Date of publication: Thursday, January 24, 2019 10:30.
The Carabao Cup is like a stray dog that appears in the middle of a wedding: it's weird, nobody can explain why it's there, it's an unwanted distraction from what you'd ideally like to pay attention to, but it's a huge amount of fun always and when nobody is mistreated.
At a time when soccer is so often treated with insulting or outrageously irritating bombings, there is much to be said about a low-stakes competition that nobody could take too seriously. Chelsea and Tottenham gave a charming reminder that when the sport is not taken too seriously, it begins to look more like a game. And the games are fun!
A game is also exactly what Chelsea needed. George Costanza would have been proud of how completely different Chelsea's first half was His horrible early performance against Arsenal. In the Emirates, they did not seem to be half asleep but completely comatose. Maurizio Sarri had talked about the difficulty of motivating this side, but they would hardly have needed to tell how terrible they had been the last time.
Here, they shone and crackled and kept Tottenham secluded in his own half, with Eden Hazard, returning to the wing with Olivier Giroud as Gonzalo Higuain's handsome substitute, especially in electric form.
At the time the break began, Chelsea shot up ahead in the draw and headed for the final: N & # 39; Golo Kante scored a double detour goal that amounted to an equalizer, and the second came from a quick move and intelligent initiated by Ross Barkley, but received an impulse, that took the ball forward before it was extended before Cesar Azpilicueta and it was sent to the box to apply a brilliant final touch.
That goal typified the first half: the Spurs literally could not keep up with Chelsea, committing more fouls (nine) in the first 45 minutes than in the previous 90 against Manchester United earlier this month.
No goals away from home nor additional time, however, a total of 135 minutes of football were canceled five minutes after the break, when Fernando Llorente found the net, on the far right, no less, a crossing of Danny Rose. That resulted in an entertaining final 40 minutes from end to end, with an extreme feeling of winning the next goal, as if a dinner lady could roam the field at any time to ruin the fun by calling at the time of action .
Hazard and Christian Eriksen were the respective most talented boys, with Hazard firing narrowly from a good position and Eriksen placing a lovely cross from the right that Llorente tried with great ambition to take as a volley; It was removed in favor of Lucas Moura a few minutes later.
The League Cup exclusive "great if we won it, I never imagined it anyway if we did not do it" meant there was nothing of the advantage and temptation that would otherwise be expected from a cup semifinal, especially when almost the second half was played. Without either side having anything to prove. Chelsea had responded flatly to the embarrbadment of her previous departure, while Tottenham had good reason to feel that they had done enough to get away from the "Spursy" label, which often feels so old-fashioned, not the least that it comes directly over the heels of having three points that they really had no right to take against Fulham.
We are sure that the tedious accusation will persist after the team of Mauricio Pochettino lost in the shooting, with Eric Dier and Lucas Moura who failed to score the decisive kicks to put a familiar look on their manager's face, a feeling that they have not been helped by having had more players (this time Ben Davies and Moussa Sissoko) with injuries. But nobody will remember this in a couple of months, especially if a win on Sunday's trip to Crystal Palace turns out to be the next step in another national cup race.
Chelsea, meanwhile, now has the reward of a trip to Wembley to face Manchester City next month. Get that stray dog a top hat.
Steven Chicken is on Twitter