 6/10 [90]

Astonishingly missed out on a starting berth despite his electric form of recent weeks, and he threatened to show more of the same upon his introduction when a number of Chelsea offenses went through him. Yet focus shifted to the other side thereafter, and a number of his fine deliveries went unanswered.

Malang Sarr - 6/10 [90]

The Frenchman seemed quite nervous when pressured, but he filled his role adequately and should enjoy this success.


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