Walsall vs Chelsea (1-4) – Initial Reaction And Analysis
Chelsea started their League Cup defense with a trip to Walsall, the minnows from the lower tier. However, Jose Mourinho was better prepared this time around after what happened with Bradford City in FA Cup in January.
Still, what we saw was 8 changes to the lineup that defeated Arsenal on the weekend with only Begovic, Ivanovic and Cahill retaining their place in the side. Meanwhile, Falcao got his first full start along with Kenedy in Blue.
Here’s how the game panned out for the Blues:
– Chelsea started the game in an unusual 4-4-2 formation as Loic Remy slotted alongside Radamel Falcao upfront.
Chelsea, meanwhile, started to put instant pressure on the home side as Robert Kenedy almost opened up the scoring for the Blues, only to be denied by a goal-line clearance! Good start from Kenedy and Loftus-Cheek! Perhaps an early goal on the cards?
– With all the pressure being mounted on the home side, Ramires, of all people, duly obliged with a headed goal to give us an early 1-0 lead in the 10th minute. It was that man again, Kenedy, whose inch-perfect pass found the Brazilian’s run in the box and fortunately, Ramires could head the ball into the opposition net instead of going for a shoot. We all know how that would have ended! Joke aside, good run from Ramires and a great goal to open the scoring!
– Walsall had a good little spell of Football after conceding the goal as the home side looked to mount some pressure on the visitors although, nothing major John Terry and co. couldn’t deal with. Ivanovic, however, suffered some problem on the Right side against the pace of Lalkovic.
– Radamel Falcao almost put us 2-0 up after a lovely breakaway that saw Ramires passing an exquisite through ball to Falcao whose shot was cleared off the line by O’ Connor for the second time in the game! Good defending by the home side. Unfortunate for Falcao!
– Walsall’s best chance to score arrived in the 26th minute when former Chelsea player Lalkovic skipped past Ivanovic on the right to get his shot away, only to miss the target by few inches.
– 36 minutes in and there was another goal line clearance from a Radamel Falcao shot that should have seen the back of the net. Oh, and Loic Remy fluffed up the rebound too! Fair to say, the curse of the No. 9 jersey continues!
– 40 minutes in and Falcao missed another opportunity to get on the scoresheet. Remy, however, was in a completely different mood as the Frenchman pounced onto a Ramires pass and finished his shot calmly behind the opposition goalkeeper to give us a 2 goal cushion in the 41st minute. Great finish from the Striker!
– Ivanovic looked so out of form that even Lalkovic managed to give him a hard time as the former Chelsea man won a free kick on the edge of the box. The resultant free kick was a bullet of a shot that was impressively saved by Begovic, but the rebound fell to O’Connor who calmly slotted it behind the Bosnian to make it 2-1 Walsall. Another day, another goal that’s down to the Serbian! By the way, a couple of goal line clearances and now a goal for O’ Connor. What a night for him!
The first half ended with a scoreline of 2-1 as the home side managed to pull one back in the extra time, thanks again to Ivanovic!
Robert Kenedy looked the most impressive of the Blues along with Ramires, who, after a very long time, looked a real threat from the middle! Defending still a concern, though, in the first half. Let’s find out how the second half panned out!
– The second half started with no changes from Jose Mourinho.
With the kind of performance Robert Kenedy showed in the first half, he definitely deserved a goal to his name and that goal duly arrived in the 53rd minute as the Brazilian latched onto a Loftus- Cheek through ball to score his first goal for Chelsea. The emotions, the celebrations said it all as to how much this goal meant to him.
Meanwhile, RLC and Kenedy combined well all night as both managed an assist each to their names. A sign for the things to come?
– 59 minutes in and Radamel Falcao made a mess of a free kick after slipping over the ball. Also a sign for the things to come? I certainly hope not!
An hour done and Blues were completely in control of the game, winning the ball in important positions and creating half chances to score more goals. Loic Remy looked to be a man on a mission for the Blues as the Frenchman did everything right to guarantee a spot up front in the absence of Costa.
– Mourinho made a double substitution in the 70th-minute mark as two of our best players of the night; Loftus-Cheek and Kenedy were replaced by Matic and Pedro respectively. Not to take anything away from an excellent Loic Remy and Ramires, but Kenedy was probably the Man Of The Match for the Blues as the Brazilian was excellent on the Left channel. Impressive stuff from the youngster.
– The home side searched ferociously for the third goal, but the Blues looked well-organized defensively. Meanwhile, Falcao missed another chance to get on the scoresheet in the 79th minute, as the Striker skied his shot from close range. Felt like Torres all over again, to be honest!
– Among some very good individual performances, what we missed was a brilliant performance from John Obi Mikel in the midfield, who, in the absence of Matic, looked equally good against the physicality and unpredictability of the minnows. Great stuff from the Nigerian!
– There was still some time for one more goal, though, as substitute Pedro put us 4-1 up in the 92nd minute after a great run in the opposition box. It was the second goal for the Spaniard in the Blue shirt as he continued his good form.
– The Saddlers continued to put pressure on us at the end, but there was no twist in the tale as the defending Champion emerged victorious against Walsall to continue their unbeaten streak to 3 games.
So, off we go to the next round of the Capital One Cup in style!
Next up is the Premier League challenge on the weekend.
Till then KTBFFH!
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