Tottenham v Chelsea pictures
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Antonio Conte saw two decisions backfire on Wednesday evening as Chelsea dumped his Tottenham side out of the Carabao Cup, one hurdle short of a Wembley final. Over the course of the two-legged tie, Spurs disappointed on the whole as the Blues followed up their 2-0 home win with a 1-0 away triumph.
Conte’s team selection initially raised eyebrows when Pierluigi Gollini lined up in goal, with first-choice stopper Hugo Lloris on the bench.
Before kick-off, the boss cited a need to manage the squad with a host of important games coming up.
But with the club’s last trophy coming in 2008, fans may have felt aggrieved that Conte did not pick the best possible team to make up the 2-0 deficit on his former employers.
Predictably enough, Gollini was at fault for Chelsea’s opener on the night.
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A corner was whipped in, and instead of the former Atalanta keeper commanding his penalty area, he was beaten to the punch by Antonio Rudiger who made enough contact to ripple the net.
That left Spurs with a mountain to climb against one of the best defensive sides in England, and it ultimately proved too much to take on.
Conte also surprised many when Matt Doherty was selected to start at left-wing-back.
The Irishman has struggled since his 2020 switch from Wolves, and plenty, including Jamie Redknapp, felt as though Ryan Sessegnon could have given Spurs more attacking threat.
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The right-footer struggled to make an impact on the left flank, with capable one-on-one defender Cesar Azpilicueta rarely troubled by the 29-year-old.
Eventually, Conte made the change just after the hour mark, but by then it was too little, too late.
Time will only tell how prominent a role Gollini and Doherty will be afforded in Conte’s plans going forward, but Wednesday evening certainly did not help their respective cases.
Spurs’ misery continued in the second half despite their improved collective performance, with a Lucas Moura penalty and a Harry Kane goal both overturned.
Despite the obvious gulf in class against Chelsea, who had absentees of their own to deal with, Spurs remain in a decent position to fight for fourth spot in the Premier League this campaign.
Chairman Daniel Levy has reportedly been in contact with the club’s owner, Joe Lewis, to try and secure investment for the remainder of the month.
Tottenham have been most heavily linked with Wolves’ Adama Traore, a player who Conte supposedly fancies as a right-wing-back.
New faces may be exactly what the north London side need not only to close the gap on the country’s best sides, but also to buoy the mood of fans who will undoubtedly be dejected after spurning the chance of a Wembley final.
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