CARABAO CUP SEMI-FINAL 2ND LEG
WEDNESDAY 12TH JANUARY, 2022
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 0(0) CHELSEA 1(1)
(Chelsea won 3-0 on aggregate)
Referee:- Andre Marriner
Assistants:- Edward Smart, Scott Ledger
Fourth Official:- Robert Jones
VAR:- Michael Dean
AVAR:- Mark Scholes
Spurs (5-3-2):- Gollini; Emerson Royal, Tanganga, Sanchez, Davies, Doherty (sub Sessegnon, 65); Winks (sub Skipp, 81), Hojbjerg, Lo Celso (sub Gil, 71); Lucas Moura, Kane (Capt.)
Subs not used:- Lloris; Rodon, Paskotsi; Dele, White; Scarlett
Chelsea (4-2-2-2):- Arrizabalaga; Azpilicueta (Capt.), Christensen (sub Thiago Silva, 66), Rudiger, Sarr; Jorginho (sub Loftus-Cheek, 82), Kovacic (sub Kante, 77); Mount (sub Ziyech, 66), Hudson-Odoi; Lukaku, Werner (sub Alonso, 66)
Subs not used:- Bettinelli; Saul; Pulisic, Havertz
So VAR away from Chelsea
Spurs make a habit of losing semi-finals, don't they? We were hoping for an early goal, but Chelsea were all over us like a rash and settled the tie with an 18th minute goal. Like most Spurs fans I had left the stadium, for an early train, before a medical emergency delayed proceedings, which had long before become a formality. It was sickening to behold Chelsea fans (justifiably) singing and gloating throughout the game. A crowd of 45,603 as well as the standard of our football surely puts out a strong warning to Daniel Levy regarding the future of our club.
Spurs had no less than three VAR decisions go against them. Referee Andre Marriner had pointed to the spot not once, but twice. He was correctly over-ruled on both occasions. Harry Kane had put the ball in the net in the second half, but this one was chalked off for offside. No doubt correctly, but marginal, surely.
The bottom line is that Chelsea are at least two levels better than us. The “Where were you when you were ****” chants are meaningless. They’ve had supremacy over us since the establishment of the Premier League 30 years ago. Those chants can only be aimed at fans nearing 40 and above. Spurs fans had been sternly advised against another anti-Chelsea chant which has now been decreed a hate crime. Mind you, we do hate them, don’t we? After all, their fans detest us more than they do any other team.
Antonio Conte’s team selection mystified us, particularly with regard to the selection of Gollini in goal, rather than Hugo Lloris. A left-footed left wing-back would have been handy, but as we hardly managed to set foot in the Chelsea half in the early stages, that didn’t matter, I suppose. We must hope that absentees such as Dier and Reguilon will be available for Arsenal on Sunday. The team selection almost looked as if Conte had given up this tie and was focussing upon Sunday’s game.
The Spurs crowd noise was good at the start of the game but was soon quelled by persistent Chelsea advances into Spurs territory after they kicked off and played towards the South Stand. I thought both sides were lined up as a 4-4-2, but Thomas Tuchel is much more sophisticated than that. Spurs looked like a 4-4-2, but Doherty was always likely to fall back to make it a 5-3-2.
Spurs did have a free kick just outside the Chelsea area after Lo Celso had been fouled, but Kane’s free kick was blocked. In the follow-up play, Doherty wanted a corner, but the decision was to give a goal kick to Chelsea. At the other end, Sanchez made a weak defensive header and Werner tried an up and over shot which thankfully passed wide. Gollini saved a Lukaku shot after another poor clearance by Davies and the ball rebounded out of play off Sanchez.
Lucas Moura made a decent run towards the centre of the pitch approaching the Chelsea area, but his right foot shot passed wide across the goal. Kane had a shot closed down after receiving a decent pass from Harry Winks. Chelsea left back Sarr had a shot blocked by Lo Celso at the expense of a corner, after which the two players had “words”. The referee had “words” too. This corner was cleared, but Chelsea’s goal came from another taken by Mount from the left. This should have been claimed by Gollini, who came, but flapped at the ball which actually rebounded off Rudiger’s back into the net. That was game over, in truth. Chelsea fans knew and chanted incessantly. Spurs fans knew it, and sulked.
Gollini made a decent save to his left from a shot by Hudson-Odoi. It took until the half-hour mark for Spurs to muster another decent attack. Kane had another shot blocked after a pass from Doherty Hojbjerg tried a follow-up shot which was deflected and won a corner. Sanchez glanced on the corner and Kane tried to get a touch at the back post but failed.
Lukaku was off target with an effort when he met a cross by Werner. Lo Celso and Lucas Moura were involved in a good move with a pass going to Emerson, whose shot lacked strength and ran easily to Arrizabalaga. Kane received a ball from Lo Celso but stumbled outside the area. Kane fed a ball to Hojbjerg who was fouled by Rudiger and went down inside the area. Mr. Marriner pointed to the spot, but that turned out to be a free kick outside. Lo Celso took the kick which was blocked. Davies had a shot go wide in first half added time.
Spurs kicked off the second half, but it wasn’t long before Chelsea had a corner from which Rudiger headed over. Spurs had a promising move after 53 minutes with Lo Celso and Lucas Moura combining, before Winks badly over-hit a pass intended for Kane. Winks made a better pass to Kane who in turn fed the ball to Lucas Moura who went down in the box under a challenge by Arrizabalaga. Once again Mr. Marriner pointed to the spot, but after a lengthy delay and a view of the monitor the result was the ball being dropped at the feet of the innocent keeper.
The Spurs crowd was once again getting behind their team, who after all needed three goals to even force extra-time. Lucas Moura won a corner after being taken out by Christensen as he raced into the Chelsea area again. After a subsequent cross by Davies and a header by Emerson, Arrizabalaga saved.
Spurs thought they had levelled in the 63rd minute. So did the referee. Chelsea had been struggling to play out and Lo Celso won a challenge outside the area. Lucas Moura turned the ball to Kane who fired home with a right foot shot, but there was only one defender between him and goal, so it was scratched off.
The game fizzled out after that. Chelsea used all their subs. Spurs used three. Spurs had tried hard in the second half, but without success.
This team is a long way from silverware. We have an FA Cup run remaining, but once we meet a top team, there is a never-ending feeling of inevitable failure. Remarkably, Thomas Tuchel has reached the final of every cup competition he has contested with Chelsea in his 350 days in charge. That’s the FA Cup, Champions League and now the League Cup.
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