A professional Chelsea display gave them a 2-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur in the Capital One Cup final on Sunday. A deflected John Terry strike on the stroke of half time along with a Kyle Walker own goal early in the second half were enough for Jose Mourinhoa s side who will look to use this as a springboard for greater honours later on this season.
We take a look at five things we learned from the match.
Like him or hate him, Jose Mourinho wins you trophies
The Portuguese has now won 21 trophies in just 15 years as a manager and Sunday’s win was his 9th from 12 major cup finals. That’s a phenomenal record. The fact that almost three years without a trophy was being considered as a drought for Mourinho speaks for itself.
Mourinho has now won 7 league titles to go with 10 major cup wins and Chelsea are anything but done this season. They can extend their lead at the top of the Premier League table to 8 points after Manchester City lost 2-1 at Anfield hours before the final. Also, they have the second leg of the Champions League Round of 16 against Paris Saint Germain coming up in a couple of weeks. There is surely more silverware awaiting the pragmatic tactician.
John Terry – Captain, Leader, Legend
Despite being hated by almost every other club’s fans except for his own, John Terry continues to keep on producing the goods. His solid defending throughout the game was capped by the opening goal, when his deflected volley gave Chelsea the lead following a set-piece moments before the break.
He led from the front when his side were finding it difficult against a solid Spurs team and the highlight out of it was a brave last ditch block when it looked certain that Harry Kane would score.
Speaking to Sky Sports after the game, he said, “That’s the first one, it’s massive. It meant an awful lot to us in 2004-05 in Jose’s first year here.
“This could be the start of something very good but we have to kick on and we have the league to focus on, but it’s a great day and a great win today.”
“The pressure was there before the game, obviously, but that’s what cup finals do to you. I thought we played very well, handled the game very well and delighted with the win.
“I think it was fairly even first half, second half I thought we controlled it a little bit better and deserved winners.”
The 34-year-old is quietly leading Chelsea in what promises to be another famous season under Jose Mourinho.
Spurs spirited fight goes in vain
Spurs started off very brightly despite their midweek excursions in Italy and the measly 48 hours they had to recover before the final. Pochettino’s side pressed well from the off and even though it got difficult to maintain the intensity levels as the game wore on, they didn’t stop fighting till the very end.
They dominated possession, finishing with just under 58% and were unlucky to come away with nothing to show for. However, they must now focus their attentions on the league and finishing in the top four, which Arsenal and Liverpool winning over the weekend. The race promises to go on till the very end of the season and Spurs will have to recover from their two losses in four days.
Zouma as the holding midfielder keeps Eriksen quiet
Having lost against a rampant Spurs on New Year’s Day, Mourinho opted to field young defender Kurt Zouma as the holding midfielder in the absence of Nemanja Matic and the injured John Obi Mikel. The gamble/master stroke paid off as the Frenchman kept danger man Christian Eriksen relatively quiet. The closest he came was from a free-kick in the first half when he hit bar. His other attempt was easily saved by Cech.
Zouma has been Terry’s preferred partner in central defence of late and there was confusion whether Mourinho was fielding a five man defence or if Cahill was starting in midfield. Instead it was Zouma who played in the role Pepe did in big games during Mourinho’s time at Real Madrid and allowed Cesc Fabregas freedom to bomb forward and dictate play while also coming close to scoring with a spectacular bi-cycle kick.
Azpilicueta bleeds, but put in a man of the match performance
49% of Chelsea’s attack came down the left flank due to the combination of Eden Hazard and Cesar Azpilicueta. The Spaniard recorded the highest whoscored.com rating on the night with 8.7 and executed 9 tackles on the night; no Spurs player made more than 5. He also made 5 interceptions in the match as no one on the pitch had more than 2.
He suffered a blow to his head in the latter stages of the second half due to which he had to get bandaged but his performance levels seemed to increase as the game wore on and he gave it his all to prevent Spurs from breaching the defence. Thrice in quick succession, Harry Kane tried to take him on. Thrice the in-form striker was stopped in his tracks. The versatile fullback has become one of the most important players in Chelsea’s side.