Ben Chilwell has enjoyed a solid debut season in Chelsea colours, with the former Leicester City man quickly establishing himself as one of Thomas Tuchel’s key players – so much so that he earned himself a rest for today’s trip to Manchester City.
With one eye on the Champions League final against the same opposition later this month, Chilwell was offered the chance to recharge his batteries while Marcos Alonso deputised at the Etihad.
It was Chilwell’s back-up Alonso that turned out to be Chelsea’s match-winner, the Spanish full-back scuffing home a late effort to ensure Tuchel’s side returned to London with a valuable three points.
Man City went in at the interval 1-0 up courtesy of a Raheem Sterling tap-in, but it could have been even more for Pep Guardiola’s side had Sergio Aguero converted his penalty shortly after.
Instead, the Argentine’s effort was saved after he tried to fool Chelsea keeper Edouard Mendy with a ‘Panenka’ penalty, but Mendy remained rooted to the spot to catch Aguero’s attempt.
Aguero was left to rue his attempted showboating, as two goals from Hakim Ziyech and Alonso turned the tie on its head.
Watching on at home was Chilwell, who clearly loved what he saw, tweeting: “Up the chels!” in support of his teammates heroic last-gasp efforts.
Chiwell did not stop there, and singled out Reece James, who put on a stellar display, giving Manchester City defender Benjamin Mendy a headache from the first whistle.
“Thought this guy was brilliant tonight! @reecejames_24,” he tweeted.
Do you want all the latest news from around Chelsea Football Club straight to your email inbox?
Of course you do.
By signing up for our Chelsea newsletter, you will receive a twice-daily email, focused on all the latest news from Stamford Bridge.
And, not only that, but you will get exclusive content from our club writers Sam Inkersole and Adam Newson before anyone else.
You won’t miss a thing when it comes to the Blues.
How do you sign up?
It’s easy and only takes seconds.
Simply type your email address into the box at the top of this article – or any article on the Chelsea section of football.london in fact – labelled ‘Get the biggest daily stories by email’ and click ‘Subscribe’.
Alternatively, you can click here and tick the Chelsea box to subscribe for our Blues newsletter.
If you decide later that you no longer wish to receive the emails, simply follow the unsubscribe link in one of the newsletters – but we don’t think you’ll want to.
James has been in and out of the side in recent weeks, often having to suffer less minutes under Tuchel than he was used to under previous boss Frank Lampard, though he’ll have done his playing prospects no harm after today’s showing.
The victory further strengthens Chelsea’s grip on a top-four finish, a remarkable turn-around from where they were when Tuchel arrived – the Blues languished in tenth when Frank Lampard was relieved of his role as Chelsea boss.
Tuchel has also guided his side to both the FA Cup and Champions League final, giving fans not one but two major honours to dream about as the season draws to a close.