Chelsea was knocked out of the Carabao Cup after suffering a bitter defeat to London rival Spurs, but how did the players perform?
After getting the better of his former manager twice last season, Frank Lampard was hoping to secure a fourth consecutive victory against Jose Mourinho in the Carabao Cup. However, as most Chelsea fans will know already, Mourinho never goes down without a fight. He set his team up to defend deep until reinforcements were brought on later to help change the game. It was the sort of game where Chelsea needed a fully fit Christian Pulisic or Hakim Ziyech to take responsibility and break down the opponent’s low block.
For all of Tottenham’s good defending, Chelsea still managed to get into dangerous positions and really should have won the game comfortably. The Blues will be kicking themselves for not taking their chances, a continuing theme from last season. The game should never have gone to penalties in the first place, and once it did, there was very little the coaching staff could control. That being said, there are many questions that can be asked of many players—as well as of Lampard’s tactics. Let’s analyze each player’s performance:
Edouard Mendy (Goalkeeper): 7.5
Watching debutant Edouard Mendy’s performance over 90 minutes was very encouraging, especially for a Chelsea fan who has spent the last 12 months watching Kepa Arrizabalaga in goal. He seemed extremely determined to prove himself in this fixture, making several good saves and even attempted to claim crosses! Mind blowing, that.
Having just arrived at Chelsea, Mendy would not have had too much time to study the Tottenham players’ penalties. This worked against him during the penalty shootout as he failed to dive on the correct side for any penalty.
Cesar Azpilicueta (Right back): 7
Given the nod ahead of a rested Reece James, Cesar Azpilicueta was consistent for the most part. The Chelsea captain got the better of his Spanish compatriot, Sergio Reguilon, to provide the assist for Timo Werner’s first Chelsea goal. It is definitely an assist he will be proud of. In defence, Azpilicueta made four clearances and won four out of six duels. However, at 31, the veteran did not have the pace to match the youthful Reguilon, who got the better of him several times down Chelsea’s right side in the second half.
Fikayo Tomori (Centreback): 6.5
Just as few weeks ago, Fikayo Tomori was left out of the squad to face Brighton and was rumoured to be loaned out soon. Since then, he has been given a chance to prove himself and boy has he taken it. Tomori was solid today, making three tackles, three clearances and winning four out of six duels. His was also extremely intelligent with his positioning, as he continuously swept up the danger left in behind by Azpilicueta and exploited by Reguilon.
If there is one thing Tomori desperately needs to improve on, it is his passing—specifically his ability to switch the play to the other side. He completed just two out of eight attempted long balls, which is extremely poor in a game where Chelsea dominated possession. Tomori also missed a golden chance from a Ben Chilwell free kick around the hour mark; just one of many that Chelsea squandered.
Kurt Zouma (Centreback): 7.5
Kurt Zouma and Tomori form a very good centreback partnership. The communication between the two was immaculate, both covering up for one another. Zouma did not fare well once Harry Kane came on, losing all contested duels to him, and even missing a header which could have prevented the equalizer. However, he did make two definite goal saving tackles in the first half as well as nine clearances, for which he deserves immense praise.
Ben Chilwell (Left back): 7
An impressive first start for the £50 million signing. Having just recovered from a heel injury suffered while still at Leicester City, Ben Chilwell was only fit enough to play an hour of football. Therefore for those wondering, he was taken off as a precaution. His crossing from open play and set pieces down the left side is something Chelsea fans can look forward to. For the hour that he was on the pitch, it felt like the Blues finally had a left back they could rely on, that was, until he was replaced by Emerson Palmieri.
Emerson Palmieri (Left back): 4
After Lampard’s falling out with Marco Alonso, Palmieri was picked to take his place on the bench. He was adventurous on the ball, but it is off the ball where the Italian failed his club. The left back was guilty of carelessly losing his man—Erik Lamela—for Tottenham’s equalizer. At this point, Azpilicueta is Chelsea’s second best left back. Very calm penalty though.