Rotated Chelsea wobble past fiery Everton
Chelsea faced Premier League rivals Everton on the fourth round of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday evening at Stamford Bridge. The Blues were victorious in the first meeting between the two sides this season, and the second meeting was no different. Goals from Antonio Rudiger and Willian sealed the hosts a deserved 2-1 win and a ticket to the fifth round of the tournament.
Antonio Conte fielded a very rotated side for the match that was played only four days after the last Premier League game against Watford. Youngsters Charly Musonda, Kenedy and Ethan Ampadu all made the starting line-up, with Danny Drinkwater also returning from his calf injury to finally make his debut in Blue.
Chelsea started the game with good tempo. Michy Batshuayi looked very confident after his brace against Watford last time out, and Ampadu seemed like he had been playing for the first-team for several years now. Davide Zappacosta was unstoppable on the right hand side, but it was Antonio Rudiger, however, who opened the scoring at Stamford Bridge with his first ever goal for Chelsea.
Kenedy earned the Blues a corner after 25 minutes of play, which was quickly taken short for Musonda. The Belgian played a lovely cross to the back post, where Rudiger managed to nod the ball over Jordan Pickford and to the back of the net with a superb jumping header.
Everton failed to hit the target for a single time during the first-half, and Chelsea saw out the first half comfortably in a 1-0 lead.
No changes were made at half-time, and the play resumed with Chelsea enjoying the better of possession.
Everton got back into the play after Wayne Rooney finally hit the target from close-range, only to be denied by a brilliant stop from Willy Caballero. Aaron Lennon and Kevin Mirallas also got close to an equalizer, but the Argentine seemed to be in the form of his life.
It was all Everton for a moment, but Chelsea were almost gifted a second goal at the 77th minute. A poor back-pass was received by Batshuayi on the run, but despite the Belgian already getting past the keeper, Phil Jagielka was quick enough to save the day for the visitors.
Chelsea calmed down the situation for only a moment before Everton came close again. Ademola Lookman took Kenedy to a hot-dog on the edge of the area before firing a superb shot on goal, which beat Caballero but fortunately not the woodwork.
Conte’s substitutions took some pressure off the Blues, and the hosts doubled the scores on the first additional minute. Willian and Cesc Fabregas worked out a brilliant corner tactic which was fantastically turned into a goal by the Brazilian. His first of the season!
Chelsea’s careless defending led to a late consolation goal for Everton, with Calvert-Lewin knocking away Caballero’s hopes of his first clean-sheet. The time was up though, and the visitors had to settle for a loss.
The Blues proceed to the fifth round of the League Cup with a solid victory at Stamford Bridge. The draw for the upcoming fixtures will be made tomorrow.
Chelsea XI: Caballero, Rudiger, Christensen, Cahill, Zappacosta, Drinkwater (off 62′), Ampadou, Kenedy, Musonda (off 70′), Willian, Batshuayi.
Subs: Eduardo, Sterling, Clarke-Salter, Fabregas (on 62′), Scott, Morata, Pedro (on 70′).
Everton XI: Pickford; Kenny, Williams, Jagielka, Baines; Baningime, Davies, McCarthy (off 64′); Lennon (off 73′), Mirallas, Rooney (off 81′).
Subs: Robles, Holgate, Keane, Calvert-Lewin (on 64′), Sigurdsson, Lookman (on 73′), Niasse (on 81′).
Goals: Rudiger (26′), Willian (90′); Calvert-Lewin (90’+4)
Yellow cards: Rudiger (66′); Williams (28′), Davies (50′), McCarthy (52′), Jagielka (61′).