Chelsea reach the quarter-finals of the League Cup after winning their third penalty shoot-out of the season.
Written by Ryan Bellenie.
Chelsea’s hectic schedule continued on Tuesday as the Blues faced fellow Premier League side Southampton in the Carabao Cup.
After previously overcoming Aston Villa in the previous round, Thomas Tuchel’s side had their sights set on reaching the quarter-finals in a competition that they haven’t won in nearly seven years.
Ralph Hasenhüttl’s Saints fell short at Stamford Bridge earlier this month in a 3-1 defeat. With revenge in their sights, the visitors looked to upset the odds and reignite their engine after a slow start to the season.
Kepa Arrizabalaga returned in goal, whilst Malang Sarr, Ross Barkley, Saúl, Marcos Alonso and Hakim Ziyech were all handed starts.
Looking to start the game where they left off against Norwich, with the Blues testing Fraser Forster three times within the opening six minutes.
The highlight of the three was Forster’s save to deny Saúl’s header, with the 6’7 goalkeeper at full-stretch to deny the Spaniard his first Chelsea goal.
There were later chances for Kai Havertz who was denied twice by the 33-year-old goalkeeper, with the latter of the two a superb stop at the near post.
Despite the attempts on goal the hosts struggled to carve out any real chances in throughout the majority of the first half. Similarly, the same could be said for Southampton, who didn’t see the first shot on target until the 32nd minute.
Although Armstrong’s deflected effort on goal briefly put a spring in the visitors’ step, Chelsea eventually found the opener on the cusp of half-time.
A determined Kai Havertz rose to direct Hakim Ziyech’s corner beyond Forster, with the German converting his third goal of the season.
The goal brought the first half to a close, with the Blues bringing a one-goal lead into the break.
Chelsea would have been delighted to snatch a quick goal before Kevin Friend blew his whistle for half-time. However, their lead for short lived as the Saints equalised just two minutes into the second half.
Defender Kyle Walker-Peters saw his attempt saved by Kepa Arrizabalaga, who could only deflect the effort as far as Ché Adams who converted into an empty net.
The Blues were back to square one and suddenly needed to adjust in order to find another goal.
Southampton’s equaliser resulted in a flurry of shots from Tuchel’s side, who continued to struggle to create and convert.
Notably, there was a brilliant chance for Saúl on the 73rd minute, who had the ball set up perfectly for a first-time strike from 20 yards. The Spaniard however placed his shot wide, with the game remaining level-pegging going into the final 15 minutes.
A minute or so later, Saúl had another crack – this time from slightly further out. The shot was struck superbly and forced a top drawer save from Fraser Forster.
In the dying stages of the game, there were opportunities for both teams to seal the deal with Lyanco, Mohammed Salisu and Malang Sarr all having attempts dramatically saved by both of goalkeepers.
However, the two teams couldn’t be separated in 90 minutes – forcing an all-important penalty shoot-out.
- SOUTHAMPTON. Armstrong (Goal.). 0-1.
- CHELSEA. Alonso (Goal). 1-1.
- SOUTHAMPTON. Walcott (Saved). 1-1.
- CHELSEA. Mount (Saved). 1-1.
- SOUTHAMPTON. Long (Goal). 1-2.
- CHELSEA. Hudson-Odoi (Goal). 2-2.
- SOUTHAMPTON. Smallbone (Miss). 2-2.
- CHELSEA. Chilwell (Goal). 3-2.
- SOUTHAMPTON. Romeu (Goal). 3-3.
- CHELSEA. James (Goal). 4-3.
After the whistle:
In what perhaps wasn’t the best of performances, Chelsea have won yet another penalty shoot-out to confirm their place in the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup.
There were plenty of positives to take from the gam as Thomas Tuchel rested a huge amount of first-team players whilst testing the true depths of his squad.
The Blues will look to continue their winning streak on Saturday, as they make the lengthy trip north to take on Newcastle at St. James’ Park.
Although Ralph Hasenhüttl and Southampton will be gutted to crash out of the competition in such cruel circumstances, they will look to build on their performance as they hunt for a second Premier League victory of the season against Watford on Saturday.
Chelsea 1-1 Southampton (4-3 pens).
- Havertz (44’).
- Adams (47’).
BBC Sports Player of the match:
Kai Havertz (Chelsea).
Chelsea (3-4-2-1): Arrizabalaga; James, Chalobah, Sarr; Hudson-Odoi, Kovačić, Saúl, Alonso ©; Ziyech (67’), Barkley (67’); Havertz.
- Subs: Mount (67’), Chilwell (67’).
Southampton (3-4-3): Forster; Valary, Lyanco, Salisu; Walker-Peters, Diallo (77’), Armstrong © (77’), Djenepo (83’); Tella (67’), Adams (66’), Armstrong.
- Subs: Long (66’), Walcott (67’), Romeu (77’), Smallbone (77’), Livramento (83’).
Chelsea (63%) vs Southampton (37%).
Chelsea (23) vs Southampton (15).
Shots on target:
Chelsea (14) vs Southampton (7).
Chelsea (10) vs Southampton (9).
Chelsea (14) vs Southampton (18).
- (credit | BBC Sport).
- (credit | Chelsea Football Club).