Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea overcame a one goal first leg deficit to beat Tottenham Hotspur on penalties in their Carabao Cup semifinal on Thursday night. N’Golo Kante and Eden Hazard got on the scoresheet for the Blues in the first half. Fernando Llorente pulled one back for Spurs and pushed the game to penalties, only to see his team suffer a 4-2 defeat.
Here are three things we learned from Chelsea’s 2-1 win over Tottenham.
3. A Disappointing Tottenham First Half
Without Harry Kane, Dele Alli, and Son Heung-min, Tottenham Hotspur boss, Mauricio Pochettino was forced to field a healthy mix of regulars and benchwarmers. On paper, the team looked potent enough to trouble Chelsea, but the intensity just wasn’t there.
They were overrun in the middle of the park, lost shape, and were struggling to string more than two passes together. Spurs responded bravely in the second half, but the 2-0 first-half deficit was always going to be too big to overturn.
2. Chelsea Respond to Sarri’s War Cry
After the 2-0 defeat to Arsenal, Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri questioned the team’s mentality and ability to cope with pressure and last night, the Chelsea players took the opportunity to respond to their boss’ criticism in the best possible manner.
Chelsea ran Tottenham ragged and were thoroughly the better team on the pitch. Maybe it was the rush of a cup semi-final, but the Blues once again proved they can indeed be world class if they choose to be.
1. Hazard leads from the front
Eden Hazard produced one of his best performances of the season last night against his side’s local rivals. Sarri questioned Hazard’s leadership earlier in the week, and for the Belgian, last night was all about proving the Italian manager wrong.
He kept Tottenham on their toes right from the first minute and kept them contained in their own half. His first-half brilliance was handsomely rewarded in the 38th minute when Cesar Azpilicueta set him up for his first goal of the year.