Chelsea 2-1 Tottenham (2-2 on agg, 4-2 on pens) – Blues reach Carabao Cup final

Chelsea book place in final against Manchester City

Chelsea will face Manchester City in the Carabao Cup final after beating Tottenham 4-2 on penalties at Stamford Bridge.

After a pulsating night of high drama which ended 2-2 on aggregate after an enthralling 90 minutes, the tie was settled when David Luiz scored the winning kick after Kepa Arrizabalaga’s fine save from Lucas Moura.

Trailing 1-0 from the first leg at Wembley 16 days ago, Chelsea were level on aggregate after 27 minutes when the unmarked N’Golo Kanté drilled in a first-time shot from 20 yards through three pairs of legs after a corner.

Photo Source: @ChelseaFC

Eden Hazard then fired Chelsea into a 2-1 aggregate lead on the 38th minute with an arrowed finish after being picked out by captain César Azpilicueta.

Within five minutes of the restart though, Spurs were back on level terms as Fernando Llorente took advantage of a momentary lapse of concentration from David Luiz to reach a Danny Rose cross and power a header into the back of the net.

What had started as a fairly-paced game now became a match filled with nothing but franticness.

Missed opportunities from both Eden Hazard and Pedro not long after Spurs getting back level on aggregate, along with Llorente spurning a gilt-edged chance to double his tally – the game had completely opened up and was end-to-end for the rest of it.

Chelsea continued to pile on the pressure and it nearly paid off as Olivier Giroud had a glorious chance to send Maurizio Sarri’s side into the final in the third minute of stoppage-time but he glanced a header wide as the tie went to penalties.

Christian Eriksen, Willian, Érik Lamela and Azpilicueta all converted the first four penalties in the shootout before Eric Dier – who was lucky to still be on the pitch after multiple unpunished fouls in the first half – blazed over. Karma is indeed a wonderful thing.

Jorginho moved Chelsea closer to victory with his typical unorthodox penalty before Kepa Arrizabalaga saved Lucas Moura’s effort to give Chelsea match point.

Photo Source: @ChelseaFC

And up stepped Luiz, who hammered home the crucial spot-kick to send Chelsea to Wembley and extend Spurs’ semi-final record to five straight defeats.

Chelsea, who have now reached 15 finals in 16 years in all competitions, will face Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City at Wembley on 24th February.

Match Statistics

Possession (%)  – Chelsea 54%, Tottenham 46%
Shots – Chelsea 21, Tottenham 5
Shots on Target – Chelsea 5, Tottenham 1
Corners – Chelsea 8, Tottenham 4
Fouls – Chelsea 9, Tottenham 16
Offsides – Chelsea 1, Tottenham 4
Yellow/Red Cards – Chelsea 3/0, Tottenham 1/0

(Bonus Stat) 46 – Chelsea has lost none of the 46 games (in all competitions) in which Eden Hazard has scored in at Stamford Bridge (P46 W39 D7 L0). Lucky Belgian charm.

Post-Match Thoughts

  • Hazard back at LW = back to his best.
  • Emerson > Alonso from now on. Not even a debate.
  • No more false 9 setups. Thank you.
  • Kante is literally a Duracell battery.
  • Kepa is now an instant legend for tonight’s shootout.
  • The referee was absolutely shocking.
  • Eric Dier. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy…

Chelsea Player/Manager Ratings

Starting XI
Kepa – 8, Became an instant legend in the eyes of the fans for his saves in the shootout. £71m starting to look like a genuine bargain.
Azpilicueta – 7, The captain worked incredibly hard all-night-long and showed the consistency once again that we are used to. Harshly booked.
Rudiger – 8, Strong, assured display once again from our first-choice centre back. Has become integral to this team.
David Luiz – 7, Showed his typical resilience and his ferocious spirit was on display throughout the night as he made sure the team showed the passion that had been missing in recent weeks. Great penalty to seal the win.
Emerson – 8, Showed more as to why he should be the starting LB in this match than Alonso has had all season long.
Kante – 8, Another fantastic match from ‘The Irresistible Force’. Growing into the more, attack-minded role game-by-game. Booked.
Jorginho – 7, An assured display performance from the regista, showing why how valuable he his to Sarri and the way Chelsea play ‘SarriBall’. Will quieten a lot of doubters after tonight.
Barkley – 7, Put in a determined performance and was appreciated, even if he didn’t offer anything significant going forward.
Pedro – 6, Quiet night for the Spaniard. Not at his best.
Giroud – 7, Gave Chelsea a true presence upfront and it clearly showed as Tottenham’s defence never had a quiet minute all night.
Hazard – 9, MOTM. Play him in his favoured position and watch the magic happen. Not your typical ‘leader’, but you cannot deny how influential he is to his teammates, manager, club and fans.

Substitutions

Willian (75′ for Pedro) – 5, Offered nothing in my opinion. Hudson-Odoi would have been the better option to come on.
Kovacic (80′ for Barkley) – 6, Worked hard in the 10 or so minutes he was on the pitch.

Manager

Maurizio Sarri (8) – Fantastic night for the manager. Picked the best team he had at his disposal (will change most probably when Gonzalo Higuaín becomes available) and his words in the post-Arsenal press conference clearly had a positive effect on the players. Kept to his word from the weekend, which means a lot to the fans that back him.

Terry Sazio.

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