All to fight for in the second leg!
Chelsea perhaps unluckily lost to Tottenham in the 1st leg of the Carabao Cup Semi-Final as Harry Kane scored a penalty in the 26th minute thanks to the intervention of VAR. Sarri picked a standard lineup with a few changes as Kepa started alongside Azpi, Rudiger, Christensen, and Alonso. Christensen for Luiz is pretty standard as it allowed our defence to deal with the pace of Spurs attack but Emerson should have started ahead of Alonso. Jorginho, Barkley, and Kante started in the midfield while Willian, Hazard, and Hudson-Odoi started up front in a false 9 formation. Hudson-Odoi’s selection was particularly important considering all the news surrounding him.
The game started of at a decent pace with both teams attacking each others half, at the 20 minute mark and with the score at 0-0 Chelsea had already done better than they had in the league fixture at Wembley. The goal came in the 26th minute but was flagged offside initially, the assistant raised his flag which confused the Chelsea defenders who did not track back allowing Kane to run in on goal and Kepa to foul him in the box. VAR was referred to and from the angle shown on tv it looked like Kane was onside and so a penalty was given. After the match the more sensible angle as in the one from the linesman’s perspective showed that Kane’s upper body was offside and so the penalty should not have been given. The goal gave Spurs a boost as they saw out the 1st half but never dominating Chelsea. Chelsea dominated the second half in terms of possession and chances but the lack of a striker and cutting edge in the final third meant that Spurs were able to hold on for the win. A decent performance by Chelsea and considering that the substitutions like Giroud, Pedro, and Kovacic were all half fit, Chelsea have everything to fight for in the second leg.
- Kepa – Apart from the foul on Kane another good performance by our goalkeeper.
- Azpilicueta – A strong performance and did everything right.
- Rudiger – Apart from the mess up for the offside a strong performance by Rudiger as well.
- Christensen – Given the start ahead of Luiz today and performed well, Christensen should see more game time in coming weeks.
- Alonso – Overall poor, very poor passes and crosses, several break ups in play, and if he isn’t scoring goals Alonso just does not look good enough. Emerson needs to start, even Hazard was left frustrated.
- Jorginho – Did what he is in the team to do, although I feel that if a player with better passing abilities and physical prowess comes along say Paredes, Jorginho’s could find himself fighting for his spot.
- Kante – Player’s playing in a new position should learn from Kante, he has not only continued to play at his usual level but he has really started posing an attacking threat in the penalty box.
- Barkley – Barkley seems lost and it was another game in which he was just a fraction too slow in his play. Kovacic to come back when fit and falling behind at the moment.
- Hudson-Odoi – Given probably his most important start and did not damage to his reputation, posed an attacking threat and played well throughout the game. I think Giroud should have come on for Willian as it would have given CHO a chance to provide him some service.
- Hazard – Did his duty in the false 9 position but lit up the second half once he was allowed to roam. He needs to get more support from the players around him.
- Willian – A fully fit Willian is shaky but a half fit Willian should not play and he capped off a poor performance by the left hand side of the pitch. Willian should see less and less game time as CHO continues to perform.
- Pedro – Came on for Willian but similar to Willian was lacking in form.
- Kovacic – Came on for Barkley and improved in the position but again lacked fitness.
- Giroud – On for the final moments in place of CHO but never really got a chance to show anything.
A 1-0 loss but one that we can build on, two weeks from now we play the second leg and we might have a couple new faces to play on the pitch especially if we have signed a striker by then. We can still reach the final! COME ON YOU BLUES!!!