Tottenham's Alderweireld a 9/10 in win against Chelsea, but Son and Alli disappoint
Tottenham will take a lead to Stamford Bridge after winning the first leg of their Carabao Cup semifinal against Chelsea 1-0. The only goal arrived in the 26th minute courtesy of a penalty awarded by VAR. Harry Kane was initially flagged offside as he was felled by Kepa Arrizabalaga inside the box, but a video replay showed he was level and the captain converted from the spot. Chelsea were far more competitive than when they lost 3-1 on their last visit to Wembley in November -- indeed they had 58 percent of the possession and 17 shots to Spurs' six. But it is advantage Tottenham at the halfway point in the tie.
A victory of any margin has to be seen as a success and Tottenham are perfectly capable of hurting Chelsea on the counter-attack at Stamford Bridge in a fortnight's time. Kane continued his rich vein of goalscoring form, netting his seventh goal in six games, and No. 2 goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga impressed again, keeping his third-successive clean sheet with the help of some bullish defending.
Spurs have been more dangerous than Chelsea recently, scoring 22 goals in their previous five matches compared to the Blues' five. When they went 1-0 up in the first half it seemed there was an opportunity to capitalise further on their home advantage and take a bigger lead to the Bridge. However, Maurizio Sarri's side were on top for most of the second half. While the visitors were unable to find an equaliser to match their approach play, Spurs' inability to halt the Blues' attacks was a concern as thoughts turn to the second leg.
Manager rating out of 10
7 -- The plan to get in behind Chelsea's centre-backs with balls over the top worked perfectly for the decisive goal, but Mauricio Pochettino was unable to wrest back control of the game in the second half and didn't make a substitution until the 79th minute. Of course, his lack of central midfielders continues to be a major limitation.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Paulo Gazzaniga, 8 -- Made an excellent fingertip save onto the post as Callum Hudson-Odoi's cross looped over him towards the top corner before palming away an N'Golo Kante shot, while his handling was reliable under pressure.
DF Kieran Trippier, 7 -- Worked hard defensively and was alert to danger behind him while creating a chance for Kane with an early cross and releasing Moussa Sissoko down the right touchline with a neat flick.
DF Davinson Sanchez, 8 -- Got tight to Eden Hazard in central areas, forcing the Belgian to go deep or into wide areas to get time on the ball and run at the defence.
DF Toby Alderweireld, 9 -- Showed off his passing ability with a fine ball over the top to release Kane and win the penalty, while he positioned himself well to block a host of crosses.
DF Danny Rose, 6 -- Struggled against Hudson-Odoi in the first half but improved after the break and made an important late tackle on Kante.
MF Harry Winks, 6 -- A mature performance defensively and Pochettino would have approved of a "naughty" professional foul on Hazard in the first half, but he saw less and less of the ball as the match went on.
MF Moussa Sissoko, 7 -- Helped to protect the defence with his physicality and made a few breaks upfield, while teeing Kane up for a shot with a nice first-time pass. But he made some poor decisions too, especially when he tried a silly backheel when Spurs were trying to see out the game.
MF Christian Eriksen, 5 -- Covered plenty of ground but was less influential than usual, which helped Chelsea to assume control.
MF Dele Alli, 5 -- Similarly put in a shift for the team, tracking back diligently, but aside from one run into the box at the start of the second half it is hard to remember a telling contribution with the ball.
FW Harry Kane, 8 -- Won the penalty with a well-timed run in behind the defence and converted it himself, while testing Kepa with a powerful 25-yard strike in the second half.
FW Son Heung-Min, 5 -- Made a lively start, troubling Chelsea again with his pace, but faded.
MF Erik Lamela, NR -- Replaced Son and got a brief chance to run at goal but couldn't capitalise.
MF Oliver Skipp, NR -- Introduced in the final moments in place of Winks, who had been booked.
MF Fernando Llorente, NR -- Appeared in injury time to help defend set pieces.