“The touch of luck that Chelsea needed”. – Martin Tyler
That about sums it up for me.
Overall, I thought, we were decent. Up against the best side in England and one of the best in Europe it was always going to be a difficult match.
Chelsea started brightly but Spurs had a grip within ten minutes and for the vast majority of the first half dominated without being too much of a threat. Eriksen’s free kick and the Kane shot at the near post (when I thought he should have gone far post) was as good as it got.
Chelsea’s first goal, in the 45th minute whilst we, I thought, were a bit distracted by Walker’s injury was a kick in the teeth. Two deflections on the way through (Rose and Dier) and then the huge deflection on the shot which, if it had been allowed to have traveled on it’s original course, would have been straight down Lloris’ throat. Them’s the breaks sadly.
The second goal was the killer. We really needed to keep it down to one and give ourselves a chance. Another huge slice of luck as Costa’s shot is heading for a Spurs throw in on the far side of the pitch takes a wicked and unfortunate deflection and that’s game over.
Credit to the players, they never stopped trying. With large parts of the second half being played in almost monsoon like weather the Spurs team toiled but again created nothing much of a goal threat. Credit must go to, and it pains me to say it, the Chelsea defence who marshalled Kane extremely well. Zouma on Eriksen did not work in the first half but as the match wore on and Eriksen tired Zouma had him in his pocket.
Chelsea were also rather lucky to not see Costa sent off in the first half for a hand in the face of Bentaleb. One of several niggly things he did in that half. In my opinion the referee bottled it to an extent. Costa fits in well at Chelsea. He is a nasty piece of work, inclined to go over very easily, and happy to do lots of naughty things well off the ball. He is also is ruthless and that is something we don’t have.
Bar Townsend and Chadli I thought our players were pretty good. Rose is still liable to dive in early rather than stay on his feet and his failure to clear the free kick for the first goal was a bad mistake. Mason and Bentaleb were in my opinion, our two best players. Mason’s legs seemed to go around the hour mark but considering the ground he covered I’m not surprised. Bentaleb was superb and has really grown up as a player this season. I was one of the doubters but I happy to say I got that completely wrong.
Kane started slowly but grew into the match. Must have been difficult for him as he was often surrounded by three or more Chelsea players but he still kept going. I was impressed with Dier too. Overall I’m not as disappointed as I could have been. The performance was decent and we never let the occasion get to us. Such a young team, with a young coach we can only look forward to more Wembley finals I think.
I’m immensely proud of our players, coaching staff and supporters and the season is not over just yet. I don’t think we will get within touching distance of fourth and part of me hopes that we finish 7th so we won’t be in the Europa next season and Poch can have a clear run at things.
This will be an excellent experience for this young team. It might not feel like it now but I feel this is the first stepping stone on to better things.
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