A controversial Harry Kane penalty handed Tottenham Hotspur a slender 1-0 win over Chelsea in the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final on Tuesday night. The two London side kept the fans guessing right until the very end, with the only goal of the game coming through VAR’s timely intervention.
3. A Neat Tottenham Performance
Earlier this season, Tottenham had hammered Chelsea 3-1 at Wembley Stadium and had hoped for something similar in their cup tie, as well. Sadly, the home crowd couldn’t celebrate more than once, but last night, Spurs excelled on a different front.
We associate Tottenham with open, expansive football, but Tuesday’s Wembley stood witness to their grit and doggedness. They harrowed and hassled Chelsea out of possession, and kept their star, Eden Hazard, out of threatening areas, virtually nullifying 75% of Chelsea’s creativity up top.
2. Chelsea Need a Goal Threat
Having lost Alvaro Morata to a knock, Maurizio Sarri, was only left with a half-fit Olivier Giroud on the bench. So, the Italian once again deployed Eden Hazard as a ‘false nine’ in an attempt to play through Tottenham’s defensive lines.
The trick worked wonderfully against Manchester City, but Tottenham turned out to be a tad smarter. The Belgian was outworked by the home side’s gritty defenders and failed to have any sort of impact.
Chelsea are worryingly short of attacking options right now and if they still don’t manage to bulk up, they will only have themselves to blame for yet another sub-par campaign.
1. All to Play for
Both Tottenham and Chelsea couldn’t quite manage to live up to their attacking potential, treating us fans with only a solitary goal. The hosts looked the more resolute of the two and would probably feel hard done by their narrow advantage.
The return leg at Stamford Bridge should be a little more open, as both team would try to stamp their authority early on. Chelsea have a lot to figure out before hosting their derby rivals, and the Blues would need their coach to come up with the right answers.