Chelsea progressed to the final of the Carabao Cup with a confident win against Tottenham in regular time and penalties. The 2-1 scoreline meant that Tottenham were level on aggregate which took the game straight to penalties which Chelsea won 4-2. The lineup was as predicted Emerson and Giroud finally got the nods ahead of Alonso and the false 9 formation while Pedro and Barkley started ahead of Willian, and Kovacic. Chelsea dominated the first half as without any real attack Spurs chose to defend and play on the counter. The first goal came in the 27th minute after a loose header from corner found its way to Kante who volleyed into the net as went through the legs of three Spurs players. Barkley was fouled in the Chelsea half and a quick release to Hazard meant that he passed it to Azpi who cut back in the box for Hazard to finish from close range to double the lead in the 38th minute. Chelsea went into the half ahead on aggregate and in the lead but Spurs rallied in the second half and Llorente scored in the 50th minute to bring the score level on aggregate. Chelsea then created more chances but Spurs had grown into the game to take the decision to penalties. Eriksen scored the first for Tottenham, then Willian levelled for Chelsea. Lamela then put Spurs ahead but Azpi expertly dispatched his penalty. Dier then skied his penalty to give Chelsea a chance to go ahead and Jorginho put Chelsea ahead with his trademark skip penalty. Moura then saw his penalty brilliantly saved by Kepa, and Luiz scored the final penalty to send Chelsea to the final.
It was an expert performance and Chelsea brilliantly responded to Sarri’s cry for more determination and a better mentality. Higuain himself was great on the sidelines as he showed emotions with the fans.
Player Review –
- Kepa – Brilliant, he got his moment in the spotlight in a season which he has gone under the radar providing consistent performances.
- Azpilicueta – Showed great leadership throughout the game and during the penalties although he does seem to be slowing down as time goes by.
- Rudiger – Another consistent performance nothing amazing but nothing bad.
- Luiz – Not a great performance by Luiz but with Kane, Son and Alli not present he managed to get through without any major mistakes.
- Emerson – A brilliant game by Emerson, he grew into the match and provided a threat via crosses and was solid defensively. Emerson needs to start more games ahead of Alonso and Sarri has stated that the only reason Alonso starts is because he is taller. Hopefully he Emerson gets more chances with Higuain on the pitch.
- Jorginho – Fair amount of criticism has been placed on Jorginho in recent weeks but he had a brilliant game against Spurs. Was caught out a couple of times but he recovered well, dictated play and could have got a couple of assists. Jorginho’s penalty technique is so awesome.
- Kante – Kante was probably the best player on the pitch. The world continues to debate between him and Jorginho but with his 4th goal of the season he is slowly growing into his position. Kante made forward runs, great dribbles and could have provided 2 or 3 assists if the chances had been finished. Also, he was great defensively.
- Barkley – Not great but not bad either, Barkley did the simple things well but with RLC returning to fitness he would probably drop to 3rd in selection at the moment.
- Pedro – Pedro was not as good as the rest but was agile and maybe overplayed on a couple of occasions. There were chances that he should have scored but was decent and subbed of for Willian.
- Giroud – Giroud’s link up play was great but his performance in front of goal was similar to Morata’s performance against Arsenal last year. The difference was that Morata missed several one on one chances and Giroud missed a couple of headers. All I can say is I’m happy Higuain is here.
- Hazard – Hazard returned to his brilliant best as he played in his regular left wing position. Got a goal and could have had at least one more. Hazard stated post match that he didn’t care about what the manager said about him in his typical nonchalant behaviour. Hazard might be going at the end of the season or he might stay but he needs to give it his all either way and that seems likely.
- Willian – Willian didn’t really make any impact when he came on but he scored his penalty and for now that is all that matters.
- Kovacic – Kovacic carried on what Barkley was doing in that he played well without dazzling.
Chelsea now head into the FA Cup as we put the final at the back of our minds for now. The pundits can say what they want we just have to keep our heads down and talk on the pitch and whenever we do that we usually don’t need to be worried. COME ON YOU BLUES!!!