EFL Cup - Third Round
22/09/2021 7:45 pm
Referee: Graham Scott
|Werner (54)||Archer (64)|
Revenge against Chelsea for our unfair 3-0 drubbing the other week in the Premier League was with us tonight as we travelled to Stamford Bridge looking to progress through to the fourth round of the EFL Cup.
Both sides made massive changes ahead of kick off, as expected, but there were two good, solid, squads on display even if we had a more youthful and inexperienced feel with the likes of Cameron Archer in the starting XI and then Jaden Philogene-Bidace and the Chukwuemeka brothers on the bench. Few I think, would disagree with the line up.
It was a mixed first half really. The hosts understandably had far more possession in the opening 45 minutes but you would arguably say we created the better chances and looked far more of a threat offensively.
Archer in fact should’ve given us the lead with his early attempt – but composure will come as he develops and he had another chance, so it was a promising performance. Anwar El Ghazi also had a good effort he should’ve done better with, but at the other end Jed steer was only really tested once and he pulled off a good save from their one effort on goal.
Quite level in reality but we needed to step it up and be more clinical in the second half or it would be a repeat of the earlier encounter as our noses should’ve been in front – and what didn’t help us there was another injury for Morgan Sanson, as he limped off on 42 minutes having impressed plenty as well.
So, what did the second half have in store?
It was more mixed, but we had Jed The Stare to thank again and he pulled off another impressive stop early on and Chelsea knew they were still in a battle. Our problem remained the final ball.
And then we gave an incredibly soft goal away as they made it 1-0, and after Zebe’s error on the first, Hause almost allowed them to make it 2-0 minutes later. Had it not been for a wonder stop from Steer it would’ve been another second later – on the ropes and Chelsea trying to take full advantage.
And then like a bolt out of the blue, it was 1-1 as a fantastic ball from Matty Cash landed on Archer’s head and he absolutely rifled it into the top corner.
Game back on – who doubted it? (runs and hides)
The swung back, we were on top, multiple chances coming and we should’ve been two or three clear of them and Emi Buendia really had to be hitting the net with his effort with 19 odd on the clock. Our youngsters were putting in a fantastic effort at this point and Thomas Tickle was worried.
It was Lukaku time and rather bizarrely, another substitute, but I’m concerned at naming him for obvious mystical and superstitious reasons.
We rode our luck a bit then but Chelsea couldn’t find a breakthrough. Now it was about game management with only a couple of minutes left on the clock and we’ve clearly learnt following some naivety last season and we saw stoppage time out.
Ohh isn’t this exciting given a squad of international experience can’t beat a team with four players in it who have barely a handful of starts jointly to their names.
So penalties…gulp – well once the referee worked out how to toss a coin.
Lukaku scores, Southgate’s Love Child scores, lost his boots at Villa Park scores, Chilwell woodwork, James scores.
El Ghazi scores, Young woodwork, Nakamba saved, Konsa scores, Buendia scores.
Chelsea take the game and Reece James deserves credit for his penalty but the shootout in no way changes the overall performance. Villans again rue wasteful finishing rather than opposition class.
But it’s a process and our strong second string more than gave a group of internationals a run for their money and if Lady Luck was with us, we win that in normal time long before Mr Tickle calls on Lukaku.
Proud after that.
How can you be anything else?
The only other things to say.
So, it’s the FA Cup this year then.
And, not perfect, but a fantastic display given their experience and international caps and with better finishing again we are absolutely clear. Just one of those things as we take the next step to where we want to be.
A shootout is 20 yards with hand guns – a total lottery, changes nothing but think of the message it sends to our youngsters that they were on the pitch and to the others coming through that DS was ballsy/dumb/incompetent/naive/brave enough (allows for all camps then) to have such a weak bench given the names rested and just put his faith in them.
We lost, but that game does more for us than getting through when it comes to the future.