Chelsea will have it all to do in the second leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final against Tottenham, who handed them a 1-0 loss at Wembley on Tuesday.
The game started in frantic fashion, with both sides managing to conjure up chances in the early exchanges. Tottenham though, went on to grab the lead in contentious circumstances, with VAR intervening after Kepa Arrizabalaga fouled Harry Kane inside the Chelsea box.
The official replays showed that Kane was onside, although a seething Maurizio Sarri later showed in the footage that Chelsea possess that the English striker was offside. There were no doubts as to the foul by Kepa, and the Tottenham skipper duly converted the penalty.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) January 8, 2019
Thereafter, both sides came close with the odd chance, but neither seemingly possess the quality to beat the goalkeeper on the respective ends. The score thus, ended 1-0 in favour of Tottenham, who will hold the crucial advantage when the two sides meet for the second leg in two weeks. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Sarri’s men.
Kepa Arrizabalaga: 5.5/10
Kepa had been one of the guilty parties when Chelsea had met Tottenham at Wembley earlier this season and he was at fault for the only goal that was scored on Tuesday as well, although Kane should have been pulled back for offside. Did give a good account of himself thereafter, making a few solid stops. But, in the end, he had played his part in the loss.
Cesar Azpilicueta: 7/10
Azpilicueta was never really troubled by the Tottenham attack on Tuesday, although he too, played his part in the loss, when he kept Kane onside before Kepa’s foul. On the other end, the Spaniard failed to provide much creativity, which is where someone like Davide Zappacosta would have come of use.
Andreas Christensen: 6.5/10
Handed a second successive start for the first time this season, following a positive showing in the FA Cup last weekend, Christensen had a mixed outing on Tuesday. Perhaps lucky to not be penalised early on, the Dane did well to keep a check on Son Heung-min. Missed a sitter in the second half, Chelsea’s best opportunity to equalise.
Antonio Rudiger: 7/10
An accomplished performance from Rudiger, who negated Kane brilliantly all through the game. The German defender even denied Alli a chance at goal with a tackle that was right out the top drawer. On the ball, he was precise with his passing too, ensuring that Chelsea controlled the proceedings at certain stages of the game.
Marcos Alonso: 5.5/10
Alonso has been past his best for quite some time now, and he did not show any improvement on his return to the side. Bailed out by the centre-backs a number of times when his marker had him beat, the Spaniard failed to create any threat on the opposite end as well. With Emerson Palmieri breathing down his neck, he is in urgent need to step up.
N’Golo Kante: 8/10
Quite easily the best player on show for Chelsea on Tuesday. Kante started off slow, misplacing a few passes that released the pressure off Tottenham. But, the Frenchman played a key role in ensuring Chelsea dominated the proceedings at certain stages, winning back possession quickly. Didn’t shy away from taking aim at goal either, and is seemingly getting used to the box-to-box role.
Jorginho’s safe passing did ensure Chelsea’s domination in midfield. But, the incisiveness was sorely missing from the Italian international’s game, ultimately costing the Blues in the grand scheme of things. Needs to step up and rediscover his best form.
Ross Barkley: 5/10
Another game that added to the frustration around Barkley. As has been the case lately, the Englishman’s decision making left a lot to be desired and he moved the ball a little too slowly. With Kovacic now fully fit, Barkley is battling for his place as a regular.
Callum Hudson-Odoi: 7/10
Staying true to his word, Sarri handed Hudson-Odoi another start, and the teenage prodigy impressed again. Bright and sprightly to begin with, the young Englishman carried a major threat for large parts of his stint on the pitch. But, unlike last weekend, Hudson-Odoi’s end product was lacking. Still, the exit talks are only gathering steam, and Sarri needs to provide him more game time.
Eden Hazard: 7/10
All through the game, Hazard never stopped trying, but was not always supported ably by those around him, particularly Willian. So much so, that he often had to drop deep to see some action on the ball. Can flourish in the False Nine role, but only if he receives ample support from those around him.
Another player who frustrated with horrible decision making, Willian failed to make any sort of impact on Tuesday. Looked very predictable on the left flank, and was contained quite easily by Kieran Trippier. His much acclaimed work rate was nowhere to be seen either, and he might just be usurped by Hudson-Odoi for good.
— bet365 (@bet365) January 8, 2019
On for Willian, Pedro was an instant upgrade in terms of the threat he provided. But, the cutting edge was lacking from the Spaniard’s game.
Mateo Kovacic: N/A
Created very little impact upon replacing Barkley, although he is primed for a start this weekend.
Olivier Giroud: N/A
On for the last few minutes, Giroud’s imposing figure failed to get things back on track for Chelsea.