Chelsea vs Manchester City (0- 0) (3-4 on pens) Carabao Cup Final: 5 key talking points

As Chelsea lose on penalties to Manchester City in the Carabao Cup Final, I look at the 5 key talking points from this encounter at Wembley.

Before I go into the 5 key talking points, here are the highlights from the Carabao Cup final yesterday (for anyone who didn’t watch the game)

  1. Sarri changed it up completely- Everyone expected Sarri to go with a typical 4-3-3, with the likes of Alonso at the back etc. But when 3:30pm struck and when the team news came out- everyone was surprised with the selection and with the tactics.

Kepa started, which was a surprise as he was a huge doubt after suffering a slight hamstring injury, but he made the starting eleven. Alonso was dropped from the whole squad yesterday, which was a good surprise for most Chelsea fans. The only negative initially with the lineup was the front

Surprisingly Sarri opted for a false 9, with Willian, Pedro and Hazard making up the front 3- but no one saw Higuain being dropped for this final. So that came as a shock to many Chelsea fans. What baffled many people about that front 3 was how Hudson-Odoi wasn’t included in that 3. Especially considering the fact that Pedro has being playing so poor recently.

Although the front line selection came under criticism by many Chelsea fans, we have to remember that this was the front 3 that started in Chelsea’s 2-0 win over Manchester City at Stamford Bridge earlier this season, in the Premier League. Furthermore, there was logic behind that selection from Sarri.

However one criticism of the the starting eleven, was that Sarri selected 9 of the players that played in their 6-0 hammering against Manchester City recently in the Premier League, at the Etihad.

Chelsea fans were worried that Sarri would be stubborn, but he did show before the game that he was willing to change something.

And his tactics did work today, despite Chelsea’s gutting loss on penalties.

2. Kepa refusing to be subbed is a disgrace- In extra time after an excellent save from a City attack, Kepa looked clearly injured, and was down for a while. Prior to that he also went down looking like he had cramp.

Sarri decided to sub Caballero on for Kepa, however Kepa wasn’t having it as he wanted to stay on for penalties. To Sarri’s frustration Kepa stayed on and undermined his manager, and Sarri clearly wasn’t happy about that;

That incident meant a bitter end for Chelsea before the shoot-out, and as a result lost in the shoot-out to the Citizens.

Kepa will now be a talking point for a while now. Especially considering the fact that he should have saved City’s second penalty from Agüero;

My opinion on the Kepa fiasco is that he is a disgrace. How dare he undermine has manager in public. He needs dropping for the next game in my opinion by Sarri, to demonstrate the fact that player power can’t win again at Chelsea!

I also would question Azpilicueta as the captain. Why didn’t he intervene and tell Kepa to go off? That’s what a leader would have done

Here are some Chelsea fan reactions to the Kepa Fiasco;

3. Chelsea were outstanding today despite the result- Many Chelsea fans thought this game would be a thrashing before the game kicked off. However Chelsea nullified Manchester City in that first half, and grew into the game as the second half went on. The Blues really went up a gear in the second half and created the better chances.

Into extra time, and in the first half of the extra time- Chelsea looked more likely to nick it, However in the second half- Manchester City should have at least scored one, and Chelsea just about scraped to the penalty shootout.

Overall, this Chelsea side looked 100 times better than they were 2 weeks ago at the Etihad, and can be proud of their performance. It’s just difficult to see how they move on from this after the Kepa situation.

4. Kante has 3 lungs!- My man of the match for Chelsea today was Ngolo Kante. He was everywhere today.

Without Kante in this game, City would have eased past Chelsea, but Kante was brilliant in the attacking phase and the defensive phase.

Unfortunately, he nearly scored midway through the second half, when he ran on to a Hazard pullback, but his effort flew over Ederson’s bar.

Here are some Chelsea fans reactions to Kante’s performance today;

Even the likes of Guardiola could see how good Kante was today for the West-Londoners;

5. Sarri’s position under more threat despite positive performance- Sarri came into this game with alot of questions about his future. With even some outlets reporting that if he lost today then he would be sacked.

However, after his managerial performance today, I think he deserves a little more time. At least until Wednesday.

Today Sarri showed that he can change, and he demonstrated this with his selection, and with his tactical decision to go with a false 9, which on the whole worked!

Furthermore, Sarri has done all he can now to remain in the job until at least Wednesday, and the Evening Standard believe that Sarri’s changes have given him time which is good to hear.

After the whole Kepa fiasco, Sarri came out after the game and spoke with real class;

Chelsea next play again on Wednesday, at home to Tottenham. They will be hoping to bounce back after this disappointing loss, but one thing can be guaranteed- If they play like this on Wednesday, then there’s a big chance that they can get all 3 points at home against Tottenham.

Here’s a good post match thoughts summary from Alex Goldberg on Twitter;

Also check out Alex Goldberg’s excellent review on yesterday’s game on his youtube channel- The Byline;

Leave me down below your thoughts on this game. Are you as proud of the team as I am? Also what did you make of the Kepa fiasco? And finally, does Maurizio Sarri deserve more time after this performance?

Also must give a shout out to Emerson who was excellent at left back yesterday. This game shows that he has to be first choice now over Alonso who has been so poor this season.

Another point that could have made the 5 key talking points was the VAR. VAR had a mixed game. Firstly in the second half Aguero scored and was ruled offside, and VAR checked the decision. However in the 90th minute, Hazard was played through on goal, however the linesman flagged offside. So my question is why didn’t the linesman leave his flag down and let the play go on, and if Hazard were to have scored- then VAR could have checked it. But what is the point of VAR?

By Danyal Khan

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