Thomas Tuchel shuffled his newly expanded pack, and certainly made it an Academy Day to remember.
Chelsea started quite well, with plenty of controlled possession without causing too much threat. One errant pass however did lead to the game’s first very good chance in the 11th minute, with Kepa making the first of his several excellent saves to deny Wissa from point-blank range. At the other end, Barkley had a chance to produce a quality strike but that was about it for the first 30 minutes.
Then, the game sprang into life, with Kepa making two more excellent saves, while Harvey Vale missed a wide open header in front of the Brentford goal and a penalty shout on Alonso getting hip-checked in the area fell on the referee’s deaf ears (no VAR in this one).
The second half began much like the first, with Chelsea largely in control and even creating a couple decent chances, but also not consistently threatening Brentford’s goal despite all our possession in their half.
More half-chances came Chelsea’s way after Tuchel put on Mount and James (in addition to Jorginho and Pulisic at the half), but the game remained scoreless ... and it remained scoreless until the final 10 minutes, when Brentford center back Jansson hammered a pretty James cross into his own net, then Pulisic drew a penalty a few minutes later. Jorginho sealed the win from the spot, cool as ever.
- Three full debuts: Vale, Soonsup-Bell, Simons. Only Azpilicueta and Chalobah start from those involved on Sunday. Neither Webster nor Hall get to make an appearance from the bench unfortunately.
- Half-time changes of Jorginho (for half-fit Kovacic) and Pulisic (for Soonsup-Bell). Mount (for Vale) and James (for Simons) on just past the hour-mark. Kanté also on for the final 15, for Barkley. Tuchel clearly saw an opportunity to nab this win and went for it.
- Kepa clean sheet; didn’t need any penalty heroics this time!
- Other teams advancing to the semifinal include Arsenal, Spurs, and
Leicester CityLiverpool on penalties after equalizing late. The draw is to follow shortly.
- Next up: Aston Villa away on Sunday