Reece James vs Aston Villa
Chelsea needed penalties to edge past Aston Villa 1-1 (4-3 pens) at Stamford Bridge in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday evening.
Timo Werner’s well taken header in the 54th minute looked set to send the home side on their way, but Cameron Archer was not to be upstaged in that department and crashed home a bullet header just ten minutes later.
It was a tepid first half to say the least, with neither hosts nor visitors demonstrating an adequate level of fluidity in spite of half chances for both. Hakim Ziyech and Archer would go closest for their respective sides just prior to the interval.
The break was needed for both sides, given neither had got going. Indeed, Chelsea and Villa showed more impetus at the restart and it did not take long for the game to spring into life. Reece James put it on a dime for Timo Werner, before Matty Cash produced an equally impressive delivery for Archer to equalise.
Chelsea fans were treated to the anxiety of a penalty shootout after the 90 minutes were up, but there was little to fear as the combination of woodwork and Kepa Arrizabalaga denied the Villains the opportunity to progress.
It will not be remembered as a classic under the Stamford Bridge floodlights, but it is a place in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup for Thomas Tuchel and friends nonetheless. Up next for the Blues is a huge Premier League encounter against Manchester City. In the meantime, here are our ratings…
Reece James – 9/10
To say he bossed proceedings is an understatement. The most accurate passer on the pitch – substitutes notwithstanding – the most touches on the pitch, and a bit of inspiration the Blues sorely needed with the match deadlocked. Head and shoulders above everyone else on the night.