There was much confusion and speculation about Chelsea’s starting lineup, with even the official Twitter account taking nearly ten minutes to figure it out, eventually publishing it as a 4-3-3 — which proved to be quite correct. And fortunately, despite the formation shift, Chelsea didn’t miss a beat and absolutely dominated the first 45 minutes of this League Cup semifinal first leg.
Marcos Alonso, nominally a left back but pretty much playing his usual role, nipped in to steal the ball and set up Kai Havertz to finish with aplomb inside of five minutes. Havertz himself then could’ve (and maybe should’ve) doubled our lead when presented with a loose ball inside the area on 12 minutes. Hugo Lloris made a good save down low at his near post unfortunately.
Chelsea continued to dominate possession, shots, and chances, though it took a bit of luck to eventually find the second goal, with Spurs making an absolute mess of a simple clearance: Tanganga heading the ball into the back of his teammate Ben Davies, who could do little else but turn and watch the ball bounce into the back of the net.
Lukaku then missed a glorious chance to make it three just before the half.
The break saw both sides make a change, Werner coming on for Havertz who had been in the wars a bit, and Tanguy Ndombele coming on for Spurs to give them three players in midfield as well (and also going four at the back). They unsurprisingly began the second half much improved, and it was a much more even contest after that.
Chelsea withstood Spurs’ surge and worked multiple great opportunities to add to our lead, with Ziyech missing twice and Werner drawing an excellent stop from Lloris. Spurs had one more surge in them late, but Kepa made a big stop to keep it at 2-0.
Half-time in the tie. Until next week then.
- Multiple changes from the weekend, and of course a switch to a back-four from the start for the first time in the Tuchel Era (we’ve seen that during games, but never from the off). Formation kept for the whole game, even with Pulisic at right back for the final few minutes.
- Havertz the latest injury concern, bandaged hand, and also a head injury. Azpi coming off for the final few minutes also a potential worry.
- Good to see Loftus-Cheek, Werner coming back injuries and COVID
- Silva and Kanté in isolation for the next 7-10 days now
- Next up: non-league Chesterfield in the FA Cup third round, then the second leg of this game next midweek, then Manchester City away