MATCH REVIEW – Chelsea FC vs Tottenham Hotspur – FA Cup Semi Final, 22nd April 2017.
A Nemanja Matic screamer settled the show as Chelsea emerged victorious in the 6-goal thriller that took place at the Wembley stadium on the 22nd of April for the massive stage which was the FA Cup Semi Final.
As we built up to the contest between the London rivals, Antonio Conte startled many as he decided to bench the two spearheads in the form of Eden Hazard and Diego Costa to give a rather rare start to Michy Batshuayi and Willian.
Conte’s decision to pick Willian over Hazard paid off right away, as Willian racked up a brilliant freekick to score the first goal in the tie. The Spurs’ spearhead Harry Kane equalized in no time with an instinctive header past Courtois. Mauricio Pochettino’s decision to start Son at the left winged back position proved to be a howler as the South Korean’s poor decision to slide into Moses welcomed a penalty for the blues in the 43rd minute. Willian calmly scored and Conte’s side proved to be 2-1 up at half time. Spurs brought the game to Chelsea in the second half and this resulted in the Golden Boys of Tottenham, Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen linking up to perfection as they leveled up 2-2 in the game.
With Pochettino’s side looking the likelier to score the next goal in the tie, Antonio Conte needed no other invitations to bring in the two rested heavyweights into the game as he decided to push onto the next gear. And how that paid off!
Hazard’s impact was immensely crucial as he blasted a perfect left footed shot into the right corner of Lloris’ goal, and the ball couldn’t have slid in from anywhere else in the net. Then came the highlight and arguably the best goal you’ll ever see in a semi final as Hazard again played a brainy one-two with the third substitute Fabregas before setting up a mammoth of the goal blasted in by our man of the match Nemanja Matic.
This was enough for Chelsea to seal their entry into the FA Cup finals for the first time in 5 years, as they were clinically better than Tottenham in this exhilarating game.
Conte’s Bold Decision to bench Hazard and Costa.
Antonio Conte decided to bench Eden Hazard and Diego Costa for the all important semi final game. This decision shook the footballing world also resulting in many people checking through the injury updates as no one even remotely expected this.
Now, many questions were raised over this decision. Was it because of a disappointing performance against Manchester United? Or was it a courageous rest? Or was it an audacious tactical move? Nonetheless it all went well for Antonio Conte as the two players had a noticeable impact when they came out, mainly Hazard. Tottenham were in an attacking groove and were totally exposed when the PFA Player of the year runner-up showed up, driving atrociously with the ball, scoring one and excellently setting up another.
Now, Chelsea face another North London rivals Arsenal FC in a mouthwatering end to the campaign in the FA Cup finals on 27th May.