Kepa Arrizabalaga’s heroics earned Chelsea a 6-5 penalty shootout win against Villarreal in the Super Cup on Wednesday night.
The Blues completely dominated proceedings in the first half and eventually found the breakthrough just before the half hour mark. Kai Havertz latched onto Marcos Alonso’s through ball before excellently cutting back into the area for Hakim Ziyech to bury home.
Villarreal applied more pressure after going a goal down and came close seconds before the referee blew for half time when Alberto Moreno’s thunderous volley crashed against Edouard Mendy’s crossbar.
Gerard Moreno then saw his effort tipped onto the post after the break, before finally getting his goal in the 73rd minute. The Spaniard combined brilliantly with Boulaye Dia, stroking the ball into the top corner after latching onto his strike partner’s back-heeled lay off.
Unai Emery’s side finished the stronger of the two, although neither team could find a winning goal before the referee blew to put an end to the first 90 minutes, sending the Super Cup into an extra period.
Both teams seemed to tire throughout the extra 30 minutes with neither really threatening a decisive strike all that much, before the inevitable penalty shootout.
Kepa was strangely brought on but justified the decision by saving Aissa Mandi’s spot kick after Sergio Asenjo had stopped Havertz’s. The Spanish goalkeeper then proved the hero of the hour, saving Raul Albiol’s spot kick in sudden death to earn Chelsea the Super Cup courtesy of a 6-5 shootout victory.
Noe, let’s see how the players rated.
Edouard Mendy (GK) – 7/10 – Forced into a few good saves, notably making one crucial stop from Dia before half time, and tipped a Moreno effort onto the post in the second period. Couldn’t stop Moreno’s finish in the second half, though.
Trevoh Chalobah (CB) – 8/10 – Was comfortable containing the threat from Villarreal’s left and was alert to the danger inside his own area, making seven ball recoveries and five clearances. Excellent defensive showing on his competitive debut.
Kurt Zouma (CB) – 7/10 – Never looked fazed, always assured and positionally sound. Registered five clearances to keep his goal safe, while also providing a threat at the other end.
Antonio Rudiger (CB) – 7/10 – Typically strong, brutish and (almost always) fair, never giving the Yellow Submarine’s forward line a sniff of an opportunity. Also demonstrated an excellent range of passing, playing some lovely progressive and measured balls upfield. Scored the decisive penalty in the shootout.
Callum Hudson-Odoi (RWB) – 6/10 – Bright form the first whistle, giving Alfonso Pedraza grief with his sharp feet and elusive movement. Couldn’t quite produce from dangerous areas, but was a constant thorn in Villarreal’s side.
N’Golo Kante (CM) – 7/10 – Typically sensational, constantly mopping up and efficiently recycling possession to keep Chelsea moving along safely, registering seven interventions.
Mateo Kovacic (CM) – 8/10 – Took his time to get into the game but really started to boss the midfield. Stifled his opposition, making 11 recoveries, and sprayed the ball around fantastically to switch play and put his teammates in behind throughout, racking up three key passes.
Marcos Alonso (LWB) – 8/10 – Solid in his defensive duties but stunning going forward. Phenomenal movement, threatening running, brilliant physicality and great delivery, including playing Havertz through in the build up to the opener – one of his four key passes. Converted his shootout spot kick despite a slip.
Hakim Ziyech (RW) – 6/10 – Really struggled to get into the game for the most part, but the one time he varied his approach play resulted in him grabbing a tap in. Worryingly forced off with injury before half time.
Timo Werner (ST) – 6/10 – Fairly anonymous despite some decent movement. Did well to test Sergio Asenjo early on but was denied by a smart save.
Kai Havertz (LW) – 7/10 – Floated around wonderfully and terrorised the Villarreal back line with his variety of attacking play, but couldn’t quite recreate his influence in the second half and missed his penalty. Grabbed a delicious assist for Ziyech’s goal, though, and looks set for a big season.
Christian Pulisic (RW) – 6/10 – Some bright movement and spatial awareness, but seemed to lack sharpness and cutting edge – although suggested otherwise in the shootout.
Jorginho (CM) – 6/10 – Don’t you just love those Jorginho penalties?
Mason Mount (LW) – 6/10 – Bright following his entry onto the field, and converted an assured spot kick.
Andreas Christensen (CB) – 6/10
Cesar Azpilicueta (RWB) – 6/10 – Beautiful penalty to keep Chelsea fighting in the shootout.
Kepa Arrizabalaga (GK) – 10/10 – Well, what a decision that was. Saved two penalties in the shootout to win the cup and now has hero status. Job done.
Sergio Asenjo (GK) – 7/10 – Had no chance with Ziyech’s strike but made a some decent stops to deny Werner, Alonso later on and Mount.
Juan Foyth (RB) – 8/10 – Was physical and restless against Chelsea’s left-hand side, making four ball recoveries and winning four aerial battles while also managing two key passes. Scored calmly in the shootout.
Raul Albiol (CB) – 5/10 – Showed his experience with some intelligent and alert tracking of runners and assured interventions at vital moments. However, despairingly saw his spot kick saved by Kepa, giving Chelsea the cup.
Pau Torres (CB) – 6/10 – Demonstrated good awareness in the box, positioning himself to make four clearances from Chelsea crosses. Fell short with his distribution, however, at times playing his way into trouble.
Alfonso Pedraza (LB) – 5/10 – Willingly bombed up the left wing to provide an option of the overlap, but caught napping at a crucial time as he lost Ziyech in the build up to Chelsea’s opener.
Yeremy Pino (RM) – 6/10 – Tracked back tenaciously throughout, although was dominated by Alonso. Couldn’t really add that much of a threat at the other end, either, creating just one opportunity which Moreno narrowly squandered.
Manu Trigueros (CM) – 5/10 – Never got a handle of the game and was very disappointing creatively, rarely finding the precise balls to release his forward colleagues.
Etienne Capoue (CM) – 6/10 – Generally positioned himself well to contain some of Chelsea’s creative threat, but wasn’t helped by his midfield partners.
Alberto Moreno (LM) – 5/10 – A little overran in midfield and couldn’t quite get a grip on proceedings. Should’ve equalised before half time but emphatically struck the crossbar.
Gerard Moreno (ST) – 8/10 – Linked up play to decent effect, and worked tirelessly to make an impact on proceedings. Unlucky to see an effort saved onto the woodwork, but eventually got his goal with a stunning equaliser. Also converted his penalty brilliantly.
Boulaye Dia (ST) – 6/10 – Energetic throughout, making some excellent runs in behind although severely lacked a final product – notably missing a one-on-one in the first half. Demonstrated a good understanding with Moreno, providing a cute assist for the equaliser.
Pervis Estupinan (LB) – 7/10 – Injected lots of grit and energy in normal time, before dispatching a cool penalty in the shootout.
Mario Gaspar (CM) – 6/10
Moi Gomez (LM) – 6/10 – Good spot kick in the shootout.
Daniel Raba (ST) – 6/10 – Scored an emphatic penalty.
Manu Morlanes (CM) – 6/10
Aissa Mandi (RM) – 4/10 – Terrible penalty in the shootout.