As The VAR Misses One Chelsea Score Six To Win
Wholesale changes by Antonio Conte saw a Chelsea side that had nine changes from the weekend`s fixture at home to Leicester. Whatever happened in the game it was crucial that Chelsea at least scored a goal.
There was no possibility of another replay, so the tie would be decided with extra time and penalties if necessary. Michy Batshuayi was starting his 50th game for Chelsea, and would be looking to celebrate it with a goal or two. Ethan Ampadu and Kenedy both started the game.
First shot of the game was by Danny Drinkwater, who fired wire from 25 yards out. After a slow start, Chelsea played their way into the game with Pedro, in particular looking lively. Ten minutes in and a couple excellent chances had passed Chelsea by Cesar Azpilicueta and Willian not quite hitting the target. Chelsea were well on top though.
A surging Willian run brought about a free kick in a good position, which David Luiz placed over the wall, straight into the Norwich keeper, Angus Gunn`s hands. From that, a quick clearance set Norwich on their way and saw Willy Caballero turn into a very poor version of Manuel Neuer as he set about sweeping it up, eventually.
Chelsea`s recent inability to put the ball in the back of the net was really appearing to affect Chelsea though. Shot`s were being snatched at, the longer the game went without a goal. What was needed was a defender to pop up and put the ball in the net to relieve the pressure affecting the forward line.
It was Danny Drinkwater who so nearly broke the deadlock when another long range effort was just tipped onto the crossbar by Gunn. Despite that though, Chelsea were far from convincing going forward. With 30 minutes gone a free kick was awarded, again in a promising position, but Willian only succeeded in putting in amongst the Norwich fans.
Should Chelsea manage to sign another striker, before this game it was likely that Michy Batshuayi would be on his way out of the club. West Ham`s David Moyes was in the stadium having a look at the Belgian. After an underwhelming first half display, it`s most likely Batshuayi will be going nowhere.
The longer the game went on, it was the visitors who looked the stronger, Chelsea were like strangers. Antonio Conte says he trusts all his players, well, trustworthy they may be but they`re pretty crap at football. Changes would be needed for the second half. Half time came and it was 321 minutes since Marcos Alonso scored Chelsea`s last goal.
Antonio Conte made no changes at half time, giving those who failed to deliver in the first half a chance of redemption. Had the game gone too long without a goal, Conte would have looked to make the changes that would see Chelsea through to the next round.
Redemption arrived in the form of Michy Batshuayi who scored Chelsea`s first goal for 331 minutes. It was a typical poachers goal. A low ball in from the left by Kenedy was fired into the roof of the net by the under fire Belgian.
The goal only seemed to add impetus to Norwich`s game though. Defensive mix-ups and errors allowed the Canaries more than one chance to equalise.
However, Chelsea were at least trying to look more positive. Danny Drinkwater, again fired a shot from distance that flew past the upright, with the top right hand corner of the beckoning, he ought to have done better. If Chelsea could hold on for a win, it would probably be more than they deserved, but a win`s a win, and with 15 minutes still to play, that was a way off.
Into that final fifteen, and a rarity occurred, Tiemoue Bakayoko managed a shot on target. With ten minutes remaining Andreas Christensen replaced Ethan Ampadu and Alvaro Morata came on for the goal scorer Batshuayi.
Morata`s first contribution was a glancing header that flew across the face of the Norwich goal. Antonio Conte`s final change of the game saw N`golo Kante replace Kenedy, who was suffering with cramp. The Brazilian youngster, though, had had a good game and was one of the bright points of a disappointing game.
As the game entered added on time there was still time for another Morata miss, when he just couldn`t get his boot on the end of another cross. Norwich were still pressing though.
And sure enough with 30 seconds remaining Willy Caballero let in his customary injury time goal. To be fair he didn`t have chance, a cross into the box was headed on a flighted into the top corner way out of the keepers reach.
Into extra-time and the Video Assistant Referee had a chance to affect the game when Willian was deemed to have dived and subsequently booked for diving. Replays showed Willian had been caught, but the VAR remained quiet. Even Jermaine Jenas said it was a penalty. The VAR failed it`s second test as the studio refs bottled making a decision...disappointing.
Chelsea created countless chances to score in the first period but failed to convert any of them thanks to good work by Gunn in the Norwich goal. With the game in extra time each team are allowed an extra substitution. Conte used Chelsea`s wisely with Eden Hazard coming on for Drinkwater. Into the second period of extra time and Chelsea continued to create, but so did Norwich.
Insult was added to injury when Pedro picked up a second yellow card and received his marching orders. In a frantic 15 minutes, the referee once again saw fit to book a Chelsea player for diving in the penalty area. This time it was Alvaro Morata who was booked for simulation. So, incensed was he, that his reaction in front of the referee, resulted in a second yellow and Chelsea were down to nine men.
With Antonio Conte raging, the game went to penalties. It wasn`t looking good. First up for Chelsea at the Matthew Harding end was Willian who scored calmly sending the keeper the wrong way. Willy Caballero saved magnificently Norwich`s first effort. David Luiz scored, firing bottom right. Norwich scored. 2-1 Chelsea. Cesar Azpilicueta was next he fired home and hard. Norwich scored. 3-2 Chelsea. N`golo Kante stepped up, he like Azpi, fired hard and right. Norwich scored. 4-3 Chelsea. It was Hazard to win the tie. Scoreddddddddddddd……………..Chelsea won 5-3 on penalties. Easy.