Chelsea are in the Carabao Cup semi-final.
They didn’t even need penalties to earn it.
Despite dominating possession across the game, the Bees had the better chances in the opening half as the Blues left it late to leave their inprint on the game.
Substitute Reece James made an impact as his cross from the right was put into his own net by Pontus Jansson, and Christian Pulisic came off the bench to earn a penalty which Jorginho easily dispatched.
Why Thomas Tuchel was angry with Cesar Azpilicueta:
There are few reasons you’ll be able get irate with Cesar Azpilicueta after all he’s done all through his Chelsea career. The 32-year-old guard has been the ruler of utility, lifted European trophies and very in all honesty been stellar. All that numbered for small in Tuchel’s eyes in one moment. The Spaniard took a shot on the half-volley which wasn’t especially near. Exceptionally much within the criteria of holding circle as well long for a shot on FIFA. Clear-cut chances weren’t coming as well habitually within the opening half and it’s secure to say when Tuchel saw the exertion, he was exasperated. Nevertheless, Azpilicueta put in a not too bad cautious execution and supported Simons well on his make a big appearance.
It’s difficult to imagine the excitement and nerves that must be present when you are on the verge of starting your first senior match for any club, never mind one as big as Chelsea, at just 17 or 18.
So Vale, Simons and Soonsup can be forgiven for sticking together at the start of the warm up. The trio knocked the ball around together before joining the rest of the team to start drills on the far side of the pitch.
That’s not to say they were isolated but it was a nice moment for the youngsters.
Azpilicueta ensured he became locked in coversation with Simons ahead of the game too, as they were partnered up on the right, while Trevoh Chalobah made a point to greet the youngsters during the warm-up too.
Harvey Vale’s record
Vale put in a very impressive display during his 65 minutes on the pitch. He was among Chelsea’s most incisive players as he showed his well-versed connection with Soonsup-Bell in the opening half, even though he did miss the Blues’ best chance.
However, simply by stepping onto the pitch Vale set a record.
The 18-year-old is the player to start for Chelsea with the highest shirt number. The youngster donned the No. 68 shirt.
Others have worn higher figures, such as his teammates Charlie Webster and Lewis Hall, who did not make it off the bench, with 71 and 75, respectively.
Callum Hudson-Odoi has even worn the No. 70 shirt, but only had substitute appearances back in 2017/18, as per transfermarkt.
The not so new replaces the new
There can be no doubting Chelsea’s debutants stood up to their task in difficult circumstances. While they still may be too early in their development to get many more meaningful minutes this season, it’s always exciting to see the latest crop from Cobham. They might even have caught Tuchel’s eye.
Following the game he said: “They did well. They hadn’t trained for a week because the academy was closed for Covid and then we invited them into training two days ago, so two sessions with us. They listened carefully and did their jobs, they did good.
“Also, full credit to the seven guys they played with. They took care and made sure they did the right stuff and were supportive. Well done to the three guys and well done to the other seven.”
That recognition clearly extended to the rest of the squad and let to a poignant moment as Simons and Vale were replaced by Reece James and Mason Mount.
Each player a item of the Chelsea academy. The standard tall fives and embraces fair appeared to wait a small longer as James passed on many words to Simons in acknowledgment of his performance. No time for a alter of protect however, but unquestionably an motivating minute for those from the advancement squad.