Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell helped Chelsea seize the 0-2 initiative in the first leg of their Champions League tie against FC Porto on Wednesday night.
After the bitter disappointment of an unfathomable 5-2 reverse against West Brom at the weekend, Thomas Tuchel’s men restored some confidence in a game where the result was arguably more important than the performance.
Which is just as well, as the Blues didn’t enjoy many chances – their first shot all game was the all-important opener from the indomitable Mount, who rifled home a sublime finish after an exquisite turn of poise and pace in the 32nd minute.
His English compatriot Chilwell would cap off the night with a lung-busting run, followed by great composure, to slot into an empty net.
Chelsea’s last trip to the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan in Seville was a 4-0 win in the group stages of this competition. They enjoyed the fruits of Olivier Giroud’s labour then and the Blues never looked like replicating such a scoreline here – but it was a businesslike performance all the same.
Fans may well not be rushing to watch this classic back in a hurry, but it could prove a vital night if the Blues can finish the job in the same stadium for their home tie. Chelsea have one foot in the Champions League semi-finals.
Edouard Mendy – 7/10
Almost caught out by an Olympia attempt by the ‘home’ side, and a ‘keeper of less ability – and stature – would have been picking the ball out of the net. His save from Pepe’s header before the interval was one for the cameras.
César Azpilicueta – 7/10
The Spaniard came under fire from the vocal minority, operating in the shadows of social media, after his role in the West Brom defeat. Critics answered, perhaps. Blocked a goal-bound shot on the eve of the break, before picking up where he left off in the second period with an excellent last-ditch tackle. His header wide in the 62nd minute was an inexplicable howler, but he’s never been known for his aerial ability.
Andreas Christensen – 6/10
Showed his defensive awareness with an important block during a period of sustained pressure from the Portuguese side early on, but he’ll be the first to admit his passing radar was way off all game. Much stronger second half than the first, adding up to a decent night for the Dane.
Antonio Rüdiger – 6/10
A minimal fuss performance from Rüdiger tonight – tidy, composed and not asked many questions of. When he was, Edouard Mendy was there to bail him out early in the second half with a smart stop from Mo Marega’s attempt.
Reece James – 7/10 
Was making all the right runs and consistently fashioned out half of the Roman Sanchez-Pizjuan for himself, but many of his teammates simply weren’t on his wavelength. Defensively solid and easily one of the Blues’ best players on the night – earned his extra ten minutes rest.
Mateo Kovačić – 6/10 
Being the vital last line of defence for a Porto counter attack was Kovačić’s primary contribution in the first period. Pretty anonymous performance by the Croat’s lofty standards, but still played an important role in beating the Porto press and got half of an assist with a hopeful ball to Chilwell towards the end.
Jorginho – 6/10
Struggled physically – a well-documented limitation, by now – but picked out Mason Mount with an inch of space ahead with great vision – a well-documented strength, by now.
Ben Chilwell – 7/10
Looked like a left-back being asked to play left-wing back, to put it kindly. Seemed scared to offer an attacking outlet in the first half, and contributed to the Chelsea left-flank being completely ineffectual. Then he made this writer eat his words with great endeavour and desire to get his goal.
Mason Mount – 8/10 
Who else but Chelsea’s talisman to open the scoring? A wonderful turn, a wonderful take, and a wonderful finish – from a truly wonderful player. Looked invigorated after his goal. No amount of superlatives can describe his importance to this team, as he’s quickly becoming a man for the big occasion.
Timo Werner – 4/10 
If you had to scan over the team-sheet again at half-time to check if the German was playing, it would be no surprise. The former Leipzig man re-appeared one minute into the second half when he put a header over. Either that moment or dribbling the ball out of play under no pressure was his match highlight. His ability to mis-control a ball… impressive? Almost. Infuriating? Definitely. A welcome withdrawal.
Kai Havertz – 5/10 
Started bright with a ball flashed across the box in the first couple of minutes, but influence waned thereafter. Blushes were somewhat spared by the offside flag when he failed to convert with the goal gaping, but the Chelsea starlet was under a fair amount of pressure by the veteran Pepe. He’ll have better nights.
Christian Pulisic 
Olivier Giroud 
Thiago Silva 
N’Golo Kanté