Chelsea player ratings vs Dinamo Zagreb: Zakaria remarkably sharp with Sterling and Aubameyang dangerous

Denis Zakaria impressed on his much-awaited Chelsea debut  (Action Images via Reuters)
Denis Zakaria impressed on his much-awaited Chelsea debut (Action Images via Reuters)

Chelsea ran out comfortable 2-1 winners in their final Champions League Group E game with Dinamo Zagreb.

The Blues had already secured the top spot and a place in the last 16 ahead of kick off but Graham Potter opted for a strong XI with tough fixtures against Arsenal, Manchester City and Newcastle before the World Cup.

Even still, Dinamo took the lead through Bruno Petkovic but Chelsea were quickly back in front after goals by Raheem Sterling and debutant Denis Zakaria.

Potter got his timely morale boost after his side eased towards victory for the rest of the match after a dismal 4-1 defeat to Brighton at the weekend.

Nizaar Kinsella was at Stamford Bridge witnessing the action...

Edouard Mendy - 6

Starting his first game under Graham Potter, Mendy immediately conceded a goal early on but had little chance to stop the finish.

He produced a decent save from Josip Sutalo early in the second half.

Cesar Azpilicueta - 5

The Chelsea captain was partly at fault for Petkovic’s opening goal, deflecting the ball back in his direction under pressure from Mislav Orsic.

Trevoh Chalobah - 6

Such was Chelsea’s dominance, most of Chalobah’s actions were attacking headers. He was cool and calm in possession of the ball.

Kalidou Koulibaly - 7

After two weeks out with an injured knee, there was an early scare after he went down in pain in a collision. He got up and produced a tidy display but could he have been closer to Petkovic for his goal? Probably yes.

Headed over in the first half and completed 60 solid minutes.

Ben Chilwell - 6

He failed to close the cross into the box for Petkovic’s goal. He became an attacking threat as the game wore on through his brilliant set piece delivery and good wing play as a forward-minded full-back.

Suffered a hamstring injury with his final touch of the game.

Jorginho - 7

His pass led to Chelsea’s first goal which was instructive of his dangerous forward passing through the game.

Denis Zakaria - 8

Having not played a single minute since signing on transfer deadline day three months ago, he looked remarkably sharp. His first touches in a Chelsea were tight and under pressure which he handled well.

His 30th minute whipped finish gave Chelsea the lead and it was just the reward for his patient work behind the scenes. He came off in the 70th minute with after a possible knock, going down the tunnel for treatment, but it didn’t look particularly serious.

Mason Mount - 7

The 23-year-old played the game with a yellow card hanging over his head and avoided a booking.

His highlight was a Cruyff turn midway through the first half, in another productive performance. He also produced a stunning free kick that was brilliantly saved by Livakovic late on.

Kai Havertz - 6

He produced an incredible pass for Chelsea’s first shot of the match through Sterling, his early touches often flamboyant and a joy to watch after his match-winning goal in the last round against Salzburg.

His headed effort in the second half troubled Dominik Livakovic.

Raheem Sterling - 7

His finish in the 18th minute calmed Chelsea’s nerves after a slow start. He had a few shots over and was at times wasteful but his goal will do him a world of good.

It’s his fifth goal of the season which leaves him top of the scoring charts despite a barren run in the last nine games for club and country.

Raheem Sterling ended his run without a goal (Getty Images)
Raheem Sterling ended his run without a goal (Getty Images)

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang - 7

The 33-year-old’s back heel brilliantly set up the goal that Sterling took calmly.

He clearly wanted a goal ahead of the Arsenal game and curled a stunning effort onto the bar early in the second half. Unfortunately, he left the field without that goal but was dangerous throughout.

Substitutes

Thiago Silva - 5

The 38-year-old came on after 65 minutes as part of a pre-agreed change with the returning Koulibaly. He missed a huge sitter after a brilliant cross by Chilwell but, thankfully, it didn’t matter much.

Conor Gallagher - 6

Also playing with a yellow card hanging over him, the homegrown star almost scored with a powerful wide angle shot soon after coming on.

He had another big chance from close range in stoppage time but couldn’t beat the goalkeeper. It came after Christian Pulisic’s impressive set up.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek 6

He had a tidy quiet cameo after coming on for the match winner Zakaria.

Armando Broja - 6

The Albania international was bright and showed that he could slot into attack when called upon. Equally, he couldn’t do much with what little time he had.

Christian Pulisic - N/A

Unused subs: Marcus Bettinelli; Marc Cucurella