Kepa Arrizabalaga and Trevoh Chalobah made their mark as Chelsea beat Southampton on penalties to book their place in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals.

Chelsea were unsurprisingly the more dominant of the two sides in the game, though Southampton did take the game to their hosts when the opportunities presented themselves. However, the colossal presence of Fraser Forster in the Southampton goal ended up frustrating the Blues for the most part.

The Southampton goalkeeper’s heroics started from the sixth minute when he parried Saul Niguez’s header with an acrobatic save. The visitors slowly grew into the game but could not find a way past Kepa Arrizabalaga despite some promising moments. Going into half-time, Chelsea went ahead thanks to a well-directed header from Kai Havertz, with Forster finally beaten by the hosts.

However, Chelsea’s lead lasted just three minutes, as Che Adams scored from point-blank range after after Kepa saved an initial effort by Kyle Walker-Peters. Thereafter, both teams had enough chances to break the deadlock again, only for the two goalkeepers to stand in the way of every effort on goal, as the game went into penalties.

The shootout proved to be a dramatic affair as both sides scored their first penalties before having their respective second efforts saved. However, after Will Smallbone missed the target, Chelsea netted both of their subsequent spot-kicks, with Reece James converting the match-winning effort. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Thomas Tuchel’s men.

Kepa Arrizabalaga: 8/10

Back in the starting lineup in place of the rested Edouard Mendy, Kepa produced a solid showing for the most, making as many as six saves to take the game to penalties. There could be an argument that he should have done more to stop Kyle Walker-Peters’ shot before Che Adams scored, but that would be a rather harsh assessment of his performances. Some of his late saves were superb.

Reece James: 7/10

Deployed as a centre-back, James proved that he has a solid defensive acumen in addition to the attacking intuition he shows as a right wing-back. Helped out Callum Hudson-Odoi on a few occasions while largely remaining untroubled bar one or two positional issues. Slotted home his penalty calmly to win the game for Chelsea.

Trevoh Chalobah: 8/10

Stationed at the heart of the three-man central defensive unit, Chalobah donned the leadership hat for the first time in his Chelsea career and showed some promising signs for the future. While he did not always organise the backline, he did more than enough to keep his fellow centre-backs disciplined while making as many as 11 clearances in a rock-solid display. What an asset for Tuchel.

Malang Sarr: 5/10

Back in the starting lineup, Sarr started the game well and contained Che Adams quite well in the initial exchanges. However, the 22-year-old was guilty of losing the ball in the build-up to the goal scored by Southampton, with Walker-Peters drifting past him before Adams netted the equaliser.

Callum Hudson-Odoi: 7/10

Deployed as a right wing-back, Hudson-Odoi showcased his versatility with another impressive display. Did not shy away from his defensive responsibilities and kept a check on Moussa Djenepo smartly. Proved to be the most potent outlet in open play for Chelsea, playing three key passes. He also converted his spot-kick in the shootout.

Saul Niguez: 7/10

Saul, the Player to Watch in our preview, had been craving for a chance to prove himself. And while he did not quite go the distance with his performance against Southampton, the Spaniard was still among the better performers for Chelsea on Tuesday.

A bundle of energy, Saul posed a goal threat by popping up inside the box on several occasions. However, he was denied time and again by an inspired Forster. Still, a step in the right direction.

Mateo Kovacic: 6/10

A surprise starter, Kovacic was forced to play the entire game as Ruben Loftus-Cheek picked up a knock leading up to the fourth round tie. The Croat continued to be a creative outlet for Chelsea, although this time, he also lost the ball cheaply too many times (22 in all, to be precise). A rare blip, perhaps.

Marcos Alonso: 6/10

Another player recalled by Tuchel, Alonso had his chance to show that he could give Ben Chilwell a run for his money. However, the Spanish international ended up squandering his opportunity, failing to provide much of an outlet from the left flank while struggling against Walker-Peters at times. Did convert his penalty, though, which bumps up his rating slightly.

Hakim Ziyech: 5/10

Back in the starting lineup, Ziyech endured a forgettable outing on Tuesday. While he did provide the assist for the goal scored by Kai Havertz, the Moroccan playmaker struggled to influence the proceedings much otherwise and has to do more to become a regular again.

Ross Barkley: 5/10

Handed a rare starting berth, this was Barkley’s opportunity to make an impression on Tuchel. However, while the English midfielder showed energy and cannot be faulted for lack of effort, he did not show enough quality to make a difference. Only a handy option off the bench for now, for Chelsea.

Kai Havertz: 7/10

This was not the most convincing performance by Havertz by any means. However, he did show that he is growing in the centre-forward role, leading the line smartly while also having a couple of efforts well-saved by Forster. Did manage to beat the Southampton goalkeeper with a glancing header that planted into the bottom right corner. A goal that will do his confidence a world of good.

SUBSTITUTES

Mason Mount: 6/10

Coming into the game on the back of a stunning performance against Norwich City, Mount could not quite reach the levels of the game on the weekend. To make matters worse, he missed his spot-kick as well, although there was no harm done in the end.

Ben Chilwell: 7/10

On for Ziyech, Chilwell was strangely deployed as the right wing-back, with Alonso continuing on the left flank. However, with the English international brimming with confidence, he was quite comfortable in a largely unfamiliar role before slotting home his penalty with ease.

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