Chelsea and Nottingham Forest shared the spoils in a lively 2-2 Premier League draw at Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon.
A quickfire brace from Raheem Sterling saw Frank Lampard‘s side overturn a first-half deficit – a feat which has seemed impossible for the Blues this year – only for Taiwo Awoniyi to notch his second and snatch a precious point for the relegation candidates.
It didn’t take long for the visitors to draw first blood, with Edouard Mendy coming to claim a high ball but ending up empty handed to gift Awoniyi in minute 13.
Penny for the thoughts of those supporters inside Stamford Bridge at the half-time interval, who had seen Frank Lampard’s men put in perhaps the limpest 45 minutes of a disastrously limp season. It was all too easy for the away outfit, who had more on the line in this contest and yet must have been almost stunned at how the west Londoners had rolled over for them.
The Pensioners came out for the second half with renewed impetus and turned the game on its head through two goals in seven minutes from Sterling – the latter of which was a fine strike. But the lead would last all of four minutes before Awoniyi would again find the back of the net in the 62nd minute.
It would end all square and up next is the unenviable trip to the Ethiad Stadium to face Pep Guardiola’s Premier League chasing Manchester City outfit. In the interim, here is how Absolute Chelsea rated the players’ performance in the capital.
Edouard Mendy – 4/10
The lesser spotted Edouard Mendy replaced Kepa Arrizabalaga unexpectedly between the sticks, and it didn’t take long to see why he’s been playing second fiddle this year. Caught in no man’s land to give Awoniyi the easiest of headers for the opener. Ultimately had little to do but conceded two. Difficult to see a future in blue at this juncture.
Trevoh Chalobah – 8/10
Not known for his attacking endeavour but his desire to get forward and pick out Sterling for the Pensioners’ first goal was excellent. Often criticised for his efforts in spite of playing in an unfamiliar position, it’s hard to contest that the Sierra Leonean fulfils his duty as a dependable squad player well – he barely put a foot wrong in this one.
Thiago Silva – 5/10
Usually infallible but bears some responsibility for his questionable marking and movement for the visitor’s goal. His superb performances for Chelsea means he fully merits the banner that was unveiled at Stamford Bridge for him today – this wasn’t another for the portfolio though.
Benoit Badiashile – 6/10
The greatest compliment you can afford him is that he looked the more competent of a centre-back pairing who had a tough day of it all things considered, with Awoniyi having a lot of joy in the heart of the box.
Lewis Hall – 5/10
Not a lot to aim at going forward on the left flank, yet he acquitted himself well with some bright moments. Less chemistry with colleague Sterling than an American romcom with z-list actors. Showed his inexperience when he was caught napping at the back stick for Awoniyi’s second.
Mateo Kovacic – 3/10 (45)
As sloppy and complacent as he’s been for the brunt of this season in giving away the ball carelessly in the lead-up to the Forest opener. Set the tone for his truncated game. No redeemable qualities of note. Has a queue of suitors as he enters the final year of his contract, but on this evidence it’s difficult to ascertain why.
Enzo Fernandez – 6/10
A stark reminder of his quality and vision came via a long searching ball midway through the first period. Kept things ticking over in the engine room and dictated the tempo of the fixture as the afternoon wore on. Pumped out long balls like they were going out of fashion – a joy to behold.
Conor Gallagher – 5/10
Covered plenty of ground but was a bit of a bystander all told, and his passing was pretty wayward throughout.
Noni Madueke – 6/10 (72)
In the very least, the young Englishman looked to be proactive and drive directly at the Tricky Trees backline. As is expected of someone of his tender years, however, decision-making and ball retention was suspect at best for the majority of proceedings. Keeping it clean and simple bore fruit for the equaliser.
Raheem Sterling – 8/10
A real game of two halves. Seemed to be constantly caught in possession and offered scant little in the first half, spurning a decent opportunity because he dwelled on the ball too long. Yet he more than made amends by first drawing the Blues back on level terms early on in the second period and then edging them ahead with a finely taken goal from distance. Shows he has the quality and the nous – it’s just something Blues fans haven’t seen consistently as of yet since his arrival last summer.
Joao Felix – 5/10 (72)
Was in the right place for Chelsea’s best chance of the first half, doing well enough to direct a header towards goal for Keylor Navas to deny. Pretty anonymous in the main otherwise. His highlight of the match was causing a right kerfuffle by blasting the ball at his own teammate.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek – 7/10 (45)
The difference between him and the man he replaced was night and day, with an assist to boot. Played progressive and positively on the front foot.
Kai Havertz – 5/10 (72)
Barely had a touch after his introduction and therefore had little impact.
Hakim Ziyech – 5/10 (72)
A little wasteful and rushed in his decisions. Created a decent chance for Sterling to nab his hat-trick and the winner, but alas it went awry.
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