Chelsea secured their place in the final four of the Carabao Cup after a 2-0 victory away at Brentford. A Pontus Jansson own goal and a penalty from Jorginho was the difference on the night as the Blues returned to winning ways.
Following Sunday’s goalless draw with Wolves, Thomas Tuchel made eight changes from that game including starts for three academy stars. Xavier Simons, Harvey Vale and Jude Soonsup-Bell started for the Blues while Lewis Hall and Charlie Webster were both on the bench.
Kepa started in goal along with a back three of Simons, Trevoh Chalobah and Malang Sarr. In midfield, captain Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso started in the two wing-back positions as Saul and Mateo Kovacic played in the centre of midfield. Finally, in attack, Ross Barkley played in front three with Vale and Soonsup-Bell. This game was Chelsea’s second visit to the Brentford Community Stadium having faced the Bees back in October.
As for Brentford, it was their first game in 12 days due to a COVID outbreak in the squad. From that last match, a 2-1 win over Watford, Thomas Frank made three changes. The first was at wing-back as Sergi Canos came in for Mads Rasmussen while the other two were in defence. Charlie Goode made way for Mads Sorensen while Ethan Pinnock started in the back three as Christian Norgaard had to settle for a place on the bench.
Chelsea started the match on the front foot though had done very little to threaten the Brentford goal in the opening ten minutes. However, on 12 minutes, it was Brentford that had the game’s first opportunity. The ball was crossed into the middle by Bryan Mbuemo towards Yoane Wissa, whose header was saved by Kepa.
Five minutes later, the Blues had their first attempt on goal. Harvey Vale pushed forward for Chelsea before the ball fell to Ross Barkley, who skewed his shot wide. Tuchel’s men continued to create chances in front of goal but were unable to trouble Alvaro Fernandez in the Brentford goal as such.
With a little over half-an-hour played, the Bees came close to breaking the deadlock as the cross fell towards Mathias Jensen but his header was saved by Kepa. Meanwhile, Chelsea continued to be the more dominant of the two sides and had an opportunity on 39 minutes as Xavier Simons’ first time strike was caught by Fernandez.
However, shortly after, the home side had another chance to score as Rico Henry was played through on goal but Kepa was once again down to make a save. Two minutes before half-time, the Blues had another chance as Cesar Azpilicueta delivered in a delightful cross towards an unmarked Harvey Vale but his header was easy for Fernandez. That proved to be the final chance of the half as it was goalless at the break.
HT: Brentford 0-0 Chelsea
Three minutes after the restart, Brentford pushed forward and created the opening chance of the second half. Shandon Baptiste lead the attack for the Bees as the ball fell to Wissa with his attempted cross looping over the bar. Shortly after, Chelsea came close to scoring after Henry almost put the ball into his own net, with Fernandez making the save before keeping out Barkley’s follow-up effort.
As the match progressed, neither side had been able to threaten in front of goal. However, the Blues had a good chance to take the lead on 68 minutes. The free-kick from subsitute Reece James was kept out by Fernandez before the rebound fell to Barkley, whose effort deflected wide.
However, with ten minutes to go, Chelsea broke the deadlock as N’Golo Kante fed the ball to James on the near side, whose cross was put home by the unfortunate Pontus Jansson. The own goal from the Swedish defender put the Blues 1-0 in front, who were on course to make the semi-finals.
Not long after taking the lead, the Blues were awarded a penalty after Christian Pulisic was fouled in the area by Fernandez. Jorginho stepped up from 12 yards and sent the goalkeeper the wrong way to make it 2-0. In the closing stages of the match, Pulisic almost added a third for the Blues but his curling effort was struck well off-target.
The own goal from Jansson and the Jorginho penalty late on proved to be enough for Tuchel’s men, who progressed to the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup. It wasn’t the most convincing of performances from Chelsea but winning the game was the priority as Spurs will now await the Blues in the semi-finals.
FT: Brentford 0-2 Chelsea
Brentford (3-5-2): Fernandez; Sorensen, Jansson (capt), Pinnock; Canos. Baptiste, Jensen, Janelt; Henry; Wissa, Mbeumo
Subbed on: Toney (for Wissa, 65 mins), Norgaard (for Janelt, 66 mins), Ghoddos (for Henry, 73 mins), Onyeka (for Baptiste, 74 mins), Forss (for Jensen, 81 mins)
Chelsea (3-4-3): Kepa; Simons, Chalobah, Sarr; Azpilicueta (capt), Kovacic, Saul, Alonso; Barkley, Soonsup-Bell, Vale
Subbed on: Jorginho (for Kovacic, 45 mins), Pulisic (for Soonsup-Bell, 45 mins), Mount (for Vale, 65 mins), James (for Simons, 65 mins), Kante (for Barkley, 76 mins)
Goals: Jansson (80 mins, own goal), Jorginho (85 mins, pen)
Written and Edited by Matt North (@MattNorth_)