Chelsea won 2-0 in the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final against Tottenham Hotspur due to a strong performance in the London derby. The Blues fielded a much-changed line-up from the one that beat Liverpool at the weekend, with Romelu Lukaku returning after being benched following his fiery interview.
Although Tottenham’s front three of Son Heung-Min, Harry Kane, and Lucas Moura stole the show squad sheet, Kepa Arrizabalaga, Malang Sarr, and Saul Niguez were all given starts.
Kai Havertz’s close-range drive was deflected into the net by a touch from Davinson Sanchez, giving Chelsea an early lead. Marcos Alonso ran forwards to win the ball back for the Blues in a dangerous location, and the German forwards made a brilliant run into the box to be on the end of a pass from him.
Tottenham’s lack of commitment was quickly punished as Chelsea extended their advantage in fortunate circumstances. Ben Davies could not move out of the way as Japhet Tanganga attempted to clear a ball heading goalwards, and Hakim Ziyech’s free-kick from the right flank ended up in the back of the net in what was ruled an own-goal.
Despite the lack of goals in the second half, Chelsea hung on for a vital win and appeared to be on track to reach the Carabao Cup final. The Blues will travel across London to face Tottenham in the second leg next week, but their two-goal lead will give them the confidence to play confidently away from home.
The other semi-final between Liverpool and Arsenal has been postponed due to a Covid-19 outbreak in the Reds’ camp and will now be played on January 21st.