Onto the semi-finals!
Chelsea took on Brentford in a London Derby for the quarter-final of the Carabao Cup at the Brentford Community Stadium. Brentford fielded a strong XI with no youth or academy players involved while Chelsea and Tuchel made some big changes. Kepa started in goal with a back three of Azpilicueta, Chalobah, and Sarr. Xavier Simons came into the senior squad and played right wing back while Alonso played left wing back. Saul, and Kovacic started as the midfield pair while Harvey Vale, and Soonsup-Bell made their debuts alongside Barkley. It was an exciting lineup and the sense before the game was that it was a free for all.
The first half was all Chelsea in terms of possession but the best chances fell to Brentford in the box with a few free headers but Kepa pulled of some great saves to keep Chelsea’s clean sheet. Chelsea were doing well though and based on context to go 0-0 into the 2nd half was decent outcome. The 2nd half saw Jorginho, and Pulisic come on for Kovacic, and Soonsup-Bell at half time. Jorginho brought further control to the game while Pulisic added some pace in behind Brentford’s defence. James, Mount and Kante came on to try and get Chelsea the win and we did manage the opening goal in the 80th minute as Reece Jame’s low cross was knocked into the net by Jansson. Pulisic then ran onto a pass into the box and got their before Fernandez who brought him down to concede a penalty in the 85th minute. Jorginho stepped up to make it 2 and seal the win for Chelsea.
Chelsea Team Review
Kepa had a brilliant game with 3 big saves and a clean sheet in his pocket. With the Africa Cup of Nations coming up in January we will need Kepa to step up and he has done whenever called upon this season. Good game for him.
Azpilicueta did well while Sarr was also decent in defence. Chalobah was brilliant as the 3rd defender and to play after a possible injury in the last game was good to see. Simons did well and was probably the least involved of the 3 academy players. It was a competent performance from him. Alonso also played better than he has in recent games and was actually beating Canos and other players in the left hand side. James came on in the 2nd half and forced the own goal with his assist. A clean sheet to add to all of that.
Kovacic got 45 minutes to get back up to speed and did well. Saul played the full 90 in the deeper midfield position and when Jorginho came on he played further forward. It was another good game from him following the Leeds performance and hopefully he can continue this upward trajectory. Vale did well for his debut, plenty of energy, and good link up play along with the ability to hold up the ball. Vale also came the closest to giving Chelsea the lead in the 1st half as his header found Fernandez. It was a good debut for him and hopefully there is plenty more to come. Barkley was not great and looked slow and pensive on the ball. Jorginho was Jorginho when he came on and there were some really good moments from him. Mount did well when he came on and Kante was just brilliant.
Soonsup-Bell was also good and given that he was out ill and only had one day to train he did well. Pulisic came on in the 2nd half and added pace and the ability to dribble to the forward line. He drew the penalty as well which was good.
Tuchel will be extremely happy with this performance especially with the youngsters. It looked like a tough game given the circumstances but we did well controlled the game and got 2 goals as well. Progressing to the Semi-Finals and players rested, Tuchel could not ask for anymore.
Chelsea move onto the semi-finals and remain in 5 competitions this season. The semi-finals will be played in the first few weeks of January and they will be played against Conte and Spurs. Next up is a trip to Villa Park on Boxing Day, COME ON CHELSEA!!!.