Capital One Cup was back tonight, when Chelsea travelled to Shropshire, to line up against the League Two side Shrewsbury United in the fourth round of the competition.
Jose Mourinho, wary of the QPR fixture in the weekend, made 7 changes to the side that faced United on Sunday with Cech, Zouma, Mikel, Ake, Schurrle and Salah all starting the game while, Andreas Christensen made his first team debut in the blue shirt.
Here’s the initial reaction to the game:
- Chelsea started in their usual 4-2-3-1 formation and interestingly; it was Christensen, who started in the right-back spot, while Zouma partnered Cahill in the heart of our defence. It wasn’t a bad start from the home side, with Shrewsbury already forcing Petr Cech with couple of fine saves in the starting few minutes.
- The difference between the quality of the two sides was evident as the match wore on, as Chelsea looked to control the possession in the center of the pitch but unfortunately, struggled to create anything meaningful in the final third. Meanwhile after causing some early chaos on our side of the pitch, Shrewsbury looked to sit deep in their own half, soaking up the pressure and hitting us on the counter-attacks and set-pieces.
- After a promising start to the game, nothing spectacular happened in the first half an hour, as Blues with all their possessions and quality in the final third, still struggled to break down a stern and physical Shrewsbury defense in a very wet and slippery conditions. The only time we did trouble the opposition goalkeeper in the first-half was in the 43rd minute, when Drogba put one past the shot stopper but Alas! He was offside.
- The first half ended 0-0 with Blues incapable of creating anything worth even a half chance in the final third. The likes of Schurrle and Salah were guilty of some wild shootings and giving away balls at promising positions. While, the home side were content on defending in numbers and possibly taking the game as far as they can. Time for Mourinho to work his magic at half-time.
- The second half started with no changes from either manager, as Blues looked to get on the scoresheet. And sure enough we did it in 48th minute through Drogba! Some fine work from Schurrle in the right wing found Salah in the opposition box, who nicely flicked in the path of onrushing Drogba and the king of the Stamford Bridge did precisely what he does best; score the damn goal! Chelsea 1 Shrewsbury 0.
- It was surprising to see a 36-year-old Didier Drogba starting the game in the span of just two days, but even more amazing was to see him score a goal and defending all of our set-pieces with his superior physical play. The man literally gave his all tonight, showing why he is truly a legend of the club. So proud to have him at Chelsea!
- The goal allowed Chelsea to sit back and play the passing game in the center of the pitch and we did just that, looking to protect our lead instead of going for the kill. The move backfired as it did on Sunday with Mangan equalizing from a corner at the 77th minute and suddenly the score was 1-1. Mikel was unable to check his marker as Mangan lashed the ball home from close range.
- But the Sunday story wasn’t to be repeated again tonight, as Mourinho made couple of changes, introducing Willian and Matic in place of Salah and Mikel respectively, and the Samba man made an immediate impact for the Blues. We were infront minutes later when an inswinging cross from Willian was about to find Didier Drogba, but Jermaine Grandison stuck out his leg to divert the ball in off the far post making it Chelsea 2 Shrewsbury 1.
- There wasn’t a twist in the tail as Blues were able to hold on to their lead and reach the quarterfinal of the competition after a hard fought win over the League Two side.
Final time Chelsea 2 Shrewsbury 1.
Next stop QPR!!