Friday, January 28, 2022

Chelsea 2-0 Tottenham: Key Talking Points As The Blues Get One Over On Former Boss Conte

Tom Dunstan in Editorial 6 Jan 2022

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In what was a real London derby on Wednesday night, Chelsea managed to gain an early advantage in their EFL Cup semi-final first-leg as they secured a 2-0 win against Tottenham at Stamford Bridge.

Completely dominating proceedings in the first-half as their former boss made his return to west London, Kai Havertz and a comical Ben Davies own goal have really put the defending European champions in the driving seat.

Liverpool and Arsenal play in the other semi-final with their games now on January 13th and 20th after the first-leg was rearranged because of Covid cases in Jurgen Klopp’s camp.

Overcoming what was a testing few days behind the scenes and bringing an end to their recent Stamford Bridge blip, we have taken a look at the main talking points from Wednesday’s showdown in the capital.

Chelsea get one over on their former boss

Managing to mount an eye-catching comeback at home against Liverpool last weekend as they eventually grabbed a 2-2 draw on home soil, Thomas Tuchel made it clear that he was calling on his side to build off of those positives.

While the Blues might have opened the New Year sat 10 points adrift in the Premier League title chase, the former PSG boss saw his star-studded squad put in a professional display at Stamford Bridge here.

With it taking Havertz just five minutes to open the scoring after Davinson Sanchez failed to clear off the line, it is hard to argue that Chelsea were not a more than deserving winner.

While Tuchel might have seen his side almost handed their 2-0 lead after some disastrous defending from Wednesday’s guests, the defending European champions also saw the likes of Timo Werner go close in the second-half.

Finishing the first-leg with 63% possession to their name, Tuchel would have simply been glad to have picked up a Stamford Bridge boost after having to settle for a single point in five of their previous six Premier League contests in west London.

Conte’s first domestic defeat at Spurs

While Tottenham might have managed to snatch a last-gasp 1-0 victory away at relegation scrappers Watford on New Year’s Day, Spurs couldn’t muster the same luck on Wednesday night.

With former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte making his Stamford Bridge return after a messy divorce with the Blues, the 52-year-old made his frustrations clear on what was a lethargic display from his squad.

Chasing the game after Havertz opened the scoring with just five minutes on the clock, Chelsea’s second goal just after the half-hour mark almost summed up Tottenham’s first-half performance.

With Japhet Tanganga once again at fault, the 22-year-old headed the ball into team-mate Davies’ shoulder and it flew into the net past a helpless Hugo Lloris.

Although Conte might have seen his side somewhat play their way back into Wednesday’s contest after a half-time tactical switch, Harry Kane and co failed to create much work for Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Although the England skipper might have forced the Spanish keeper into a save down low from a free-kick minutes after the break, Spurs will need to be much better in a week’s time in the second leg to have any chance of reaching Wembley.

All eyes on Lukaku

While Conte’s return to Stamford Bridge might have been a major subplot ahead of Wednesday’s derby showdown, there is no doubt that all eyes were on Romelu Lukaku and what part he would play.

Completely left out of Tuchel’s squad for their 2-2 draw against Liverpool in west London, the Belgian striker will know that he must regain the trust of Chelsea fans after his shock interview with Sky Italia was released last week.

Admitting that he was unhappy at the European champions and appearing to have been crying out for a return to Inter Milan, some would have been surprised to have seen Lukaku included from the start here.

With Tuchel vocal about the 28-year-old’s performance on Wednesday night, Lukaku did go close to finding the net on either side of the break in what was an enthusiastic display on home soil.

Publically apologising for his stunning interview, the one-time Manchester United ace will be hoping that his display in midweek will be the start of him rebuilding bridges with Chelsea fans.

Match Report:

Chelsea: Arrizabalaga, Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Sarr, Alonso, Saul, Jorginho, Ziyech, Mount, Havertz, Lukaku

Subs: Loftus-Cheek, Werner, Kovacic

Tottenham: Lloris, Tanganga, Sanchez, Davies, Emerson Royal, Skipp, Højbjerg, Doherty, Moura, Kane, Son Heung-Min

Subs: Gil, Ndombele, Lo Celso, Winks

Goals: Havertz 5′, Davies OG 34′

Yellow Cards: Sarr

Red Cards: N/A

Referee: Craig Pawson

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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