Chelsea 0 (10) vs. (11) 0 Liverpool Carabao Cup Final Review

Proud of the team but wastefulness cost us…

Chelsea took on Liverpool at Wembley for the Carabao Cup final on Sunday evening. The pre-match narrative and build up by pundits had formed to make it seem like it was the world against Chelsea because the London Clubs ownership. Liverpool selected a strong XI with everyone who was expected to start making the XI except Kelleher who started in goal and Keita who replaced Thiago in the warm up. Mendy started in goal for Chelsea with a back three of Chalobah, Silva, and Rudiger after Christensen injured his Achilles in training. Azpilicueta, and Alonso started as the wing backs with Kovacic and Kante in the midfield. Pulisic, Mount and Havertz started up front. Strong lineups from both teams.

Chelsea started the game brightly with Pulisic going close in the opening minutes. Azpilicueta played a brilliant ball in but Pulisic’s shot was directed straight at Kelleher from close range. Chelsea then went close again with Mount missing from close range and seeing his shot go wide. Liverpool then grew into the game and dominated possession for much of the 1st half. Mendy was forced into making a stunning double save. The first half ended with Liverpool having had the better half.

The 2nd half began with Chelsea starting strongly once again. Pulisic played in Mount thanks to a brilliant lobbed pass and Mount hit the post which was very unlike him. Mendy made a couple more good saves but Liverpool were largely at bay in the 2nd half. Keita should have been sent off for a tackle on Chalobah but somehow the foul went Liverpool’s way while Chalobah required stitches after the game. The game headed into extra time with Chelsea having not been clinical in the final 3rd.

Extra time was all Chelsea and Liverpool looked tired. Lukaku scored a brilliant goal running in behind the Liverpool defence but it was ruled offside. When it went to VAR his whole body was onside and the goal should have stood but  VAR dubiously used his left arm as the marker to rule it offside. Havertz then scored another goal but he was offside. The game headed into penalties and all players scored their penalties except Kepa who’s shot went sky high. Liverpool won the cup.

Chelsea Team Review

Goalkeepers

Mendy was man of the match thanks to his stunning saves in the first half especially. It was a brilliant performance over the 119 odd minutes. Mendy had little to do for the final 45 or so minutes though. Kepa came on as planned but could not save Chelsea in penalties his time out. No blame was given to him because without him we wouldnt have reached the final in the first place. Just not his day this time.

Defenders

Chalobah had a tough time against Luis Diaz on the right hand side but managed it well none the less. Silva was amazing once again playing the whole game and converting his penalty. He made a stunning clearance during the game albeit it looked like Salah’s chip was going wide. Rudiger was his usual self. Azpilicueta and Alonso actually did quiet well throughout the game and both were a danger from the wing back positions. Alonso also kept Salah quiet. Reece James had to come on for Azpilicueta late on and he did well. It was good to see him back. A clean sheet on any other day and that is all you can ask from you defence.

Midfielders

Kante had a decent game in midfield. The physicality seemed to be getting to him at times but he was brilliant at other times. Kovacic was amazing and he did really well throughout the game. Jorginho came on late in the game helped control the tempo and retain possession for Chelsea. Mount was the main cause Chelsea lost the game. Two brilliant chances and he should have finished both of them. It happens though and there is no need to dwell on it. The finishin has to improve as a whole. 

Forwards 

Pulisic did well for much of the game and he played in a brilliant ball for Mount that should have been a goal. Pulisic himself missed a solid chance though. Havertz was very good throughout and continues his run of good form. Had the ball in the back of the net but was offside. Timo came on in the 2nd half and added pace in behind. Werner also had the ball in the back of the net but he was offside. Lukaku also came on and did well. The hold up play was better and he was more mobile. He scored a perfectly good goal which wrongly ruled offside and he drew a late save from Kelleher as well. Just were not clinical.

Manager

Tuchel would have been proud of that performance and the team did play really well. The manager coached a win and we would have won if we were not wasteful with our chances. As long as Tuchel is Chelsea manager though we will continue to get more chances at trophies.

Not our day and the luck was missing on the night. The finishing boots by some players were also left at home. Finishing has cost Chelsea dearly all season and it is something we have to improve on. Proud of the team though and if we continue to play like that and take our chances we should end the season strongly. Next up is a trip to Luton Town in the FA Cup 5th Round. COME ON CHELSEA!!!

Chelsea vs. Liverpool Carabao Cup Final Preview

Another chance to win a trophy!

Chelsea take on Liverpool at Wembley on Sunday for the Carabao Cup Final. Liverpool last won the league cup in 2012 when they beat Cardiff City on penalties. Klopp himself has not won a domestic cup since taking over as Liverpool boss. Liverpool beat Norwich, Preston, Leicester, and Arsenal to reach the final and are currently on a 9 game winning run in all competitions albeit not having played particularly great in many of those games. The acquisiton of Luis Diaz has added more depth up front and Liverpool do go into this game as the favourites. 

Chelsea last won the League Cup in 2015 beating Tottenham 2-0 in the final. Since then the club have reached the final the last being in 2019 under Sarri eventually losing on penalties to Manchester City. Chelsea beat Aston Villa, Southampton, Brentford, and Tottenham to reach the final. An all Premier League route. At the moment Chelsea are on a six game winning run in all competitions. Chelsea already have the Uefa Super Cup and the Club World Cup to their name this season. The team and Tuchel have fallen a bit behind City and Liverpool in the title race but remain active in all competitions this season. The previous two meetings against Liverpool this season have end in score draws. The last one came recently in January when Liverpool took a 2-0 lead but Chelsea came back 2-2 before half time. Chelsea go into this game with some confidence in the team once again after what has been a dire winter period. Not many lossess but several draws which have cost the team. 

Chelsea Team Preview

The only player out injured is Ben Chilwell but everyone is back involved in training now which will be a relief to Tuchel. The first big debate for the lineup comes in goal. Kepa has been involved in all the cup games so far but Mendy is back and did also play in the Club World Cup final. Kepa deserves to start but Mendy is the better goalkeeper while the game is going on. Mostly due to his range of saves. Whatever decision Tuchel makes will be followed but I would go with Mendy in goal and bring in Kepa if the game goes to penalties. Chelsea should return to a back three for this game with Christensen, Silva, and Rudiger making it up. Reece James is back and in Tuchel’s words has been brilliant in training. I would start him at right wing back with Azpilicueta shifting to left wing back. Kante, and Kovacic should form the midfield. The front three is another big question. Pulisic should start given he impressed against Lille and against Liverpool earlies this year. Havertz has done very well and should also start. Mount is back training but Ziyech is in form. I would go with Mount for this game just because he can bring that extra energy to the press. There will be plenty of space in behind and Werner could also be an assest from the bench if need be. Ziyech would be perfectly fine though. Lukaku should come off the bench. A strong lineup regardless.

Liverpool Team Preview

Liverpool have a fully fit squad as well bar Firmino who is out injured. Liverpool’s lineup is a bit less speculative. Alisson will be in goal with a back four of Trent, Matip, Van Dijk, and Robertson. Thiago, Henderson, and Fabinho should start in midfield with a front three of Salah, Jota, and Mane. If Jota is not fit enough to start then Mane will play up top with Diaz coming in from the left. We all know what to expect from Liverpool and its front three. The defence has been a bit shaky this season and Van Dijk has not really come back all guns blazing. A strong lineup either way.

Starting XI Prediction

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Chelsea and Liverpool have a history and the games are always feisty. Add on top of that the whole Klopp, Tuchel debate and its a good narrative for a final. Liverpool are favourites but Chelsea like to be the underdogs. It’s going to be a very interesting game but its all about taking the chances. COME ON CHELSEA!!!

Midweek Football Review

Some surprises

Carabao Cup Semi-Final 2nd Leg

Arsenal 0 (0) vs. (0) 2 Liverpool

Arsenal worked so hard to get this game called off and rescheduled. They got their main players back and fielded their strongest XI. They lost to Liverpool without scoring a goal. Jota scored in the 19th minute and in the 77th minute as they cruised to the final. Liverpool will face Chelsea in the final. Arsenal are now knocked out of all competitions and only have the Premier League to focus on. 

Premier League (Games in hand)

Leicester 2 vs. 3 Tottenham

Daka scored in the 24th minute to give Leicester the lead. Kane equalised for Spurs in the 38th minute. Maddison restored Leicester’s lead in the 76th minute and looked ot be heading for a win. Bergwijn came off the bench to score the equaliser in the 95th minute and get the winner in the 97th minute. Spurs made a brilliant comeback and Leicester again bottled the lead. Leicester remain 10th while Spurs move up to 5th now 11 points clear of Leicester. They are now within eight points of Chelsea with four games in hand. 

Brentford 1 vs. 3 Man United

Brentford dominated Man United for 45 minutes but failed to take their chances. There was only going to be one outcome from there on. Elanga gave United the lead in the 55th minute. Greenwood made it two for United in the 62nd minute and Rashford made it three for United in the 77th minute. Toney got one back for Brentford in the 85th minute. Brentford remain 14th in the table. United remain 7th now only two points from top four with two games in hand. 

La Liga (Games in hand)

Valencia drew with Sevilla 1-1. Sevilla play their game in hand and sit 2nd in the table but still four points behind Real Madrid. Valencia sit 9th in the table. 

Copa Del Rey Round of 16

Real Sociedad beat Atletico 2-0, Real Madrid came from behind to beat Elche in extra time 1-2. Eden Hazard got the winner for them. Bilbao beat Barcelona 3-2 to progress as well. Barcelona and Atletico dumped out and Barcelona especially are having one of their worst seasons ever. 

Coppa Italia Round of 16

Lazio beat Udinese 1-0, Juventus beat Sampdoria 4-1, Inter beat Empoli 3-2, and Roma beat Lecce 3-1. The favorites won their games and progress to the next round to potentially make up some very tasty fixtures. 

DFB Pokal Round of 16

St.Pauli beat Dortmund 2-1, Hannover beat Monchengladbach 3-0, Leipzig beat Hansa 2-0, and Freiburg beat Hoffenheim 1-4. Some big upsets here and the DFB Pokal will be getting a new winner this season. The biggest teams are out and only Leipzig remain among others. Freiburg especially are having a really good season. 

Ligue (Games in hand)

Lille beat Lorient 3-1. Lille play their game in hand and move up to 8th in the table. Only three points behind 4th placed Strasbourg. 

Midweek Football Preview

A mix of games in hand and cup competitions.

Carabao Cup Semi-Final 2nd Leg

Arsenal (0) vs. (0) Liverpool

The 1st leg was played last week as Arsenal did well to hold on for a draw after going down to 10 men. Arsenal used a similar loophole to Liverpool to avoid playing during the weekend and will be fresh for this game. Liverpool beat Brentford during the weekend. This should be an interesting game for sure and either team can go through.

Premier League (Games in hand)

Burnley vs. Watford

A relegation battle as 20th placed Burnley take on 17th placed Watford with 3 points seperating the two teams. Burnley have five games in hand going into this game while Watford have three games in hand going into this game. Both teams are in extremely poor form so either team can win this game. The most likely result is a draw. 

Leicester vs. Tottenham

10th placed Leicester have four games in hand as they take on 6th placed Spurs who have four games in hand as well. Both teams did not play during the weekend because of Covid related issues. A win for Leicester would take them to within three points of United while a win for Spurs would take them above Arsenal and a point behind West Ham. Tottenham were abysmal against Chelsea over two legs in the Carabao Cup so there is a need to put in a better performance against Leicester. An interesting game for sure.

Brentford vs. Man United

14th placed Brentford have only won one of their last five games as they take on United who sit 7th and have only lost one of their last five games. This is Brentford’s game in hand while United would have one more after this. United will be favourites but Brentford can get something out of this game especially since they are at home. 

La Liga (Games in hand)

Valencia take on Sevilla amongst other teams.

Copa Del Rey Round of 16

Atletico travel to Real Sociedad, Real Madrid travel to Elche, and Barcelona travel to Athletic Bilbao. Bilbao and Real Madrid just played the Supercopa De Espana final in the Middle East which Real Madrid won. Bilbao will be looking to bounce back while Madrid will want to continue the good form. Some interesting games. 

Coppa Italia Round of 16

Lazio take on Udinese, Juventus take on Sampdoria, Inter take on Empoli, and Roma welcome Lecce. Home games for all these big teams and one woulde expect all of them to progress to the next round. Milan, Fiorentina, and Atalanta are already through.

DFB Pokal Round of 16

Dortmund take on St.Pauli, Monchengladbach travel to Hannover, Leipzig take on Hansa, and Hoffenheim take on Freiburg amongst others. No Bayern in the DFB Pokal so that is a different. Winnable fixtures for most teams with Hoffenheim and Freiburg being the toughest fixture. 

Ligue (Games in hand)

Lille take on Lorient amongst other games. Lille can go up to 8th in the table with a win in this game.

Midweek Football Review

Some big results!

Carabao Cup Semi-Final 1st Leg

Liverpool 0 vs. 0 Arsenal

The first leg of this Carabao Cup semi-final was a drab affair after Oliver sent off Xhaka for what was not a red card offense. Arsenal had started the game well but post the red card it was attack against defence. Arsenal had key players missing as well while Liverpool showed without Salah there isn’t much to fear. The 2nd leg is setup to be a tasty affair though and the Emirates will be up for it.

Premier League (Games in hand)

Southampton 4 vs. 1 Brentford

Bednarek scored in the 5th minute to give Southampton the lead. Janelt equalised for Brentford in the 23rd minute but Southampton replied back. Fernandez scored an own goal in the 37th minute and Broja added a 3rd in the 49th minute. Adams scored the 4th in the 70th minute. Southampton move up to 11th in the table and have a game in hand while Brentford drop down to 13th with a game in hand.

West Ham 2 vs. 0 Norwich

Bowen scored a goal in either half to seal a win against Norwich. West Ham having played their game in hand move into 4th and 2 points clear of Arsenal. Norwich remain bottom of the table and have a game in hand but sit 3 points from safety. 

Coppa Italia Round of 16

Atalanta beat Venezia 2-0, Fiorentina beat Napoli 2-5, and Milan beat Genoa 3-1. Napoli stumble and are knocked out of the cup while Atalanta and Milan progress. The other games will be played next week. 

Tottenham 0 (0) vs. (3) 1 Chelsea Carabao Cup Semi-Final 2nd Leg Review

We are heading to Wembley!

Chelsea took a short trip within London to play Tottenham in the 2nd leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final. Chelsea had a 2 goal advantage going into the game and Spurs had to come out and get 2 without reply to take the game to extra time. Weirdly Conte fielded an even weaker team on paper than the 1st leg. Son was already out injured but Gollini started instead of Lloris and Los Celso started in the front three. Tuchel went strong with Kepa in goal and back four of Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger, and Sarr. Kovacic, and Jorginho started in the midfield with Hudson-Odoi, and Mount in front of them. Lukaku, and Werner started up front. A hybrid 4-2-2-2 of sorts that could switch to a back three. The likes of Silva, and Kante returned to the bench. 

The first half was all Chelsea once again. Spurs showed a bit more intitiative but Chelsea were able to silence the occasion and atmosphere within the stadium via possession. The only goal came in the 18th minute as Rudiger flicked the ball into the net with his back after Gollini failed to gather the ball. Rudiger then brought down Hojbjerg outside the box but the referee ordered a penalty. VAR intervened and cancelled it. Chelsea had a few more chances in the 1st half but could not take advantage. 

The 2nd half saw Spurs try to get back into the game and they had another penalty ruled out by VAR after Kepa made a legitimate tackle on Moura but the referee awarded a penalty. Kepa then made a poor pass and Kane was able to score but was ruled offside. Three goals by Spurs but all ruled out. Chelsea didn’t have any big chances in the 2nd half but managed the game well despite being their own worst enemy. 

Chelsea Team Review

Goalkeeper

Cleansheet for Kepa and some solid saves from him in the game as well. The offside goal did stem from his mistake and he should know that in a pressure situation just boot it. A confident performance and good to see him doing well.

Defenders

A cleansheet for the defenders but some shaky moments through our own mistakes. Sarr was very good throughout the game and continues to do well when given a chance. Silva and Alonso did come in the 2nd half and managed to see out the win. Kane was the only real threat at times.

Midfielders

Jorginho and Kovacic controlled the midfield and passed around whatever Spurs through at them. Mount looked off pace and looked like he was struggling with something. Loftus-Cheek and Kante came on in the 2nd half with Chelsea flexing their depth. 

Forwards

Hudson-Odoi did well on the wing again and was dangerous. Werner and Lukaku linked up well in the first half with Werner especially invovled in a lot of the good moments. This is a formation that suits him. Ziyech came on in the 2nd half to see out the game along with the other substitutions. 

Manager

Tuchel post match said he was happy with the first half but the 2nd half was lacking and we weren’t playing at our full potentional. The German said that there is always room for improvement as well. There was good ingame management to change the formation when Spurs looked like gaining some momentum. Another final for him and that will please the team.

27th February the Carabao Cup final at Wembley. The opponent will be Arsenal or Liverpool but Chelsea can park the tournament for now. Next up is a trip to Manchester City in the Premier League, COME ON CHELSEA!!!

Tottenham (0) vs. (2) Chelsea Carabao Cup Semi-Final 2nd Leg Preview

Big game at Spurs!

Chelsea travel to North London to play the 2nd leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final against Tottenham. Chelsea have a 2 goal advantage going into the game but there is no away goal advantage. Spurs go into this game having beaten Morecambe during the weekend and will have to score a minimum of 2 goals without reply to take the game to extra time. Spurs in the first leg were extremely poor for much of the game so there is alot of room for improvement in this 2nd leg.

Chelsea go into this game with the 2 goal advantage and having beaten Chesterfield 5-1 in the FA Cup. Tuchel pre-match said that the advantage doesn’t exist and the players need to treat this as a one off game. A tough team at a tough stadium with an amazing coach. Chelsea can expect tougher opposition with Spurs at home and Spurs will have to come out fighting in this game. The first leg was straight forward but Chelsea could have easily scored a few more and finished this tie off. 

Chelsea Team Preview

Kepa should return to goal after the rest during the weekend. I expect a back three of Azpilicueta, Silva, and Rudiger. Pulisic, and Alonso should start as the wing backs with a midfield of Jorginho, and Kovacic. Mount, Ziyech, and Lukaku should start up front for Chelsea. Plenty of these players were rested during the weekend and should be fresh for this game. The likes of Werner, Hudson-Odoi, Havertz, Saul, and Kante should be available off the bench. Chelsea did switch between a 3 at the back and 4 in the first leg and I expect the same here. Pulisic, and Ziyech can then move up with Azpilicueta, Silva, Rudiger, and Alonso as the back four. Lewis Hall is also still with the squad after his brilliant performance against Chesterfield. I doubt he will start as a left wing back in this game. It’s a good lineup and one that has players in some sort of good form.

Tottenham Team Preview

Tottenham will not have Son available for this game as he has been ruled out for the month. Conte was able to rest key players during the weekend but the likes of Moura and Kane did eventually come on to get the win for Conte. Lloris should start in goal with a back three of Tanganga, Sanchez, and Davies. Emerson, and Reguilon should start as the wing backs with Skipp, and Hodjberg making up the midfield two. Moura, Gil, and Kane should start up front for Spurs. I doubt there is a gung ho form of Conte but maybe Alli could start in one of the midfield positions if they want to attack more or Winks. 

Starting XI Prediction

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Tottenham failed to bring the fire in the 1st leg and Chelsea dominated the game. The 2nd leg should see Tottenham come out fighting because they are at home and the crowd will demand it. Cheslea will treat this game as a one off and will know the job is not done until the whistle has blown to end the game. COME ON CHELSEA!!!

Midweek Football Preview

Carabao Cup games in hand!

Carabao Cup Semi-Final 1st Leg

Liverpool vs. Arsenal

This is the 2nd leg of this fixture but is essentially the first leg because the first leg was called off last week due to covid cases in the Liverpool squad. Liverpool have since beat Shrewsbury in the FA Cup while Arsenal were knocked out by Nottingham Forest. Arsenal will be going into this game looking to bounce back and with this competition being their only chance at a trophy there is a lot at stake. Liverpool will trust themselves over two legs but covid cases might give Arsenal the upper hand. 

Premier League (Games in hand)

Southampton vs. Brentford

14th placed Southampton have 2 games in hand as they take on Brentford who have 2 games in hand as well and sit 12th in the table. Both teams are playing one of their games in hand and 2 points separate the teams. Two teams that like attacking and playing progressive football, this should be a fun game.

West Ham vs. Norwich

West Ham sit 5th in the table with a game in hand as they take on Norwich who sit bottom of the table and have 2 games in hand. If West Ham then they go above Arsenal and into 4th while if Norwich win they can go level on points with Watford who sit 17th. It’s a big game for both teams but West Ham are the team in form and will be favourites. 

Coppa Italia Round of 16

Atalanta take on Venezia, Napoli take on Fiorentina, Milan take on Genoa, Lazio take on Udinese, Juventus take on Sampdoria, Inter take on Empoli, and Roma take on Lecce. The Round of 16 in the Coppa Italia and all the top teams have games which they should win. If the teams that should go through progress then the final few stages of the competition could be very exciting. 

Chelsea 2 vs. 0 Tottenham Carabao Cup Semi-Final 1st Leg Review

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

Goalkeeper

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.

Defenders

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.

Midfielders

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. 

Forwards

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. 

Manager

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!!!

Chelsea vs. Tottenham Carabao Cup Semi-Final 1st Leg Preview

A London Derby of two legs and the first of 3 meetings this month!

Chelsea welcome Tottenham to Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night for the 1st leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final. The 2nd leg will by played next week at the Totttenham Hotspur Stadium and Tottenham also visit The Bridge for a Premier League game on the 23rd. This is the first of the three fixtures. Tottenham we all know started the season well as far as points go but suffered 5 losses in 7 and that spelled the end of Nuno Espirito Santo as their manager. In came a manager Chelsea fans are all too familiar with the one and only Don Antonio Conte. Antonio Conte won Chelsea the league in 16/17 and won the FA Cup in 2018, before leaving the club in the summer of that year. The 2nd season was a rough ride but the first season was nothing more than amazing and is still probably my best season as a Chelsea fan. Now though he manages Spurs and until he is their manager all the love is on hold. Since Conte has come in Spurs have played 8 games in the league winning five and drawing three. Their journey in the Carabao Cup has seen them beat Wolves on penalties, followed by a narrow 0-1 win against Burnley and a 2-1 win against West Ham. The Carabao Cup along with the FA Cup are Spurs two real chances at some silverware this season having been disqualified from the Europa Conference League. 

Chelsea go into this game having comeback to draw against Liverpool 2-2 in the league on Sunday. That game ofcourse came amongst the uproar of the Lukaku interview and today Tuchel came out and said the situation had been dealt with. Tuchel had a meeting with Lukaku and Marina on Monday and Lukaku apologised to him and realised that the had made a mistake with his comments but his intention was not to anger anyone or disrupt the season. Tuchel said that Lukaku was back in training and will be involved going forward. When asked about the relationship between Lukaku and the fans Tuchel said that he realises that there will be mixed feelings but he hopes that they back the team and by doing that they back Lukaku when he is on the pitch. I personally would say the same thing, just support the team and don’t boo Lukaku, no one is forcing the fans to make Lukaku their favourite player. Let Lukaku make his apologies to the fans on the pitch and there is no better way to start doing that by playing Spurs three times in a month. Our Carabao Cup journey has seen us beat Villa, and Southampton one penalties and beat Brentford 0-2 in the quarter’s. Last season we didn’t even get past the 4th round so this is a good chance to progress to an early final. 

Chelsea Team Preview

Chelsea will be without Chalobah who is injured and Christensen might not be fit as well with James, and Chilwell missing for some time. Mendy is also out as he is involved in AFCON this month. Loftus-Cheek and Werner are back but while Werner might feature on the bench I doubt RLC will make it to the squad having just returned. With our weekend game against Chesterfield in the FA Cup I expect a strong lineup in this game. Kepa should start in goal with a back three of Azpilicueta, Silva, and Rudiger. I expect Simons to return to the lineup as a wing back on the right while Alonso should play on the left. Jorginho, and Saul should make up the midfield two after Kovacic and Kante played the full 90 against Liverpool while Hudson-Odoi, Ziyech, and Lukaku should make up the front three. We know that Conte likes to sit deep and suffer and we will need our two most creative wingers on the pitch to chuck in balls for Lukaku. Could we see some academy players like Vale feature? Maybe but I think since this is a semi-final I don’t expect many of the youngsters to be involved. Hudson-Odoi or Pulisic could of course feature as right wing backs but Pulisic needs a rest and Hudson-Odoi would prefer to play in attack. With 5 subs there will be several options on the bench.

Tottenham Team Preview

Conte will setup Tottenham in his tailor made 3-4-3 formation, but it could be tweaked to be a back 5 or with a midfield 3 like against Liverpool. Lloris should start in goal with a back three of Sanchez, Dier, and Davies. Emerson and Reguilon should start as the wing backs with a midfield three of Alli, Hojberg, and Winks. Son and Kane should start up front. Tottenham will have the likes of Moura available on the bench if need be. Knowing Conte you can expect them to sit back and defend well and counter with pace. Liverpool was a perfect example of how they play against teams that are open but unlike Liverpool Chelsea play a 3 at the back. Son and Kane seem to be gaining form while Spurs are conceding fewer goals at the moment. It is a team with more confidence than the last time they faced Chelsea this season.

Starting XI Prediction

Chelsea against Tottenham is a rivalry that many know about all too well. Chelsea fans will welcome Conte back at the Bridge but as soon as the whistle goes off and for much of this month he will be an enemy of the club. It’s the 1st leg so Tottenham might play it cautious but Chelsea will want to go all guns blazing and take advantage in this first leg itself. A very exciting game indeed, COME ON CHELSEA!!!