Chelsea are always desperate to add more silver to their trophy collection and they went the right way about doing that with a comfortable 2-0 win against Tottenham in the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final.
Kepa Arrizabalaga – 7
A relatively quiet evening for Kepa on his return to first team duties in goal. Away from a slightly shaky attempt at catching the ball in the first half he made a good low save from Harry Kane before again saving late on as a shot was flashed across goal. A nice confidence booster ahead of a tough run.
Cesar Azpilicueta – 7.5
An uneventful but industrious night’s work for the captain back at a more familiar right back spot. A pass accuracy of 93% backed up by a 100% tackle rate saw him keep the likes of Lucas Moura and Son-Heung Min quiet.
Antonio Rüdiger – 7
It was a rare calm evening for the eccentric German defender thanks to the work of those in front of him. He was tidy in possession and stepped up when required to defensively, including an important interception as the game started to become a little fractured.
Malang Sarr – 8
After a loan to Porto last season, the Frenchman has played a bit-part role at the club this year but tends to deliver when called upon and tonight was no different. Tireless work to continuously win the ball back and not give the Tottenham attackers a moment of rest. A really positive step forward in his career.
Marcos Alonso – 7.5
Fans were worried after Ben Chilwell’s injury about whether Alonso could live up to the levels of the Englishman and tonight in glimpses, he could do just that. Away from Tuchel shouting at him to sort out his positioning, he pressed successfully to win back possession before slipping Havertz in behind for the opener.
Jorginho – 7
Played a side part on Sunday but was back at the centre of attention on Wednesday dictating the tempo and controlling the game as he loves to do. His highlights featured some quick footwork to get out of tight spots and showing off his range of passing.
Saul Niguez – 9
Undoubtedly this was the best we have seen the Spaniard in a Chelsea shirt. Afforded a bit more time on the ball than in previous performances, he made that count by spreading the play with his left foot and being positive wherever he could. Furthermore, his attitude out of possession was exemplary making a few vital tackles and interceptions.
Hakim Ziyech – 8.5
Throughout the night, the Moroccan sent Chelsea fans back to his early days at the club and in particular the 4-1 win over Sheffield United as he looked to make his influence felt from the right side. Balls were sprayed left, right and centre from his wand of a left foot with misses from Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner denying him some assists. The one downside being a couple of presentable opportunities missed in the second half.
Kai Havertz – 8
After a steady return from Covid on Sunday, the German was a lot more like his familiar self. From the first whistle he was looking to be positive and earnt his just reward with the opening goal after a run in behind the Tottenham defence. More nice work followed especially with Mason Mount before his evening was curtailed at half time with a finger injury picked up in the aftermath of his goal.
Mason Mount – 7.5
Back in a slightly deeper role tonight, one he excelled in under Frank Lampard, and he put in another workmanlike performance for his manager. A couple of times he sent inviting balls into the box with no one attacking them and also firing off a few shots that were blocked at source. Naturally his performance featured a lot of hard work winning the ball back for his side.
Romelu Lukaku – 7
The Belgian has been the talk of the town in the build up for that infamous interview, but he was back in the starting XI and back down to business. After half an hour he only had four touches but his run in the channel and standing up of Davinson Sanchez would win the free kick for Chelsea’s second. He was unusually wasteful in front of goal notably missing a free header from a matter of yards.
Timo Werner – 6.5
Thomas Tuchel noted that the German had particularly struggled with Covid, so it was good to see him back on the pitch and doing what he does. In summary it was a typical Werner performance. A sharp turn and spin started the move for Ziyech’s chance, and he made a dangerous run cutting in from the left and firing a shot just wide. Beforehand he failed to get enough height on the ball to chip Hugo Lloris when one on one.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek – 6.5
He has been struggling with an injury in recent weeks but made his opportunity off the bench count with an early run in behind the defence before using his frame to win the ball back in the opposition’s half.
Mateo Kovacic – 6
After that wondergoal and man of the match display from the Croatian on Sunday, he was quieter this time around but still his usual bright self. A few positive moments on the ball linking the midfield and attack.
Christian Pulisic – 6
The American was the other goal scorer on Sunday but couldn’t have the same effect this time around. He used his body well to win a free kick on the edge of the box which Alonso before hitting a cross way over anyone in the box.
Harvey Vale – 6
Tonight, marked a special moment for the youngster as he made his home debut with more appearances definitely around the corner. In the short time he was on, he did the basics well and had some nice interchanges with Kovacic and Pulisic on the right.
Written by Harrison Burridge (@indepthfandc)
Edited by Tom Coley (@tomcoley49)
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