Jose Mourinho saw his team going through the quarterfinals of Capital One Cup, confirming a place in the semifinals of the tournament which offers Chelsea their first crack at silverware.
As usual, the ball was with the Blues for a major part of the game as they dominated a Derby County side who, although, looked better than the last time the two sides met. With Stoke City coming up on Monday, let us have a look at the things we learned from last night’s clash:
Chelsea playing with champions’ instinct
The difference between the best and the mediocre was nicely showcased by the West Londoners last night. Two goals from two half chances almost confirmed a place in the next round for the blues. The first was a result of amazing exchange of passes and dribbling from Eden Hazard, after the Derby captain, Keogh, lost possession to the Belgian. While, the second was a set-piece brilliance from the 29 year old left back, Filipe Luis, after a foul on Didier Drogba. Although Derby were able to keep their hopes alive with a Craig Bryson goal, Andre Schurrle sealed the deal with an 82nd minute strike as Jose’s men went marching on with a 3-1 victory.
Filipe Luis maybe the next set piece expert!
I admit that it has been enough of Filipe Luis from my side, but I just can’t stop myself from mentioning the name of the little Brazilian in every second article of mine. The 29-year-old left back has caught everyone’s eye with his impressive all-round performances. From defending to attacking, he has done it all under Mourinho and has now even proved his free-kick prowess, drawing comparisons to Everton’s prolific left-back, Leighton Baines. Last night, after Will Hughes brought down Didier Drogba just outside the penalty area, Luis stepped up to take the free-kick. The resulting shot was a brilliant curled effort from the Brazilian, something which reminded me of ex-Chelsea man David Luiz, and Lee Grant could do nothing to stop it as Chelsea went 2-0 ahead.
Eden Hazard is a world class dribbler
The Belgium international has made a name for himself when it comes to creativity and individual brilliance. It was no surprise to see him grab Chelsea’s first goal against Derby, which was largely a solo effort from the 24-year-old midfielder. Comparisons with the likes of Lionel Messi and Christiano Ronaldo are being drawn for quite a while now, and Hazard has been proving his worth in every game he has played. The footballing world maybe going crazy about the ‘next big things’- Gareth Bale, Neymar, Pogba and others (one of them being Eden Hazard obviously), but Chelsea have their own legend-in-the-making and he is sure to outshine them all in the near future.
Injuries to Zouma and Drogba might be a big problem
Nothing comes for free! And so was the case with the place in semi-final of the Capital One Cup being at stake. Peter Cech collided with Kurt Zouma while punching the ball from a Derby corner, which resulted in the big man falling awkwardly on the ground and was ultimately taken outside the ground on a stretcher. The injury appeared quite serious with Zouma’s mouth full of blood as he lay unconscious on the ground. Didier Drogba got himself an ankle injury as a result of which he subbed for Loic Remy to come on. The injuries to Drogba and Zouma mean that Chelsea might have to go into the festive season without any cover for the two key positions. Diego Costa and Gary Cahill will have to be at their best level of fitness, if these two men are not available.
Derby County are now a more improved and organized side
Steve McLaren wanted to make a statement this time around on how much his team has improved since they last faced Chelsea. The last fixture between these two sides was played back in January this year in the FA Cup, and Chelsea went on to win the game with a scoreline of 2-0. But this time, although the game again went in the favor of Blues, Derby ensured that they give Jose Mourinho and his team a run for their money. They gave Chelsea some scares when they won two corners in the final few minutes of the first half and played their impressive pressing game at times. Craig Bryson’s consolation goal and some half chances created by the overlapping runs of full backs on the flanks, went on to show the hard work they are putting in for promotion to Premier League.
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Edited By: Vikram Vadiganeni