Middlesbrough reap rewards of Chelsea’s lackluster attack during EFL Cup semi-final first leg

Jan 11, 2024

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With Hayden Hackney’s first-half goal for the Championship side gave Michael Carrick’s team the lead, much to the delight of the home crowd. Meanwhile, Cole Palmer missed three excellent opportunities which had to converted. The fans were stunned with this uncharacteristic play form the Chelsea as it pretty much sums up their misfiring Premier League season.

Mauricio Pochettino’s team-controlled possession but failed to create sufficient opportunities to equalize, resulting in their fifth away defeat in six matches. They now face the task of working to secure a spot in the final at Wembley. Cole Palmer squandered three clear opportunities as Chelsea, with 18 shots, only managed five on target, resulting in their sixth scoreless outing this season. 

Chelsea have missed 40 significant chances and are currently positioned 10th. Also, as per Opta’s definition, in the Premier League, the second-highest among top-flight teams, trailing behind Liverpool with 41. While Chelsea aims to bolster their forward options in the next two transfer windows, acquiring high-profile targets like Brentford’s Ivan Toney or Napoli’s Victor Osimhen seems unlikely due to the substantial financial investment required.

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink slams Moises Caicedo after loss 

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink criticized Chelsea midfielder Moises Caicedo for his involvement in Middlesbrough’s decisive goal in the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg. After Hayden Hackney’s 37th-minute goal secured a 1-0 lead for Boro in the first leg, with the return fixture scheduled for January 23 at Stamford Bridge. 

The defeat left Chelsea regretting missed opportunities, notably by Cole Palmer. In the post-match, Hasselbaink criticized Caicedo for not marking Hackney tightly during the goal build-up, highlighting the Ecuadorian’s failure to track his opponent. Hasselbaink expressed dissatisfaction with Caicedo, adding to the challenges faced by the high-priced midfielder at Stamford Bridge.

“With Caicedo… It becomes a one-versus-one. If you have determination, you don’t lose your one-versus-one. It’s a simple one. You just keep running with your man, you stay with him, and at the last moment you give him a little nudge so he cannot put that ball in. He stopped!” Hasselbaink told Sky Sports.

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