Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea secured a crucial victory over Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup
Chelsea are through to the next round of the Carabao Cup after beating Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge on Thursday night. The Blues won in a penalty shootout after Kepa Arrizabalaga saved a crucial spot-kick.
Thomas Tuchel made 10 changes to the Chelsea side that defeated Tottenham Hotspur over the weekend, with only Kepa remaining in the side. Malang Sarr was handed his Chelsea debut, while Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Ben Chilwell and Timo Werner started the cup clash.
Chelsea and Aston Villa could not break down each other’s defence in the first half, but things changed quickly when the second half began. Timo Werner scored early after the break to hand the home side the lead. However, a stunning header from Cameron Archer helped Aston Villa take the tie into the penalty shootout.
Thomas Tuchel saw all his players except Ben Chilwell convert their penalties. Ashley Young had his penalty come off the crossbar, while Kepa’s marvellous save kept out Marvelous Nakamba’s penalty.
Chelsea will now face Southampton at home in the next round but before that, let’s take a look at the five Chelsea players who impressed last night.
5 Chelsea players who impressed against Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup
#5 – Mason Mount
Chelsea star came on at halftime during the Aston Villa game
Mason Mount was taken off in the Spurs game at halftime as he was nowhere near his usual level. The Englishman came on at halftime during the Aston Villa game and showed what he is capable of.
At the break, the youngster took the armband from N’Golo Kante and showed his qualities in the second half. Chelsea were better in attack after Mount’s introduction, and they kept control of the game throughout the final 45 minutes.
Thomas Tuchel will have a tough time constructing his team for the upcoming games, as leaving out Mount would be a big decision.
#4 – Trevoh Chalobah
Chelsea’s Trevor Chalobah was the sole reason Aston Villa did not score in the first half
Malang Sarr and Ben Chilwell were having a tough time last night as they were starting a game for the first time this season. Both players seemed nervous and committed a few mistakes against Aston Villa.
Trevor Chalobah took charge in defence and was the sole reason Aston Villa did not score in the first half. The youngster looked composed and in control in the backline and ensured that everyone was in sync.
The centre-back was playing in a back four for the first time in his Chelsea career. However, he showed Thomas Tuchel that he has what it takes to play regularly for the first team.
#3 – Timo Werner
Timo Werner gave Chelsea the lead in the second half
Chelsea star Timo Werner has been low on confidence lately and desperately needed a boost. The Aston Villa game was the perfect opportunity for the striker to score a goal, and he did exactly that.
The former RB Leipzig star broke the deadlock early in the second half to hand Chelsea the lead. He was all over Aston Villa’s defence throughout the game, and Thomas Tuchel should be pleased with his performance.
The forward looked confident when he received the ball and did not hold back. He tried to have a go at the goal at every opportunity and also put in some difficult passes in the game.
#2 – Kepa Arrizabalaga
Kepa Arrizabalaga made a crucial penalty save against Aston Villa
Another Chelsea star who needed a confidence boost was Kepa Arrizabalaga. The Spaniard has had a tough time in the last 12-15 months, and things are slowly changing for him.
Kepa Arrizabalaga made two crucial penalty saves in the UEFA Super Cup last month. Last night, he made another save to help Chelsea reach the next round of the Carabao Cup.
The best news for Chelsea is that the Spaniard looks ready to challenge Edouard Mendy for the #1 spot. Things could swing in his favour if he manages to impress when the Senegal star goes away for the Africa Cup of Nations.
Kepa made five saves against Aston Villa on Thursday night, and they helped Chelsea a lot.
#1 – Reece James
Chelsea star Reece James put in a man-of-the-match performance against Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup
Reece James is fighting for a place in Chelsea’s starting XI as Thomas Tuchel has opted for Cesar Azpilicueta in most games.
Last night’s performance has shown the German manager that he has some tough decisions to make, as the young Englishman looks ready to challenge for his place.
Not only did James get an assist for the goal, but he was also able to link well with Callum Hudson-Odoi and keep the Chelsea attack going. Moreover, he looked solid at the back and was not letting Aston Villa have a lot of space down their left wing.
Ashley Young tried to use his experience to get behind James, but the young Chelsea star stood his ground and was on top of his game.
James was, without a doubt, the man of the match for the Blues last night, with Kepa Arrizabalaga close behind.