Chelsea 2-1 Plymouth (AET): Player ratings as Blues avoid major slip-up

Chris Deeley
Cesar Azpilicueta levelled things up for Chelsea
Cesar Azpilicueta levelled things up for Chelsea / Craig Mercer/MB Media/GettyImages

Chelsea were taken the distance by League One Plymouth on Saturday afternoon at Stamford Bridge, needing extra time to score their second goal of the game despite peppering Argyle goalkeeper Mike Cooper from the very start of the match.

Marcos Alonso's 105th minute winner was the Blues' 39th shot of a tense, hard-fought match in front of 6,000 Plymouth fans, who were in dreamland when they went ahead in just the eighth minute. A Chelsea bombardment ensued and, although Cesar Azpilicueta equalised near the end of the first half, it took more than an hour to seize the victory.

Plymouth genuinely threatened in the second half of extra time, forcing a couple of saves out of Kepa and drawing a shout for a penalty for handball as they brought the total number of shots in the game over 50, but it was a 117th minute penalty from Ryan Hardie that was the chance the visitors needed to take the match to a shootout.

His penalty was weak, and low, and right into Kepa's breadbasket. A late flurry of half-chances didn't yield anything more than Hardie's easie chance from 12 yards, and Chelsea will now head to the Club World Cup with their place in the fifth round of the FA Cup secure.

Chelsea player ratings vs Plymouth

1. Goalkeeper & defenders

Kepa Arrizabalaga (GK) – 6/10 - Looked a little wrong-footed for the Plymouth opener, but otherwise did his bit for the Blues and stayed switched on during long periods of the ball being 60 yards from his box. Hardie's late penalty was eminently saveable, but he was still in the right place at the right time.

Cesar Azpilicueta (RB) – 8/10 -
Scored a backheel flick goal. Anything to be said about his defensive contribution is entirely negated by the fact that he scored a backheel flick from a cross. What's he even doing making that run?!

Andreas Christensen (CB) - 4/10 - Hooked at half time after...yes, 'being on the pitch' for the first half.

Antonio Rudiger (CB) - 4/10 - Pigs can't look up. Donkeys can't fly. Antonio Rudiger cannot look comfortable in a back four.

Malang Sarr (LB) - 4/10 - Looked solid on the left-hand side of the Chelsea defence, and slotted seamlessly into a role in the middle once Marcos Alonso came on for Christensen. Points docked for being rubbish for the penalty.

2. Midfielders

Jorginho looked rusty / Craig Mercer/MB Media/GettyImages

Jorginho (DM) - 3/10 - Looked off the pace most of the afternoon and, when Chelsea spent most of the afternoon piling forward and guarding against counter-attacks, his early booking was...unhelpful.

Mateo Kovacic (CM) - 5/10 - Will have gone into half-time wondering how on earth he didn't get Chelsea's equaliser before Azpilicueta. Last the frame of the goal rattling twice in the first 45, including a big thunk from range.

Mason Mount (CM) - 6/10 - Ran a lot, put in a delicious ball for Azpilicueta's goal and was denied once himself by a fine Mike Cooper save.

3. Forwards

Romelu Lukaku
Lukaku was a passenger / Visionhaus/GettyImages

Hakim Ziyech (RW) - 6/10 - Started to look more and more comfortable as the game went on, picking out some great balls into the box. Didn't get much value for them though, with Plymouth's tightly organised defence allowing his forwards precious little room.

Romelu Lukaku (ST) - 2/10 - Might be telling that of Chelsea's main chances in the box, Lukaku was on the end of zero of them. A bit more lively in the second half.

Callum Hudson-Odoi (LW) - 4/10 - On one hand, he got the ball a lot and nearly scored. On the other, he kept running down blind alleys and didn't score because he wanged a header off the bar from point blank range.

4. Substitutes

Marcos Alonso (46') – 5/10 - More or less entirely anonymous until he – y'know – scored the winner.

Kai Havertz (64') – 4/10 - Looked for all the world as though he was destined to score just after coming on, but Joe Edwards made up five yards on him for an astonishing chasedown block.

Timo Werner (81') – 3/10 - Looked for all the world like he was destined to score about five minutes after coming on, but was denied by an astonishing chase and tackle by James Wilson. Then he just started running offside and, on one occasion, of out play.

Saul Niguez (98') – N/A

Trevoh Chalobah (112') – N/A

For more from Chris Deeley, follow him on Twitter at @ThatChris1209!