Chelsea needed a late Jermaine Grandison own goal to edge out a well composed Shrewsbury Town club in the Capital One Cup fifth round played out last night.
It was a spirited performance by the Shrews as the club is popularly called at their New Meadows ground and Chelsea must have counted themselves lucky to survive the late surge of the opponent that resulted in Andrew Mangan 75th minute equaliser.
Chelsea will wait to know the next opponent they will face at the quarter final when the draw is made latter tonight. But before then, we take a look at 5 things we learnt from Chelsea’s 2-1 win over Salop last night.
The Youngsters Are Coming Good:
Yesterday saw Jose Mourinho hand three youngster- Kurt Zouma, Andreas Christensen and Nathan Ake a start with 18-year-old Christensen making his full senior debut in a competitive match. There were also places in the bench for the pair of Lewis Barker and Izzy Brown though they didn’t get to play.
The trio of Zouma, Christensen and Ake played all 90minutes, giving a good account of themselves. Zouma was simply one of the best performers for the club proving an effective partnership with Gary Cahill at the heart of the defence.
Andreas Christensen who played at right back looked calm and never really looked troubled against a Shrews attack who were pouring forward at will. Ake too also showed class in the midfield, retaining balls and moving them quickly when needed and it’s no surprise Mourinho left the trio on the pitch for the entire duration of the game.
Experience like this will really give these youngsters opportunities to learn and develop further and they are already showing good signs of things to come.
Mourinho Looks He Is Interest In This Cup:
The line-up Jose Mourinho went out with yesterday against a league 2 side shows that the special one is up for this cup. Though, there were seven changes made to the team that started the Manchester United game on Sunday but the line-up is one that can be seen as relatively strong.
Four players in the line-up were Champions league winner while more than half of the line-up have won the Europa cup or played in the Champions League finals.
It was a blend of old, experience, youth and energy in the line-up an indication that the manager takes the competition as serious as it could get.
Drogba Defying Age:
Age, they say is a matter of numbers and Didier Drogba really made those assertions look true. He has scored in his last two games prior to this game. After playing all 90minutes against United on Sunday, everyone thought the 36-year-old would have taken a rest from this game bearing in mind the game is coming barely 48hours after the Sunday game.
But he defied the age thing and whatever consequence’s that comes with it to play the game. Got himself the first goal taking his tally to 3goals in 3matches since Diego Costa and Loic Remy got injured. He also gave good account of himself all through the game again, showing his selfless character- something the younger players should learn from.
Chelsea’s Fringe Players Are Doing Themselves No Good:
The likes of John Obi Mikel and Mohamed Salah got another opportunity again to convince Jose Mourinho that they deserve a regular spot in the team but they once again fluffed it.
With youngster Ake partnering Mikel in the midfield, one would have expected the Nigerian to be the one taking the initiative and controlling the midfield but Mikel characteristically, just sat back and allow the game to roll by.
Salah on his own part kept squandering chance after chance. His inability to pick his passes very well was also glaring. Though he will brag with the assist off the first goal but his overall performance is nowhere near what is expected of him.
Constant performance like this could make earn them the other side of Jose Mourinho and they could be forgotten men at the club faster than you expect.
No Small Teams Any Longer In The Cup Games:
Shrewsbury put up a performance that once again goes to show there are no minnows in the cup game any longer. In the fourth round MK Dons shocked Manchester United with a 4-0 score line and it took Liverpool a lengthy penalty kicks to edge out Middlesbrough.
It is high time Premier league clubs began to recognise this fact and put in a decent shift in matches involving the so called ‘small teams’. Chelsea would have been in for a rude shock when Shrewbury equalised and kept on coming at them if not for Grandison’s late own goal.