Chelsea made hard work of fourth division side AFC Wimbledon tonight at Stamford Bridge, but after going behind early, we battled back and eked out a 2-1 win to advance to the third round of this competition (which is the round where we’d normally enter, if we had European football this season).
A well-rotated lineup from Mauricio Pochettino seemed to have serious trouble achieving any sort of cutting edge, dominating possession at an 80 per cent clip, but creating little danger.
At the other end, a soft call — or so we were told on radio, which was the only way to follow this game outside of being there in person — went against goalkeeper Robert Sánchez and gifted a penalty to the visitors, which they converted with glee to take the lead in the 19th minute.
An individual effort from Noni Madueke got us back on level terms just before half, with the young winger winning and duly converting a penalty of his own.
O gol de Noni Maduekepic.twitter.com/VRjC3bbRL8— Chelsea Beagá - OSC Brasil (@ochelseabeaga) August 30, 2023
Chelsea came out with a bit more purpose and cohesion after the break, but Wimbledon grew in confidence and impetus as well, turning the game into a rather open affair.
Pochettino threw on some of the big guns as time wore on, and that made the needed difference, with Enzo taking advantage of a rare mistake from the Wimbledon goalkeeper to score his first goal for the club.
Chelsea could’ve had a couple more, including an empty-netter at the very end that was missed by Enzo, but would settle for the narrow win.
- Back-four from Poch this time, with Humphreys at right back, Cucurella (who’s said to be leaving any minute now) at left back, Maatsen as the No.10, and Gallagher as the captain:
Sánchez | Cucurella, Colwill, Disasi, Humphreys | Ugochukwu, Gallagher (c) | Moreira, Maatsen, Madueke | Burstow
- Half-time change with Jackson on for Moreira, who had a bit of a stinker on his debut. More of a back-three at that point, with Madueke staying high on the right.
- Enzo & Malo Gusto on halfway through the second, with Burstow and Colwill going off. Colwill seemed to pick up a knock, so hopefully that’s nothing serious. Humphreys sliding central to partner Disasi from then on.
- Caicedo on for Madueke for the final 10-15 to lock things down.
- The draw for the third round is coming up shortly (after the conclusion of the Doncaster vs. Everton game)
- Next up: Nottingham Forest at home on Saturday