Chelsea went to Wembley today hungry for vengeance over their last two matches against Tottenham, both of which losses to the North London side. Unfortunately we were not able to give the pain back to them as we have grown so used to, despite dominating them at their (temporary) home turf for most of the 90 minutes played in the League Cup semifinal first leg today.
Although Chelsea are still faltering in turning their acres of ball retention into good chances — something that turned into a recurring theme under Maurizio Sarri’s tutelage —, the 1-0 loss to Spurs was far from a fair result given our overall performance versus our opponents’. It is a feeling reciprocated by the Italian coach, who went on to praise his players for their commitment in defence and offence alike.
“I think we deserved more. I think in this match we played better than the opponents.”
“We defended very well, we deserved more. We played about 70 balls in the opposing box compared to 11, more shots compared to Tottenham.”
“I am disappointed with the result but pleased with the performance.”
One major problem that Chelsea had in their previous game against Tottenham, a 3-1 defeat back in November, was our lack of intensity. Today this was not a problem, as Chelsea’s “application” — as outlined by Sarri — was great throughout the entire affair.
“We played with a very good level of determination, with heart and soul. In the last matches we have had problems in the last 30 minutes, but today the application was very good throughout”
The lone goal of the night came through VAR. And with goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga bringing a free-fleeting Harry Kane down in our penalty box, so came the controversy to follow.
Sarri believes the penalty given to Kane, that was then converted by the English striker, should not have stood. From his angle, defender César Azpilicueta was not giving Kane the condition to proceed the play, thus making him offside. And even then, the assistant referee raising his flag did not help one bit as with the defenders stopping their chase on Kane, Kepa was left alone to deal with the attacker in our area.
“In Italy there is the VAR. In the first period a disaster, even in Italy it was difficult to get used to the system. Here the referees are not ready to use in the right example.”
“Kane was clearly offside, it is not important. More important was the linesman stopped, so he had a big influence on our defenders.”
“I think they need to study better the system. It is strange in the Premier League there is not the system, but in the Carabao Cup there is the system.”
“I say I saw our video from our camera, maybe the camera of VAR was a different position. But it depends of the position of the camera. You need the camera in line.”
The other big occasion in the derby was Callum Hudson-Odoi’s first start in the League Cup. Spotlights tonight were all turned on him, with reports earlier today that Bayern had stepped up their chase for his signature with a £35m bid — the fourth in a span of one week.
CHO had been asked to improve in many areas of his game to get a chance in a big game, and he delivered last weekend in our 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest. Today, he continued on this very tune; and drew much deserved praise from his coach.
“Odoi in the last week has been very normal. I have seen him every day in training, he has been very normal.”
“In the previous match he played very well, and today [also] very well. He played like a player of 25 or 26 years. Very good defensive phase, very good.”
Lest we forget, this was only the first leg of the semifinal where away goals are not a criteria. As often said, we lost the battle; but not the war.
“I don’t think [we are in a good position], it is a tough match for us and them. [But] if we can play on the same level, then we can do it.”
-Maurizio Sarri; Source: football.london
The second leg will take place two weeks from now at Stamford Bridge, which had been kept safe from the harm of a Tottenham victory until last season when they managed to break a 28-year winless streak.
Time for us to get them a new one!