Chelsea Player Ratings vs Aston Villa: Enzo Fernandez, Gusto, Jackson, others shine in Blues away win

Chelsea took an early lead through Conor Gallagher’s thumping effort after just 11 minutes on the clock.

Nicolas Jackson made it 2-0 Chelsea midway through the first half following a rampant start from Mauricio Pochettino’s men.

Early in the second half, Enzo Fernandez scored a stunning free-kick to make it 3-0 as the Blues run riot at Villa Park.

Villa got a late consolation through Diaby, which was more than they deserved on the night.

GK Djordje Petrovic, 7: Alive and alert with two routine saves as Villa pressed for a quickfire leveller, but otherwise faced nothing of note until he had to flick John McGinn’s shot over in first-half stoppage time. Booked for time wasting as the Blues managed the second period astutely, until Diaby’s last-action consolation.

DF Malo Gusto, 8: Caught the eye throughout with his energy on the right flank. Never in any danger defensively and always willing to lend support in attack, most notably when he slung in a fine assist for Jackson to double the Blues’ lead.

DF Axel Disasi, 7: A change of defensive partner as Benoit Badiashile replaced Thiago Silva, but Disasi was unperturbed. Untroubled in the air and calm on the deck, the two Frenchmen were expertly shielded by their midfield enforcers throughout — although he did make one key late block to deny McGinn.

DF Benoit Badiashile, 7: Like Disasi, could count the benefits of the spadework put in by Caicedo and Fernández, and rarely looked flustered as a result — even if he was occasionally wasteful with forward balls.

DF Ben Chilwell, 7: Named captain with Silva confined to the bench. Rose to the challenge of shackling the in-form Leon Bailey in a defensive sense, and always looked to get forward to lend his support in attack.

MF Conor Gallagher, 8: Steered in a brilliant first-time finish to break the deadlock, giving Martínez no chance with his effort into the top corner. The headline moment in a performance otherwise built on sweat-soaked endeavour and insightful reading of the play.

MF Moises Caicedo, 8: Guts and glory in equal measure. A constant comfort blanket for his defence and an astute interchangeability with Fernández laid the foundations for Chelsea’s unexpectedly straightforward progress.

MF Enzo Fernández, 9: Key role in Gallagher’s opener, first hustling Boubacar Kamara down an alley and then sparking the attack, later followed by a sensational free kick. His name-pointing celebration — not to mention a sublime all-round display — served a reminder of his enormous talent.

FW Noni Madueke, 8: A terror for the Villa defence throughout, embarking on a number of high-speed, slaloming runs into dangerous areas. Provided much of the energy and ambition so lacking in the Blues’ attack of late.

FW Nicolas Jackson, 8: Making his first start since December following Senegal’s AFCON exit, the 22-year-old added real menace to Chelsea’s attack, playing a part in the first and clinically nodding in their second. Also put in an admirable defensive shift.

FW Cole Palmer, 7: Constantly fell below the hosts’ radar, popping up all over the forward line and giving the Villa defence a permanent headache. Will rue his missed opportunities to get on the scoresheet, but can be happy with his shift.

FW Raheem Sterling, N/R: Handed the final 15 minutes in place of the livewire Madueke, by which point his job was largely one of defensive backup.

DF Thiago Silva, N/R: Dropped to the bench after the Blues’ recent flood of concessions, the veteran entered the fray for the final 10 minutes to close out the win.

DF Alfie Gilchrist, N/R: The young boyhood Blue continued his education with a taste of a the last moments of a huge win.

FW Christopher Nkunku, N/R: Dropped for the returning Jackson, but handed a late cameo for the closing exchanges.

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