It was a night of fourth round of Capital One Cup clash when Jose Mourinho’s high-flying Chelsea, just one short of booking a semi-final birth in the quest of first silverware this season, travelled to Derbyshire to line-up against the Championship side Derby County.
Jose Mourinho made as many as 5 changes to the squad that beat Hull City on the weekend with Azpilicueta, Zouma, Fabregas, Schurrle and Drogba all coming in to the starting eleven.
Let’s get on with the initial reaction to see how the game panned out:
– The Blues started the game on top, dominating large amount of possession in the starting few minutes. Cesc Fabregas, as expected slotted in the CAM role as Mikel partnered Matic in the Central Midfield. Derby County, on the other hand, looked to sit deep and defend in numbers while they tried to hit us on the counter.
– Chelsea suffered a bit of a scare in the 14th minute when Nemanja Matic went to the ground after a challenge on the Serbian. Fans and the manager certainly had their heart in the mouth but thankfully the midfielder was back on the field. Derby, meanwhile, looked impressive with their pressing game in their own box and used the width to good effect with the fullbacks overlapping on quite a few occasions to put in crosses in the box, albeit bad ones. Talk about raising your game against big oppositions though!
– Eden Hazard on his quest to greatness drew first blood for the Blues in the 23rd minute. Captain Keogh, under pressure from Hazard, gave the ball away to the Belgian in a dangerous area and amidst the mess, the ball fell to a certain Spaniard assist master. Fabregas, in turn, did what he does best, provide a through ball to the Belgian around 25 yards off the goal, and Hazard made no mistake rounding off two defenders like school kids to put it past Lee Grant. Chelsea 1-0 Derby County.
– Chelsea completely dominated the fixture in the first half after scoring the first goal. Whatever half opportunities Derby managed were created on the wings with frequent overlapping of the fullbacks on our right flanks. The home side managed to put a bit of pressure on Chelsea in the final few minutes by winning couple of corners which also resulted in a serious injury to Kurt Zouma.
Petr Cech, while claiming a corner punched the ball hard and unfortunately clatters to Kurt Zouma in the process, which resulted in the big man knocked out cold on the ground. The Frenchman was taken off the ground on a stretcher and replaced with Ivanovic who slotted in alongside Terry in defense. All we can hope is that the injury isn’t very serious.
– The extended first half ended with Blues leading the fixture 1-0. It was all too comfortable and straight forward for Chelsea in the first half as we never looked out of sorts. If we could grab a second goal in the early stages of the second half, it’s game over Derby! Kurt Zouma’s injury was the talking point of the first half as the defender looked in lot of pain before stretched off. The injury looked quite serious on TV, and all we can hope right now to him is a speedy recovery.
– The second half started with no changes from Jose Mourinho as Chelsea looked to get all important second goal and wrap up the proceedings in the Ipro Stadium. Although, it was Derby midfielder Will Hughes with the best chance to level the game as Johnny Russel put in a brilliant cross for Hughes from our left side of the pitch, but the English midfielder was unable to put it past Cech. Early scare for Chelsea.
– Andre Schurrle could have made it 2-0 soon after, but the winger was a bit selfish to take the shot when he had Drogba and Fabregas wide open in the penalty area. Filipe Luis did make it 2-0 in the 56th minute to put this game to bed with a brilliant free kick, reminiscent of David Luiz. Didier Drogba went down a bit easily after a challenge from Will Hughes outside the box. The resulting free kick from the fullback was a brilliant curling effort and Lee Grant could do nothing to stop it from getting inside the net. Chelsea 2-0 Derby.
– Didier Drogba was another player to be subbed off for Loic Remy due to an ankle injury after the veteran slipped and twisted his ankle. We knocked the ball around and slowed the pace off the game and as a consequence were put under a bit of pressure from Derby which resulted in the first Derby goal. Branislav Ivanovic with a bad clearance gave the ball away at a dangerous position. Craig Bryson fed the ball to Russel on the right before receiving it back in the penalty box and his resulting shot saw the back of the net beyond Cech pulling one back for the home side. Chelsea 2-1 Derby County.
– Jake Buxton managed himself to get sendoff in the 79th minute for man-handling Loic Remy just outside the box reducing the home side to 10 men. It was certainly a foul by Buxton as he held Remy by arms, but a straight red was a bit harsh from the referee as Remy didn’t look to be getting to the ball either.
– Schurrle, meanwhile, put this game past the Rams by scoring the third Chelsea goal in the 82nd minute. Fabregas slid a pass to Remy in the right side whose initial shot was brilliantly saved by Lee Grant, but the rebound fell invitingly to Schurrle who made no mistake to put it beyond the goalkeeper.
– Having a numerical advantage meant the last few minutes were dealt with quite easily by the Blues as the game ended in a 3-1 win for Chelsea. So, we book our place in the Capital One Cup semi-final in the quest of our first silverware in two seasons.
Next stop, Stoke City. Till then, KTBFFH!
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Edited By: Ankur Bhatt