Chelsea’s best chances of silverware this season are via domestic cups, and we’re making the most out of them. We beat Brighton and Newcastle to reach the League Cup semifinal, and we should be making quick work out of Championship outfit Middlesbrough to reach the final stage, right?
In paper, yes. In practice the Blues held possession for large swathes of the first half and were able to get themselves in proper goalscoring positions either by individual efforts or collective play. But for whatever reason even our best player of the season, Cole Palmer, just can’t shoot it on target consistently.
Boro on the other hand were more than able to do it. As Levi Colwill failed to match the speed of Isaiah Jones on the left flank and Moisés Caicedo forgot to track Hayden Hackney, the two Middlesbrough players combined for the opening goal.
In additional time Palmer still found a way to miss our best goalscoring chance in the entire first half. Again, Chelsea just can’t have a half which should be dumped and burned in a trash bin this season.
With the Blues screaming for a “reference” in attack, no changes were made in half-time. The Blues continued to struggle in front of the goal, and Middlesbrough’s breaks from our mistakes in possession were getting ever more dangerous.
Armando Broja and Mykhailo Mudryk got to the pitch on minute 63. But neither were able to really impact the game and sway it in Chelsea’s favour as the rest of our players were just too tired and out of ideas to get us out of the hole.
- Cole Palmer as false-nine, with Armando Broja on the bench. Conor Gallagher plays as central attacking midfielder, right in front of the Enzo Fernández-Moisés Caicedo pivot.
- Subs are Mykhailo Mudryk for Noni Madueke, Armando Broja for Enzo Fernández, and Alfie Gilchrist for Malo Gusto.
- When you don’t score, the other team do.
- Remember: this is only the first leg. This team should be more than good enough to turn it around at home.
- Next up: Fulham at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League.