OPPONENTS Chelsea at Stamford Bridge
COMPETITION League Cup Semi-final Second Leg
DATE Thursday 24th January 2018
PREVIEW No preview produced.
PREDICTION Chelsea    1        Tottenham Hotspur    1
League Cup Semi-final Second Leg Kick off 19:45
Chelsea  2 (2)  
Score:  2-2 on Aggregate.  Chelsea won 4-2 on penalties]
Tottenham Hotspur  1 (0)

Kante  26m 43s
Hazard  37m 47s


Llorente  49m 50s

Crowd :   38,610 Weather :  Chilly
Referee :  Martin Atkinson (West Yorkshire) Assistant Referees :  Mr. Lee Betts; Mr. Stephen Child
Fourth Official :  Stuart Attwell  
VAR Official :  Andre Marriner Assistant VAR  :  Peter Kirkup
Spurs kicked off and played towards the Matthew Harding Stand in the first half.
Game time : -  90 + 9 minutes.
Jorginho (foul on Rose) 53
Sarri (dissent) 54
Kante (foul on Rose) 56 
Azpilicueta (foul on Rose)  66


Sissoko (foul on Jorginho) 73



Chelsea : kit Tottenham Hotspur : kit

28  Cesar AZPILICUETA  (c)     
  2  Antonio RUDIGER
  David LUIZ

  5  JORGINHO     
  8  Ross BARKLEY  (17  Mateo KOVACIC  81)
  N'Golo KANTE      

11  PEDRO  (22  WILLIAN  76)
18  Olivier GIROUD
10  Eden HAZARD 

Unused subs: 
  3  Marcos ALONSO
44  Ethan AMPADU
34  Lucas PIAZON
20  Callum HUDSON-ODOI


  22  Paulo GAZZANIGA

24  Serge Aurier
  5  Jan VERTONGHEN  (c)
33  Ben DAVIES  (  3  Danny ROSE  33)

15  Eric DIER
  8  Harry WINKS

17  Moussa SISSOKO       (  6  Davinson SANCHEZ  80)
23  Christian ERIKSEN
1  Erik LAMELA

18  Fernando LLORENTE    (27  Lucas MOURA  68)

Unused subs: 
  1  Hugo LLORIS

14  Georges-Kevin NKOUDOU

52  Oliver SKIPP


Manager :  Maurizio SARRI Manager :  Mauricio Pochettino
Sponsor :   Yokohama Tyres Shirt sponsor :  AIA
Kit Supplier :  Nike Kit Supplier :   Nike
Match report

Injury-hit Tottenham failed at the last hurdle against a full strength Chelsea side, who won this League Cup semi-final second leg, but only on penalties after Fernando Llorente levelled the aggregate score in the second half.  It was a spirited display by Spurs, but Chelsea were the stronger side and it was only their inability to turn chances into goal that prevented them winning the game in normal time, with our side playing a strange game in the first half that almost invited the home side onto us ... not a tactic we can play successfully that often.  

As it was, the tie went straight to penalties - no extra time nowadays.  It was always going to be difficult, with three of the players we would have chosen to take them not on the pitch.  Kane and dele injured and Llorente substituted.  Dier's penalty would have been perfect of it had been two yards lower, but Lucas's was poor and Chelsea were through.  With all out players, I would have fancied us to get to the final, but Manchester City await after winning their semi 10-0 on aggregate, albeit against Burton Albion, but they will be favourites to retain the trophy.

For the first ten minutes, the teams were getting a feel for the football with Spurs being looser in possession that almost let Hazard through and then Pedro had space on the left but Alderweireld blocked his shot. Chelsea started making the most of any contact when Luiz went down dramatically under challenge from Dier. There didn’t seem a lot in it, but there was a lengthy spell of on pitch treatment before he limped off. Next off it was Jorginho who went down as Dier came into tackle. 25   yards out on the right corner of the box, but Rudiger was pulling Vertonghen down and it was a Spurs free-kick.  Hazard was next, running at Toby and going down easy. So, a free kick from the same distance out, but on the other side of the pitch. This time two Spurs players   were pulled down but Atkinson gave nothing, as the ball popped about before being put wide by a Chelsea boot.  Spurs were defending deep, but looked to break and when they did, Llorente held the ball up and that allowed Chelsea to get numbers back behind the ball. Spurs did break well with Llorente turning it on to Eriksen and then winning a corner and then another, but they didn’t really get decent supply into the box.

A cross by Hazard from the left was blocked by Alderweireld, thinking someone was coming in behind him, but the corner was cleared, although it went to Kante outside the box, with it flying between Ben Davies’ legs, Moussa Sissoko’s legs and then Paulo Gazzaniga’s legs before handing Chelsea the goal that levelled the aggregate score. It had stemmed from Llorente laying the ball behind Lamela as Spurs looked to form an attack and suddenly, it meant that we had to score at least one to get through in the remaining 63 minutes, unless we were going to rely on penalties !

Vertonghen was then pressured into giving away a corner and that was cleared, but in the second phase, Ben Davies tackled Luiz, who made a point of falling into him. It left Davies floored and he had to be replaced by Danny Rose. A cross by Hazard from the left, low into the near post, found Giroud, but the ball stuck under his feet and Gazzaniga picked it up to avert any further danger.  Sours were under almost constant pressure, as they had no out ball. Perhaps they didn’t feel confident in playing it up to Llorente, but it meant a lot of possession for Chelsea in out half.

That pressure told in the 38th minute, when another soft free-kick was given when Barkley went down and took it quickly. The ball went out to Azpilicueta on their right and his low cross was turned home by Hazard from 12 yards out.

The Chelsea right back was whingeing about a contact with Winks, which was nothing more than Harry trying to pull out, but by laying on the floor shouting about it, Atkinson was swayed to give him a free-kick. Somehow he wasn’t when Toby lost the ball near halfway out on our right and Hazard was away. Alderweireld got back and put in a tackle from behind on his Belgian national team-mate and it looked for all the world a free-kick at the very least, but nothing was given !! 

There was another Chelsea break that saw Pedro set up Kante with a shot from the right-hand corner of the area, but he showed his true ability by scuffing it right across the face of goal for a throw-in. It was the last thing to happen before the interval and there was an eerie quiet over the Spurs end, as Chelsea had dominated the half and Spurs had been playing a defensive game that they were not really equipped to do.

An early second half corner was given to Chelsea and although Gazzaniga punched it out, Jorginho volleyed it back at goal, but straight at Paulo. Almost immediately, Spurs moved the ball well with some one touch stuff and from a corner, Eriksen scooped the ball into a busy penalty box, Dier headed out to Toby on the edge of the box and his volley flew over the bar. 49 50 Just when it looked like Fernando’s lack of mobility might be a hindrance to Spurs, he made a move on Emerson and Luiz to dive between them and head Rose’s excellent cross into the ground past Arizzabalaga. It brought the aggregate score back to 2-2 and put Tottenham back in the match with a classic piece of centre-forward play that wasn’t in keeping with what he had shown in the previous 48 minutes.

Pedro was put through soon after the goal and bearing down on goal from the right, but fired it straight at Gazzaniga, who got down low at his near post. Atkinson once again bottled it when he only gave Kante a yellow card following an over-physical challenge off the pitch on Rose. I am sure if it had been the other way round, it would have been a different colour … even if it did go to VAR. It was indicative that Chelsea were rattled and Spurs needed to play on that, but a couple od lucky breaks handed Hazard the chance from the left, but he sliced his 18 yard shot wide to the right of Gazzaniga’s goal.

Lamela was given offside, when he looked at least level and then Emerson dived near the box as Sissoko challenged, with no free-kick given and nothing given for diving either. In the 63rd minute, Gazzaniga played the ball out to the right to Eriksen, whose first time cross was over Jorginho’s head and Llorente ran onto it unmarked and tried a first time volley, but it skidded off his boot and went wide.

Chelsea were looking to take the lead on aggregate again. Hazard broke into the box and he was tackled by Vertonghen, which took the ball to Pedro and Jan was there again to block his shot, before Giroud tried a delicate shot, but it was straight down Paulo’s throat.  Chelsea got their fourth booking of the night, when Azpilicueta took out Rose and then argued about it, with Lucas Moura replacing Llorente shortly after to add some pace to the Tottenham attack. He had a chance to score, when Gazzaniga’a long kick out picked out Lucas on the left and his shot hit the side-netting rather than the target when he was in the clear.

Whatever the result at the end, what Spurs didn’t need was more injuries and Sanchez had to come on for Sissoko, when he kicked Aurier as the right back cleared the ball, making it the last substitute Spurs could use. Azpilicueta screamed like a child when Lamela put out an arm to hold him off and once more the dramatic won the day. Perhaps it was because he was captain that he got away with dissent at every decision given against his side. As the game towards the end, Chelsea were given a stream of soft free-kicks, but when Emerson went under Aurier without challenging for a header, he walked away without a card to his name.

Into injury time, Spurs had a good attack, but giving the ball away, Chelsea moved it left to allow Emerson’s cross to Giroud in front of goal, but he glanced his  header wide. So, penalties it was. Eriksen was first up and put it low to the keeper’s right with him stuck to his line. Willian sent Gazzaniga the wrong way, then  Lamela stepped up to the spot and put it wide enough of Kepa’s dive to the left to find the corner of the net. Azpilicueta sent Paulo the wrong way to make it 2-2 and Dier put his penalty over the bar. Jorginho did a hop, skip and jump to roll it in on the right past Gazzaniga’s dive to his left to make it 3-2 to Chelsea. Lucas hit a weak penalty to the keeper’s left at a good height and it was pushed aside, leaving David Luiz to take a penalty that went under Gazzaniga’s dive to send them into the final.

Disappointing, but with the resources available, it was probably the best we might have expected realistically.  Another semi and another defeat and maybe one day, we will have a fit side who can play to our potential and not have any bad breaks against us.

There's still the FA Cup and that's at the weekend with Palace at Selhurst Park.  Hope springs eternal despite all the naysayers having their opinion on sodial media and national sports radio.

Mal Travers

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Other semi-final score :
Burton Albion 0 Manchester City  (Won 10-0 on agg.) 1 Wednesday


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