Frank Lampard hadn’t believed Jose when the Spurs’ manager said he’d given up hope for the Carabao Cup as the fixture list was too much with three games a week, it and the Europa League midweek in between the Premier League at the weekends.
For 45 minutes it looked like his Spurs players had believed it as they set a new level for worst performance under Jose. The manager set the team out in the formation he probably should use, it was just the players chosen were wrong. The team he did chose did have the whiff of writing this one off and concentrating elsewhere. Gedson and Sissoko… anyone… anyone… Bueller.
It would surprise no one that Timo Werner’s first goal in English football came against Spurs. What may have surprised is that following that opener nearly 20 minutes in Chelsea never followed it up. They only had one shot on target after.
The goal was a bit of a gift. New boy Sergio Reguilon losing the ball, he then built up so much speed that when Azpilicueta stopped to cross the ball, he slid past him by yards. There was still five Spurs players about or in front of Werner when he had his shot, who could have blocked it before it reached Hugo, who had no chance.
Yes Gedson had a chance but they looked clueless. When asked who was playing striker, Jose said nobody. There is no striker. Now without Aguero and Jesus the other day City looked aimless without a focal point. That was City with De Bruyne. This is Spurs with Sissoko.
The only player that looked up for it was Lamela, though he did too much running into people and losing the ball.
Something changed at the break. Jose must have said something. “Fucking hell… I was only joking… you can win this… they let three in against West Brom… fucking hell…”
From the start they were higher up the park, far more pressing and actually looking like they were bothered. Hojbjerg replaced Gedson just after the hour. But as it went on and no goal was coming you just knew that yet again Harry wasn’t gonna get a game off. He duly arrived on 70 minutes to replace Tanganga, who had been part of the original back three. It was good to have him back in the setup. Odd dodgy moment but he hasn’t played for a while, since before the restart.
There was certainly more pace about Spurs in the second half. One player who has it to burn was the new boy. Reguilon had a couple of chances, one meeting Aurier’s cross but shot straight at the keeper. The other he was caught by the bounce of the ball, too high to kick it and too low to head it. He went with the latter but was well off target.
But was anyone as fast as Eric Dier when he exited stage left. The only person to keep up with him was Jose.
When you gotta go… you gotta go…
The equaliser was well deserved and arrived 7 minutes before the end. Toby with one of his quarterback passes, from the halfway line to Reguilon on the edge of the box, his control wasn’t the best but his cross curled to Lamela to knock it in.
So penalties. And the chance for their new boy to make a name for himself in goal. Every Spurs penalty went in to the keeper’s right, as he went to his left, until Kane who went the other way, while the keeper guessed wrong again. It was now 5-4 to Spurs, when Mount put his wide to Hugo’s right.
It looked like it meant something to the Spurs players as they celebrated. Jose, who had a little barney with Lampard earlier, skipped off down the tunnel this time. Off to the quarter finals for one more game but at least it’s not until just before Christmas.