Let me start with saying how enjoyable Sunday was. There’s no love lost between me and Tottenham Hotspur, so to see us completely dominate them (again) put a smile on my face.
Tonight’s opponents were Aston Villa, who caused us serious issues 11 days ago in the Premier League. Despite the 3-0 score line, the visitors were always in the game, and probably didn’t deserve to lose so heavily.
Both teams decided to field completely different XI’s to the weekend and indeed the previous meeting between the sides.
The first half was relatively dull shall we say, however Villa youngster Cameron Archer blasted a great chance over the bar, and had another 1-on-1 attempt saved well by Kepa.
Thankfully the second half was more exciting. The introduction of Mason Mount just seemed to give Chelsea that boost they needed. The first 10 minutes simply blew Aston Villa away. Finally after 54 minutes The Blues got the breakthrough goal. A lovely weighted ball from Reece James saw Timo Werner release his inner Romelu Lukaku and leap higher than the defenders to make it 1-0.
Unlike the first half, it was all Chelsea. However just like the first half, Cameron Archer was a threat. The 20 year old levelled the game with an inch perfect header after a delicious ball in from Matty Cash.
After the Villa equaliser, Chelsea once again dominated the possession, but the visitors continued to look dangerous.
Romelu Lukaku came on for Chelsea to try and settle the game in 90 minutes, however resolute defending from Villa saw the game go to penalties.
The experience of Chelsea was needed for the penalties, and the sheer grittiness of the European Champions saw them through. Perfect penalties up until Ben Chilwell, who struck the bar, however Kepa Arrizabalaga made probably the game winning save, and Reece James certainly with the game winning penalty seeing Chelsea through to the next round.
Kepa – 8/10 – Didn’t really have much to do at all during large chunks of the game, however was called into action a few times by the dangerous Archer. Made a few great saves. No chance with the goal. Excellent during the penalties.
Malang Sarr – 6/10 – Never really looked comfortable at all, and is seemingly out of his depth currently.
Trevoh Chalobah – 8/10 – What a fantastic footballer this boy is. Another terrific performance. Just always looks comfortable when having to defend, and isn’t afraid to join in with an attack. Brilliant game from the youngster.
Reece James – 7/10 – A rare runout at centre back for Reece James, and he done the job pretty well. Perfect ball in for Timo Werner’s opener.
Callum Hudson-Odoi – 6/10 – Rarely put a foot wrong, however just seemed to lack an end product this evening.
Ben Chilwell – 6/10 – Took the Englishman 45 minutes to get back into the swing of things after only playing 6 minutes this season, however was much improved in the second half.
N’golo Kante – 6/10 – Had an okay first half before being substituted at half time. With Saul and Loftus-Cheek sitting infront of the defence, Kante saw more action further forward but failed to really make an impact.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek – 8/10 – If you’ve read some of my articles before, you’ll know I really like RLC. Once again today he just performed like a Rolls Royce. He seems to glide round the pitch effortlessly, and it’s nice to see him back in blue.
Saul Niguez – 7/10 – After his tough introduction to English football 11 days ago, Saul seemed much more at home this evening. Didn’t do much wrong at all, if anything.
Hakim Ziyech – 5/10 – When Hakim Ziyech joined Chelsea, all I could think of was his performance for Ajax which blew Chelsea away. Since then, he’s not reached anywhere near that level, and tonight was one of his worst performances. The game just seems to pass the Moroccan by, and seems to struggle slightly with the pace in England.
Timo Werner – 8/10 – Looked lively all night, and even when things don’t work out for the German, he gives 110%. Ran the channels excellently, and took his goal extremely well.
Mason Mount – 8/10 – As usual, it was the young Englishman that changed the game for Chelsea. Mount just appears all over the park, and brings the magic needed to unlock defences. Second half captain, and deservedly so.
Romelu Lukaku – 7/10 – Only had 15 minutes of action, however instantly became a focal point for everything Chelsea done attacking wise. Done his job well for the 15 minutes he was on.
Ross Barkley – 6/10 – Like Lukaku, Ross Barkley only had 15 minutes on the pitch, but again didn’t put a foot wrong. Had no real time to make an impact however.
It wasn’t pretty. But job done, and onto the next round for Chelsea!
Thankfully it’s gets easier for The Blues… just the Champions Manchester City this coming Saturday at 12.45pm.
Up The Chels!