Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Chelsea vs Bayern Munich - Match Ratings

By Shane Thomas


Petr Cech (8)

Has atoned for some sub-par performances earlier in the season, with some stellar displays at the back-end of the campaign, and he was brilliant again in Munich. A major part of the rearguard that kept Bayern at bay for 83 minutes, and his two saves in the penalty shoot-out played a crucial role in Chelsea's victory.

Jose Bosingwa (7)

One of many bit-part players who has responded positively to Roberto Di Matteo's management. Didn't attack as much as he can, but was solid defensively, keeping Franck Ribery relatively quiet.

Gary Cahill (7)

Accepted the role of defensive leader with admirable responsibility. Did a lot of the work John Terry would have done, positioning himself around the near-post, looking to be first to the numerous crosses Bayern put into the box. His recent performances - fitness permitting - have probably secured him a place in England's starting XI for Euro 2012.

David Luiz (7)

Like Cahill, went out to play less than 100% fit, and his admirable display is enshrined by his post-match confession that his hamstring begun to give him trouble form the 20th minute onwards. After getting too tight to Mario Gomez early on, he defended with focus and concentration thereafter, and his penalty in the shoot-out was the most accomplished of the night.

Ashley Cole (8)

Like Cech, Cole's another player to have re-found his groove over the past few weeks. His encounter with Arjen Robben was redolent of the night when Cole made his breakthrough on the world stage; a compelling battle against Cristiano Ronaldo at Euro 2004. And just like that night in Lisbon, Cole got the better of his individual contest with Robben. He was indomitable, and would have been unlucky if his inability to pick up Thomas Mueller for Bayern's goal was the game's deciding moment.

John Obi Mikel (7)

Another misfit whose fortunes have changed since Di Matteo's promotion to head coach. Was given a simple task, but carried it out competently, at times operating as a third central defender. His passing wasn't as efficient as it needed to be, but his job was to be destroyer than creator. And in that respect, he did what he was asked to do.

Frank Lampard (6)

A lot of praise has been given to Lampard. Nebulous terms such as "brave" and "courageous" have been ascribed to the Chelsea captain on the night. And he deserves credit for his emphatic penalty, and his  tireless application. But Lampard was in the team to do more than just, "run around." A feature of Chelsea's play under Di Matteo has been Lampard perceptively passing to the right-midfielder. But Lampard's distribution was atrocious, and contributed heavily to the monopoly of possession that Bayern had. England fans can only hope that Lampard doesn't repeat this come Euro 2012.

Salomon Kalou (6)

Another man who worked hard defensively, but failed to make the most of Chelsea's attacking strategy. With his pace, Kalou was meant to be Chelsea's "out-ball". This was largely down to Lampard's slack distribution, which rendered Kalou as a blunt instrument, evinced by the fact that when Chelsea needed a goal, he was withdrawn for Torres.

Juan Mata (5)

Arguably Chelsea's player of the season, so it was a pity for him to be so off-colour, especially as he was playing in his preferred second-striker position. When Chelsea countered, he either made the wrong decision, or executed his pass poorly. A miss in the shoot-out rounded off a sub-par night for the Spaniard.

Ryan Bertrand (6)

A selection based solely on Bayern's threat down the right-hand side. Playing as an auxiliary wing-back, Bertrand defended diligently, often doubling up with Cole whenever Robben got the ball. However, his attacking threat was non-existent. But like Mikel, he was only in the side to be a repellent, and by that measure, he let no-one down.

Didier Drogba (7)

His crowning glory. So much so that it'll be forgotten that his hold-up play was average, and that he was largely nullified by Jerome Boateng and Anatoliy Tymoshchuk. But his header in the 88th minute was a thing of wonder, propelling the ball as if fired from a shotgun. It was a champion goal, which eventually turned into a champion display, as his penalty won the match, and the European Cup.


Manuel Neuer (7)

Unfairly castigated by some for Drogba's goal, as the Berlin Wall probably couldn't have kept the Ivorian's header out. Looked comfortable in between the sticks, was rarely threatened, and impressed in the shoot-out, both as a saver, and as a penalty taker.

Phillip Lahm (7)

Was left with little to do defensively, and was often an outlet on the right flank, especially when Robben drifted elsewhere. Showed why he's been one of the game's premier full-backs over the past five years.

Jerome Boateng (7)

Performed woefully in the German Cup Final a week previous, but was much improved in the Allianz Arena. Did a good job on Drogba during the 120 minutes, but may have nightmares about letting the 35 year old escape his attentions for one moment. It was the moment that led to the Chelsea equaliser, and precipitated Bayern's defeat.

Anatoliy Tymoshchuk (7)

Was singled out as Bayern's weak link, but Tymoshchuk impressed, playing out of position. The Bavarians dominating possession worked to the Ukrainians advantage, as he often stepped out into his more natural position of midfield to start attacks. Tymoshchuk passed the ball intelligently, and was pretty blameless for Chelsea's victory.

Diego Contento (7)

Another player who was earmarked as vulnerable, but Contento was unfussy and comfortable in defence, and always gave his teammates an option when attacking. The fact that he barely got a touch of the ball was the fault of his colleagues, rather than the young German.

Bastian Schweinsteiger (8)

Started in a deep lying midfield role, but his influence increased as he pushed further up the pitch. Bayern's metronome, he started the bulk of the attacks, and controlled the midfield in a manner that suggests that "Schweini" is returning to the form that made him one of the star players of the last World Cup. But missed the crucial spot-kick, as Cech pushed his penalty onto the post.

Toni Kroos (7)

Could be Schweinsteiger's natural successor, for both club and country. He's a player I thoroughly enjoy watching, and passed the ball superbly in the opening exchanges. However, as Schweinsteiger pulled rank and became the more attacking of the pair, Kroos was relegated to the margins of the midfield. But he still managed to provide the assist for Mueller's goal, and he could be a star of this summer's European Championships.

Arjen Robben (5)

Another cup final to add to Robben's scrapbook of nightmares. Struggled to free himself from the attention of Cole and Bertrand, and often drifted around the pitch to find space elsewhere. This only served to unbalance the Bayern team, and as the match progressed, Robben let his frustrations get the best of him, culminating in missing a penalty in extra-time that should have won the match.

Thomas Mueller (7)

Was hit and miss, failing to make the most of a first-half opportunity. But Mueller has a wonderful appreciation of space and anticipation, which was shown by the way he took his goal. And he's an ever willing runner, continuously giving his teammates an outlet in the final third.

Franck Ribery (6)

Another one of Bayern's star names who failed to shine. He was a constant threat however, and deserves credit for not allowing his head to drop. It was Ribery who won the penalty that should have resulted in the Frenchman leaving the Allianz Arena with a winner's medal.

Mario Gomez (4)

The very worst of Gomez was on display. He can be clumsy, clunky and ungainly, but he scores goals. However, he contrived to miss a series of chances that caused me to gnash & wail in frustration - so I can't imagine what it must have been like for the fans of "FC Hollywood". Gomez has proven himself to be an adept goalscorer, but on nights like this, he's a clumsy, clunky, ungainly guy in a football shirt.

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