Talking Points From Chelsea’s Win Over Tottenham Hotspur
Chelsea made it to the finals of the Emirates FA Cup after they defeated Tottenham Hotspur 4-2 at the Wembley Stadium on Saturday evening.
The Blues took an early lead through Willian, who was surprisingly picked ahead of Eden Hazard, from a free-kick in the 4th minute, but Harry Kane brought back Spurs on level terms with a headed effort. The Brazilian put Chelsea back in the driver’s seat from the penalty spot close to half-time only for Dele Alli to restore parity seven minutes into the second period with a superb finish.
Eden Hazard then came off the bench to inspire Antonio Conte’s men in the final stages, scoring from a well-struck 20-yard shot, before setting up Nemanja Matic who put the game to bed with a screamer of a strike.
Here are three talking points from the game:
Willian Justifies Selection
When Antonio Conte announced the starting line-up, it was a shock to see two of Chelsea’s best players this season – Diego Costa and Eden Hazard – not a part of the line-up. It was considered a huge gamble but the Italian boss in dropping the two stars, more so Hazard.
But his replacement Willian did not let Conte down and repaid the faith his boss kept in him. The Brazilian international scored the opener from a brilliantly executed free-kick minutes after the kick-off and then scored the second for his team with a clinical penalty close to the half-time whistle. He was a handful for the Tottenham defence to deal with, due to his pace and running.
He would be distraught to have been taken off on the hour mark, but he more than played his part in what was one of the biggest games of the season for the Blues.
Hazard Shows Why He Is The Best
When the manager chooses to drop his best player and arguably the best player in the country at the moment, it is bound to make waves.
Hazard has been truly exceptional throughout the course of the season and has been the driving force behind Chelsea’s excellent campaign. So when he was benched for a clash of this magnitude it was a shock. But when things were level at the hour mark, Conte decided to turn to him. And it did not take long for the Belgian international to stamp his class on the game. He put the Blues ahead with a fine strike through a crowded penalty area, before teeing up Matic for the fourth strike.
Hazard, once again, proved why he is so important to the side’s fortunes and while it can be understood that Conte kept the 26-year old on the bench, in view of the league game on Tuesday, in the end it was he who proved to be the difference.
What Impact Will The Game Have On The Title Race?
This game was largely seen as the prelude to the Premier League title race. Chelsea are at the top of the table, with a four-point lead over second-placed Tottenham.
Spurs though had been on a remarkable run of form coming into the semi-finals having won seven games on a trot, while Chelsea had lost twice in their last four games. But the nature of the loss will have had a bad effect on Pochettino’s team.
Despite dominating the game for large periods, Tottenham came second best thanks to Chelsea’s know-how of winning the game and capitalizing on the right moments. Conte would have been under severe pressure if the result had gone against his side, but with this win he has displayed once again why Chelsea remain the favourites to win the title.