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  • Writer's pictureBy Yann Tear at Stamford Bridge

Chelsea talking points after penalties win that takes them to another League Cup semi

It was a tough watch for most of the night, but after trailing to a first-half goal for most of the evening, the Blues grabbed an injury-time equaliser to send the match to a shoot out.

Kieran Trippier, the man whose mistake cost the Magpies so dearly, duly obliged again with an off-target strike from the second of Newcastle's five kicks before Djordje Petrovic saved from Matt Ritchie.

Here we examine the talking points from tonight's cup tie at Stamford Bridge.

Poch dream of landing a first trophy lives on - just

Only an injury-time blunder gave the Blues the goal they had struggled to find all night. But once Mykhailo Mudryk had pounced to punish the error, a home win always seemed on the cards, with the momentum carrying into the penalty shoot out in front of the Shed End housing the noisy Magpie fans. Chelsea hit four superb kicks to seal the deal.

The win will be a great relief to an inconsistent Chelsea side seeking some sort of direction. And let us not forget Mauricio Pochettino is still after his first piece of managerial silverware. A semi-final gets him closer to that objective.

A debut at last for the £52m striker

It's been a long time coming thanks to terrible ill fortune with injury, but Christopher Nkunku finally took his bow for the Blues - a 69th minute replacement for an ineffective Nicholas Jackson.

The Frenchman in the No18 shirt received a huge cheer from home fans, who were mindful of the former Leipzig forward's struggle to overcome a knee injury picked up pre-season.

The 26-year-old started a bit deeper and out wide, but was soon on Armando Broja's shoulder in a more central position. Smashed home his penalty in the shoot-out with great confidence.

A lot of reliance on Raheem Sterling to make things happen

The winger was the best thing about Chelsea's first-half attempts to get back on level terms. He missed the far post by a whisker after bursting through on the inside-left channel and almost netted with a shot from close range that Bruno Guimares somehow blocked. After the break, he drew a fine save from Martin Dubravka with a low angled shot.

The Blues lacked that extra bit of quality in the final third, with Jackson spurning a great chance when his shot on the turn missed the target. Connor Gallagher hit the crossbar but Cole Palmer was much less influential than he can be. For all their possession and dominance, it needed a terrible defensive error form Trippier to get out of jail.

Defensive shortcomings continue

Benoit Badiashile's clumsy footwork gifted the opening goal for Callum Wilson - one the Magpies striker had no right to expect as he poured forward in a breakaway all by himself. Thiago Silva also might have done better, but we know the 39-year-old Brazilian has already shown a few signs of vulnerability this season.

The clean sheet against Sheffield United on Saturday was much needed after the shipping of 14 goals in five games. But the cause was not helped by too much imprecise passing and turnovers aplenty resulting from passes out wide which were picked off too easily at times. Moises Caicedo was a presence but Enzo Fernandez looked off the pace and was hooked early on, possibly because of a thigh strain.

How do Geordies get so much time off work?

Maybe the proximity of Christmas allowed Newcastle fans to take an early holiday, but coming down to the Bridge in such huge numbers on a Tuesday night for a Carabao Cup tie speaks volumes for their commitment. They packed two tiers of the Shed End and their reward will be a return to base in the small hours of Wednesday morning. They contributed to a vibrant atmosphere.

Beaten finalists at Wembley last year, they wanted to go back and end that club trophy drought stretching back to 1969. But it won't happen in this competition. Knocked out of Europe a week ago, their ambitions have suddenly been clipped.


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