Chelsea booked their place in Wembley with a victory against Liverpool at Stamford Bridge in the second leg of the semi-final of the Capital One Cup. The match remained goalless for the whole 90 minutes. Then as the match entered extra time, Branislav Ivanovic scored with a header from Willian’s free kick. With Liverpool failing to respond in the remaining time, Chelsea made it through to the Capital One Cup final. Let us see what we learnt from the match.
Hazard is the leading light
Once again, Eden Hazard showed last night that he is the one of the best wingers in the world, and certainly the best in English football. Dribbling, riding tackles and showing energy all throughout the match. When things weren’t quite happening for Chelsea, Hazard took the responsibility on himself and charged at defenders, causing problems for Can and Skrtel. It always seemed that if an opening were to come for Chelsea, it would come from Hazard.
Courtois comes to the rescue
Much like in the first leg, Thibaut Courtois made match rescuing saves. With 30 minutes gone, Courtois made two fine saves in a space of 3 minutes. Firstly from Alberto Moreno, and then from Philippe Coutinho. His quick reactions kept the match goalless in the first half. Earlier in the season, Courtois did not have many chances to show his tremendous reflexes, but in the two matches against Liverpool, Courtois lived up to his reputation. He has totally justified his selection in the regular starting line-up ahead of Petr Cech.
Diego Costa needs to cool down
Costa always had the reputation of being very aggressive and feisty. Going overboard with tackles, or elbowing a defender while trying to win a header. But last night, Costa allegedly stamped on Emre Can first, an incident that fortunately for Chelsea, went unpunished. Michael Oliver failed to award a clear penalty when Costa was tripped by Skrtel. And may be in a feeling of vengeance, Costa stamped on Slovak defender, which again went unpunished. Later, another fight ensued between Costa and Gerrard, where both players were booked. Costa has to understand that if he can not hold back, he will be on the receiving end of cards and bans. This may see him miss out on important matches and cost his team a lot of points.
Ivanovic scores important goals
This is not the first time Ivanovic has scored a crucial goal for Chelsea. The strong Serbian has done it many times right from when he was a young defender. Be it the two vital goals at Anfield in Champions League in 2009, the winner against Napoli at Stamford Bridge, or the winner in the Europa League final, Ivanovic has always conjured up a goal when required. Last night too, Ivanovic scored the winner, when the match was seemingly heading towards a goalless draw. The right-back’s goal came from a rising header from Willian’s free kick and booked Chelsea’s first appearance in a final since the Europa League two years back.
Chelsea need a fast defender
The two matches against Liverpool may not have caused any significant damage to Chelsea’s league cup hopes, but it was largely down to Courtois’s magnificent form that Chelsea did not concede last night. Chelsea’s defence was easily overrun by Liverpool’s fast and pacey wingers in both legs. Coutinho, Markovic, Sterling and Gerrard created chances one too many, and Zouma and Terry did not look comfortable dealing with them. Jose Mourinho will surely have looked at the situation and will probably look to enter the market for a central defender.
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Edited By: Ankur Bhatt