Advantage Chelsea but job not done!
Chelsea took on Tottenham for the 1st Leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night. Conte was given some appreciation by Chelsea fans on his return as he selected a strong lineup to face Chelsea with the likes of Moura, Son and Kane all starting up front. Tuchel selected what seemed a weird lineup at first but figured out to be a 4-2-3-1 of sorts with Kepa in goal, a back four of Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Sarr, and Alonso. A midfield two of Jorginho, and Saul, while Mount, Havertz, and Ziyech started behind a returning Lukaku. There were some strong options on the bench as well but Kante and Silva tested positive before the game and were ruled out.
This game can be summed up in one paragraph with Chelsea being dominant throughout but especially in the 1st half. The first goal came in the 5th minute as Alonso played through Havertz who slotted the ball past Lloris. The collision that followed saw Havertz dislocate his pinky finger which caused him pain and resulted in him coming off at half time. Chelsea didn’t really create several shots on target in the first half but we had several half chances. The possession was all Chelsea as well with Kepa barely having anything to do. The 2nd goal came in the 34th minute as Ziyech swinged in a free kick and Sanchez headed the ball into Davies’s head which then ricocheted into the goal. The 2nd half saw Tottenham grow slightly into the game but Chelsea had better chances in this half and should have finished the game but getting 4 or 5 goals. Lukaku had a few chances while Ziyech, and Werner also went close as well. Overall it was all Chelsea and I don’t think Chelsea even came out of 2nd gear in this game, the midfield was dominant and our players didn’t even allow the Spurs players to string 2 passes together.
Chelsea Team Review
Kepa’s first game of a busy month and he had little to do but still pulled off two solid saves when called upon. A clean sheet to start the month is great and hopefully this continues for the rest of the month. A good game.
Chelsea played a back four in this game which was smart from Tuchel but also because he said he didn’t have any centre backs to play a back three. Azpilicueta, and Alonso did well as the full backs and handled Moura, and Son while Rudiger was simply great. Sarr impressed as well and played well for large parts of the game. A clean sheet as well nothing more you can ask from the defence.
Jorginho controlled the game brilliantly as usual but it was Saul who impressed me the most and was one of the best players in the game. Saul was all over the midfield made several impressive tackles and distributed the ball well. Saul also moved the ball well and created some chances. It was very good to see Saul gain confidence and put in a performance like this and hopefully he continues to do so. Mount did well in the no 8 role and created chances in the midfield. Kovacic, and RLC came on in the 2nd half and did well to see out the game.
Havertz got a goal and did well for the 45 minutes he was on the pitch. Hopefully he is fine. Lukaku came back into the team and was not booed by the fans. The Belgian worked hard and drove forward on multiple occasions and also held the ball up well. There was a brilliant chance for him to score from a header but the chance went just wide. Ziyech was the best player alongside Saul on the pitch. Playing in a more traditional right wing role he was able to cut inside and use his left foot and provided so many good balls during the game. The pressing was also on point. There was a great moment when he played an amazing ball to Werner but the German’s chip was saved by Lloris. Werner came on in the 2nd half and played well and got some shots off. Pulisic came on to play right wing and then payed some minutes at right back. Harvey Vale also came on and had a good moment when he connected well with the offence for a Lukaku chance.
Tuchel gets the advantage going into the 2nd leg but he and the team will know that the job is not done. The switch of formation on short notice did well and it’s good to see that Chelsea can switch it up at times. It might give Tuchel some things to think about. A good performance and a good result for sure.
The 2nd leg will be played next week and for now we play Chesterfield in the FA Cup on Saturday. I expect to see several academy players start the game and several of the usual players to get a rest. COME ON CHELSEA!!!