It took 30 minutes longer than it should have, but Chelsea have advanced to the League Cup final by knocking off Liverpool at Stamford Bridge. They'll next be facing the winner of Wednesday's Tottenham Hotspur/Sheffield United match at Wembley Stadium.
While the League Cup has never been my favorite competition, I have to say, this was one of the more entertaining games of football that I've seen in a while. Between the awful refereeing, Diego Costa instigating, and generally open play afforded by Liverpool's approach, I was glued to my seat for the entire 120 minutes.
Full credit to Liverpool, who looked far better in these two matches than they have for the bulk of this season. That said, after the halftime whistle, it was pretty much all Chelsea, and probably should have been wrapped up in regular time even without the wrongly-denied penalty.
- It will be interesting to see if Diego Costa is facing some charges after the first stamping incident with Emre Can. It looked bad, but it happened right in front of the fourth official, and there's no way he didn't see it. Unfortunately though, the FA isn't always the most consistent with their findings.
- Speaking of referee decisions, how terrible was Oliver overall tonight? Missed a clear penalty, left the cards in his pocket for most of the match, and then had a booking party once he was sure it wouldn't affect the outcome.
- I love watching Eden Hazard make opponents look silly, especially annoying ones like Jordan Henderson.
- We definitely become too reliant on Nemanja Matic being amazing at times, and when Cesc Fabregas keeps drifting forward into the attack (as he did in the first half), it can lead to opposition chances. The Spaniard probably needs to focus on staying at home more often this weekend (assuming he's healthy enough to play).
- We looked awfully good as soon as Ramires came on this evening. He's a nice change of pace to have on the bench, isn't he?
- Cross your fingers that neither injury suffered today is serious, as we'll need depth with the Champions League getting close to returning.
- I love Oscar's free kicks.
- I really liked Willian's free kick that set up the goal.
- I hate that yellow and red cards collected in the domestic cup competitions can lead to Premier League suspensions. It would make far too much sense to have each competition have it's own disciplinary record, no?
- I wish we had a better option for left-sided corners than Cesc Fabregas. For all that he does well, his delivery from that spot hasn't been very good.