Several changes were made from the starting lineup that took the pitch for Chelsea last Thursday, against Tottenham in the League Cup semifinal second leg at Stamford Bridge. Most notably, striker Gonzalo Higuaín got his debut for the Blues; while Callum Hudson-Odoi, who reportedly handed a transfer request to the club yesterday, was also selected to start by coach Maurizio Sarri.
The absences of Chelsea’s main creators, Eden Hazard and David Luiz, made it hard for chances to come by. Loads of possession were created without much end product, with sideways and diagonal passes being easily defended by Sheffield Wednesday who defended deep, refusing to leave their defensive third aside from a few breaks.
It was on one of those that they got a penalty call when Ethan Ampadu, deputising for Jorginho in the deep-lying playmaker role, seemingly brought down midfielder Joey Pelupessy in the penalty box with a foul. However, the often maligned VAR was there to save us from harm as the call was rightfully overturned.
Coincidentally, the visitors gave away a penalty — and one as clear as day, this time — in the following minute. Former Chelsea boy Sam Hutchinson fouled César Azpilicueta in their box, and Willian was nonchalant in converting the spotkick.
Chelsea continued to struggle to find chances in open play, and Sheffield were smart enough not to give the Blues fouls near their box. At the very least, we can take solace in Higuaín getting things going nicely in terms of movement on and off the ball, and finding a good understand with his teammates despite it being so early in his Chelsea tenure.
The second half had been going towards the same path, only with Sheffield attempting to be more dangerous than in the first one. That until Andreas Christensen, with a David Luiz-esque pass, found Callum Hudson-Odoi running from behind to score our second goal.
And there was time for a third. Willian got his brace after picking up a pass from CHO, carrying it to the edge of the box and playing a one-two with Giroud to slot the ball in the back of the net with a great finish.
- Eight changes made from the eleven men selected to take the pitch against Tottenham in the League Cup last Thursday.
- GONZALO HIGUAÍN DEBUTS!
- Subs are RLC for Ampadu; Giroud for Higuaín and Jorginho for Barkley.
- Next up: Bournemouth away for the Premier League.