Chelsea beat Spurs 0-1 at Tottenham Stadium, securing a spot in the EFL Cup final with an 0-3 aggregate win.
Spurs had several VAR decisions go against them as they tried in vain to turn it around after their first-leg 2-0 defeat. But in the end a goal from Antonio Rudiger was enough to hand Chelsea a 3-0 aggregate win and a place in the EFL Cup final.
1. The glimmer of hope that goalscorer Rudiger will stay
Antonio Rudiger is currently in the middle of a contract stand-off with the club as he looks for a bumper new deal. The German is a monstrous defensive presence and key as a tone setter for the Chelsea back-line and Blues fans are worried about losing him.
However Rudiger offered some assuring words today. “I am enjoying this chapter,” Rudiger told Sky Sports after the game. “I think it is the best time of my career.”
I talked to Antonio Rüdiger last week about his (open) future: „You won't hear from me until the day of the final decision.“ He is very thankful to Thomas Tuchel. My opinion is: he will sign a new contract for Chelsea.
— Tobi Altschäffl (@altobelli13) January 12, 2022
Earlier in the day, SPORTBILD reporter Tobi Altschaffl said that he spoke to Rudiger and in his opinion, the German will renew with the Blues. That should be a soothing balm to Chelsea fans given his game-winning performance.
2. Kepa’s renaissance
With Edouard Mendy at the African Cup of Nations, Chelsea will be relying on Kepa Arrizabalaga for the next month and luckily for them he appears to be in the middle of a full blown renaissance. He made three saves against Spurs, keeping a clean sheet.
And he definitely earned that clean sheet when he came out well in advance of his deepest two centre-backs to confront Lucas Moura, making Rudiger a “goalkeeper” in the move while he became a defender, meaning that when Lucas fed the ball to Kane, the Englishman was in advance of the second-last defender and offside.
‘Kepa with the 5000iq move to play kane in an offside trap’ wrote one Reddit user.
3. Tuchel makes Chelsea history
In less than a year, Thomas Tuchel has become the first manager in Chelsea history to guide the Blues to a clean sweep of cup finals. In 2020/21 they made the FA Cup final and Champions League final, and now this season they’re in the EFL Cup final.
Furthermore, the latest semi-final casualties of Tuchel’s cup nous is former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte and Tottenham, who will by now be sick of playing their rivals to the capital’s west.
Even more impressively, Tuchel's record of reaching finals is now six in a row across all clubs including two Champions Leagues.
For PSG: Coupe de France, Coupe de la Ligue, Champions League
For Chelsea: FA Cup, Champions League, League Cup https://t.co/22HRh3SNhl
— Colin Millar (@Millar_Colin) January 12, 2022
According to Opta, Chelsea can take credit for 24% of Spurs’ defeats suffered at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium since they moved to the ground (4/17). Spurs have lost four of their meetings at the ground, drawing the other.
Meanwhile Simon Stone points out that Chelsea have now made it to 15 major finals since the last time that Spurs won a trophy (which was, ironically, the 2008 EFL Cup final against Chelsea).
15 finals now (EFL/FA/Champions/Europa) for @ChelseaFC since Spurs last won a trophy.
— Simon Stone (@sistoney67) January 12, 2022