TALK about taking your chance – step forward Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
In a classic cup tie at Stamford Bridge, both managers rang the changes to give their fringe players and youngsters an opportunity to shine.
Loftus-Cheek did exactly that on Wednesday night.
He was like a re-model of the 2018 version of himself when he bossed the England midfield in the World Cup finals before his major injury.
He put in a ten out of ten performance for Chelsea, and that cannot be said about many players too often.
But not only did he put in a world-class display, he put it in playing in a very unfamiliar position in the holding role by himself behind N’Golo Kante and Saul Niguez.
Then you have to factor in that he hasn’t started a game for just over a year, and you really must take your hat off to this guy and applaud him.
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It was vintage Loftus-Cheek. He was collecting the ball in tight spaces, dribbled past two or three players, then drove forward.
It was entertaining to watch Chelsea players give him the ball surrounded by Villa shirts, knowing that he would be more than comfortable taking it and keeping it, which he was.
He was calm and played with total confidence, something that Chelsea fans who believed in him from day one were begging to see.
What he did tonight was give Thomas Tuchel a massive headache.
How do you now drop a player who has just put in such a superb performance?
He would have surely gone up the pecking order tonight and will be impossible to ignore going forward.
What made the night even better of course was Chelsea actually winning the match, but that was made hugely difficult by a stubborn Aston Villa side, who ended up taking them all the way to a penalty shootout and could have nicked it in normal time.
This was Chelsea’s night, though, and more importantly the comeback of Loftus-Cheek.
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