Getting good at penalties!
Chelsea took on Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge for a 3rd Round Carabao Cup tie. The Carabao Cup is a good opportunity for managers to rest players and give other players a chance to impress and this was what it was for Tuchel. Villa started the likes of El Ghazi, Buendia, Traore, Young, Cash, and some other players. Tuchel also rang the changes with Kepa remaining in goal, Reece James, Chalobah and Sarr as the three defenders and Hudson-Odoi, and Chilwell as the wing backs. Loftus-Cheek, Kante, and Saul started in midfield with Werner and Ziyech up front. It was a 3-5-2 formation and an opportunity for the likes of RLC, Sarr, Hudson-Odoi and Saul to get minutes and make an impression.
Chelsea looked disjointed in the 1st half with all the players adjusting to playing with each other. Sarr looked off pace but Kepa looked dominant in his box while Reece James and Chalobah were very good as well. Hudson-Odoi was decent but nothing eye catching while Saul struggled with the tempo once again. Chilwell took some time to get going but he found his tempo while RLC looked like his old self. Loftus-Cheek was driving the ball forward and using his body well in the middle of he park. Ziyech was not great while Werner also seemed to lack some focus.
Tuchel brought Mount on for Kante in the 2nd half and the half time talk seems to have worked for the players. There was much more cohesion in the final 3rd and Mount brought the energy to press from the front. The first goal came in the 54th minute as Reece James played a brilliant ball into the box and Werner headed Chelsea into the lead. A first goal of the season for the German and another assist for Reece James. Chelsea could have had another when Ziyech sent Werner through on goal but Werner’s shot just skimmed wide of the post. There were a couple more chances for Chelsea to add a 2nd but Villa held on. The equaliser for Villa came in the 64th minute as Cash delivered a brilliant ball for youngster Archer to head past Kepa. Kepa could not have done anything to save it as the ball found the top corner. Villa then piled some pressure on Chelsea but the Blues managed it well. Neither team could break the dead lock as the game headed to penalties.
Up first was El Ghazi who scored past Kepa. Lukaku got Chelsea’s first to make it 1-1. Young then hit the post while Mount scored to make it 2-1. Nakamba saw his penalty saved by Kepa while Barkley scored to make it 3-1. Konsa scored and Chilwell missed to make it 3-2, and Buendia scored along with Reece James to make it 4-3 and send Chelsea through to the next round.
Chelsea Team Preview
Kepa had a very good game, he was vocal in his box and came out to catch crosses and distributed the ball well. The penalty save was also crucial as Chelsea went through. With Mendy out and possibly missing the City game along with the fact that Mendy will be missing during AFCON it is great to see that Kepa is a confident goalkeeper again and playing well. Very happy for him.
Sarr did not have a great game in the back three and was very sloppy in possession. Chalobah had a good game and continues to show why he has been kept at Chelsea for this season. Reece James had a brilliant game and was probably the man of the match. James did not put a foot wrong the entire game and provided the assist for Werner’s goal. The match winning penalty as well, the defender looks very confident at the moment. Chilwell had a shaky first 45 but settled into it in the 2nd half and provided threat going forward as well. Hudson-Odoi was better in the 2nd half and put some good balls into the box but nothing eye catching once again.
Kante had a good half while Saul suffered in the first 45. Just sloppy once again from the Spaniard as Villa look to be his bogey team. Loftus-Cheek had a good game and like I mentioned previously he does look like regaining that form he had under Sarri. RLC played deeper than he did back then but still provided the physicality and distribution needed in midfield along with being a threat up front. Barkley came on in the 2nd half and provided some energy. There was a misplaced pass but he drove back and made the tackle to retrieve the ball. Tuchel was happy with the output from him.
Ziyech did not have the best 45 but played better in the 2nd half when we started to show more energy in the final 3rd. Werner was the same but had a strong 2nd 45 and got the goal and probably should have had a few more. Lukaku came on in the 2nd half and his presence up front along with Werner’s pace allowed us to create more space for our midfield players to push forward and create chances.
Tuchel saw Chelsea get the job done and would have been impressed by some of the performances on the pitch. Still much work to do and things that can be improved on but we rested several key players and progress in the competition.
Next up is a visit by Manchester City on Saturday in a big Premier League clash. COME ON CHELSEA!!!