Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea overcame a lackluster Tottenham Hotspur in the first leg of their EFL Cup semi-final at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night.
The Blues were expecting a hard-fought London derby and gave it their best shot right off the gate. Spurs, on the other hand, were not on the same page and allowed their crosstown rivals to run them ragged.
Just five minutes into the match, Kai Havertz opened the scoring for the Blues, thanks to Tottenham’s sub-par defending down the left-flank. Despite conceding the early goal, Spurs failed to get a foothold into the game and continued giving possession away.
In the 34th minute, the visitors conceded their second, this time through an own goal. Japhet Tanganga’s miscued clearance rifled off Ben Davies and went straight past Tottenham stopper Hugo Lloris to double Chelsea’s advantage.
The Lilywhites gathered themselves in the second half and started stringing meaningful passes together. Unfortunately for the away fans, their second-half efforts were not enough to overshadow the first-half blunders.
The match ended 2-0 in favor of the reigning European champions, leaving Antonio Conte’s side with a mountain to climb in the second leg.
Here are the five Chelsea players who impressed us in their straightforward 2-0 win over Tottenham on Wednesday:
#5 Malang Sarr
Filling in for the great Thiago Silva, Malanga Sarr put in a reassuring performance for Chelsea on Wednesday.
He was calm and collected on the ball, combined well with Antonio Rudiger, and read the game superbly to sniff out danger.
The former Nice defender, who was responsible for keeping a close eye on Tottenham skipper Harry Kane, passed the test with flying colors. He did get cautioned for an elbow on Kane in the second half.
However, considering he was playing in the biggest match of his career, we cannot blame the 22-year-old too much for getting a bit carried away.
#4 Kai Havertz
Kai Havertz was impressive in the first half, keeping the Tottenham defenders guessing with his impressive movement and footwork. In the fifth minute, he picked up the ball from Marcos Alonso and drilled it home to open the scoring for the Blues.
He had a golden opportunity to double his tally seven minutes later, but failed to beat Lloris on that occasion.
Having injured his hand in the aftermath of his goal, Havertz was taken off at half-time in favor of Timo Werner by Tuchel.