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Chelsea hosted Ajax in the UEFA Champions League matchday 4 game looking to retain their place as toppers of Group H. Frank Lampard’s side barely achieved that with a 4-4 thriller. They were in for an early shocker when Quincy Promes’ 2nd-minute free-kick was put into his own net by Tammy Abraham’s botched clearance. Immediately afterwards, Christian Pulisic won them a penalty which Jorginho converted to make it 1-1!
However, the visitors took control once again when Promes headed in from Hakim Ziyech’s pitch-perfect cross in the 20th minute to go ahead. Ziyech then created a moment of magic when he swirled in a brilliant free-kick in the 35th minute over Kepa Arizzabalaga’s head to make it 3-1! Well, it hit the Spaniard so it’s his own-goal.
Chelsea threatened a comeback with a fiery start to the second half, but then Ziyech assisted again to allow Donny van de Beek to score an expert strike in the 54th to make it 4-1! Chelsea then pulled one back in the 63rd minute when Abraham’s inward header was tapped into the net by Cesar Azpilicueta.
Ajax then had both centre-backs Daley Blind and Joel Veltmenn sent off around the 70th minute and Jorginho also converted the second penalty Chelsea received to make it 3-4! Chelsea then scored again in the 74th minute to make it 4-4 with substitute Reece James scoring his debut goal blasting past a sea of bodies! This was a crazy game. Think of it as Arsenal 5-5 Liverpool one on steriods.
Frank Lampard (7.5) –
Lampard took a big gamble going with an attacking style against the dangerous Ajax. When it was 1-4, it looked he had done a stinker. But his never-say-die attitude then triggered his side to reach superhero levels of confidence. Lampard’s inspired substitutions fueled his side’s comeback and his tactics worked wonders again. The way he allowed his boys to relentlessly attack was a good thing to see. He’s building something special here.
Kepa Arrizabalaga (5.0) –
After his late heroics against Watford, Kepa was in for an early shocker when Promes’ free-kick whirled into his net in the 2nd minute! Could do nothing about the second either. But he should’ve saved Ziyech’s twirling free-kick which zoomed over him, hit the bar, smacked his face and went in. Own goals galore tonight! Well his hilarious own-goal has already become viral.
Saved his graces somewhat with a solid diving save in the 86th. But this will always be remembered for THAT own-goal.
Cesar Azpilicueta (6.0) –
Captain Azpi foolishly gave away an early free-kick with a horrible challenge, eventually leading to Ajax’s strike. Again at fault for the second goal allowing Promes to surge past him to score an easy goal. Saw a yellow-card before half-time for a blatant obstruction on Tagliafico.
Somewhat redeemed his defensive frailties by tapping in from one yard out in the 63rd minute. He looked a change man attacking through the left and seemed to have scored a second from close range in the 78th, but it was ruled out.
Fikayo Tomori (5.0) –
The hero at Amsterdam isn’t the most convincing at his own yard. The youngster’s been turned inside out a couple of times already early on. Booked for a lunge on Neres whilst covering for Alonso. Outmuscled and outmanoeuvred by Neres leading to the 4th. Ajax forced him out of his comfort zone repeatedly and gave him a harsh reality check.
Kurt Zouma (6.5)-
Zouma looks among the more composed in this frantic encounter. Made a few strong challenges early on to ease the tension. Could do very little to deny the goals, but almost scored a sensational goal when he found his inner Maradona, dribbled past multiple players but scuffed his shot over like a true defender.
He was unlucky to see his thunderous header strike the post in the 73rd, but fortunate to see James score off the rebound. In a day when defending was forgotten about, he was probably the best defensively.
Marcus Alonso (4.0) –
Alonso just doesn’t look able to comprehend Ajax’s pace tonight. Too lacklustre dealing with Ziyech and not closing him down quickly enough to stop crosses. Horribly concedes a needless free-kick leading to the 3rd goal after the half-hour mark. Looked absolutely clueless against the tricky Neres and provided very little in attack. Subbed at half-time.
Jorginho (7.5) –
Jorginho showed nerves of steel by calmly converting his 4th-minute penalty to bring some composure to the frantic start. He repeated his heroics in the 71st with another stunning pen. He just doesn’t miss them! The Italian’s distribution was on point and he led his side forward with diligence. Proved why he deserves the captain’s armband.
Mateo Kovacic (6.5) –
Kovacic is working as the ultimate workaholic in midfield. He’s brought that flair in kick-starting their attacks with stylish link-up play. Swifted past bodies with elegance on occasions, doing especially well to create a chance for Abraham with a beautiful through-ball in the 52nd minute. Worked his socks off, destabilized Ajax and brought something exciting whenever on the ball.
Mason Mount (5.5) –
A fiery figure marching the Blues forward. He cleverly found Pulisic inside the box leading to the penalty. Mount wasn’t short of energy, but lacked that cutting edge in creating chances. Unfortunately clashed with Van De Beek and subbed off before the hour mark.
Willian seems determined to do something special tonight. Moving into the right positions and made some surging forward runs in the first half-hour. Swerved into the Ajax box cleverly in the 38th, but his low cross was cleared. Willian’s been an engine fuelling Chelsea’s attacks with his menacing crosses and link-up play.
His never-say-die attitude inspired his side to mount the comeback and he kept on creating chances himself and encouraging others to do so until the very end.
Tammy Abraham (6.5) –
Tammy’s game began in nightmarish fashion when he scored into his own net by botching Promes’ free-kick past Kepa’s reach. Scored in a one-v-one situation with Onana in the 13th, but that ruled out! Luck isn’t on his side today.
His headed clearance from another set-piece in the 27th just brazed past the goal. Someone tell him the opposition goal is on the other side! Nearly redeemed himself with a clinical run in the 52nd minute, but his shot was expertly saved. Put in a brave header to orchestrate Azpi’s strike. Then showcased his striker’s instincts by getting Blind sent-off. Bit unlucky not to get a goal for himself.
Christian Pulisic (7.0)-
After tormenting Ajax in Amsterdam, Pulisic brought his electricity to Stamford Bridge. He superbly raced into the area and forced a challenge from Veltmenn to earn Chelsea’s avenging penalty. Causing Ajax major problems with his incisive, pacy sprints into their box.
Found himself in the thick of things and put in a clever cross for Abraham’s header leading up to the 2nd goal. Thrived under the intensity and provided that spark whenever required going forward.
Reece James (7.0) –
A breath of fresh air ever since coming on. He floated in inviting crosses and scored his first Chelsea goal in style with a vicious attempt to complete the comeback. Deserves more game-time.
Callum Hudson-Odoi (6.5) –
The youngster buzzed right from the get-go since coming on. Made some super dribbles through the left and linked well with his team-mates. Brazed a powerful shot agonizingly wide in the 89th minute.
Michy Batshuayi (N/A) –
The winner at Amsterdam was robbed off a goal when his decisive strike was saved incredibly by Onana. Then had his stoppage time shot go just wide.
Jorginho scored a brace so he must be MOTM right? Well I think not. Willian might not have had an assist or goal, but he was extremely influential with his relentless driving presence. He gets my MOTM.