Chelsea had already qualified prior to tonight’s game at Stamford Bridge, but a much-needed 4-0 win against PAOK sealed top spot in the Europa League Group L.
The game, overshadowed by the loss to Spurs at the weekend, was all about the fringe players who seemed determined to prove to the manager Maurizio Sarri that they deserve starting spots in the upcoming Premier League fixtures.
Olivier Giroud of course steals the headlines with an excellent double that takes his tally to four goals in his last three outings (as well as a match-winning goal for France on international duty) – the calls to put Alvaro Morata back on the bench will grow after tonight.
It also a notable night for youngster Callum Hudson-Odoi, who not only started, but bagged himself a 60th minute goal – the 17-year old ended up playing the entire match which might be an indication that Sarri is willing to play him more in the coming weeks.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek, also mentioned by CFCnet as a player that can force his way into Sarri’s Chelsea XI got a full 90 minutes at Stamford Bridge, and on another night would have scored had it not been for a fine save by the PAOK keeper.
Welsh youngster Ethan Ampadu was a second-half substitute for Zappacosta and the manner of the victory tonight could very well force many of the regular first team names to up their own games or find themselves relegated to the bench in favour of the fringe players.
Chelsea Player Ratings vs BATE Borisov
Kepa Arrizabalaga – 6
Davide Zappacosta – 6
Gary Cahill – 6
Andreas Christensen – 6
Emerson – 8
Cesc Fabregas – 6
Ruben Loftus-Cheek – 7
Ross Barkley – 6
Callum Hudson-Odoi – 8
Pedro – 7
Olivier Giroud – 9
Chelsea Player Ratings – Substitutes
Ethan Ampadu – 6
Willian – 6
Alvaro Morata – 6
Do you agree with CFCnet’s player ratings vs PAOK – the win has taken the Blues through as Group L winners! Let us know your reaction to the game in the Forum and your view on our ratings.