Soccer

Cesc Fabregas winner downs Derby County on Frank Lampard’s emotional return to Chelsea

As much a love-in as a knock-out at Stamford Bridge. Frank Lampard’s name was sung by all corners of the ground at the end of an entertaining return with Derby County that saw more promise for his managerial career, but no progress.

Former club Chelsea just had that bit too much quality even with a wide reshuffle of the team going through to the quarter-finals of the League Cup thanks to a 3-2 victory and a winner from the man who replaced Lampard in that midfield, Cesc Fabregas.

There were easy lines to be written about how so many goals on the Stamford Bridge legend’s return came from deflections and scuffed shots but it was far from an easy night for Chelsea.


Chelsea vs Derby – player ratings





1/22 Willy Caballero – 7

2/22 Davide Zappacosta – 9

3/22 Gary Cahill – 5

4/22 Andreas Christensen – 6

5/22 Emerson Palmieri – 5

6/22 N’Golo Kante – 7

7/22 Cesc Fabregas – 8

8/22 Mateo Kovacic – 6

9/22 Ruben Loftus-Cheek – 7

10/22 Alvaro Morata – 6

11/22 Willian – 7

12/22 Scott Carson – 6

13/22 Jayden Bogle – 7

14/22 Richard Keogh – 5

15/22 Fikayo Tomori – 4

16/22 Scott Malone – 5

17/22 Martyn Waghorn – 8

18/22 Harry Wilson – 6

19/22 Tom Huddlestone – 7

20/22 Mason Mount – 7

21/22 Tom Lawrence – 6

22/22 Jack Marriott – 8

1/22 Willy Caballero – 7

2/22 Davide Zappacosta – 9

3/22 Gary Cahill – 5

4/22 Andreas Christensen – 6

5/22 Emerson Palmieri – 5

6/22 N’Golo Kante – 7

7/22 Cesc Fabregas – 8

8/22 Mateo Kovacic – 6

9/22 Ruben Loftus-Cheek – 7

10/22 Alvaro Morata – 6

11/22 Willian – 7

12/22 Scott Carson – 6

13/22 Jayden Bogle – 7

14/22 Richard Keogh – 5

15/22 Fikayo Tomori – 4

16/22 Scott Malone – 5

17/22 Martyn Waghorn – 8

18/22 Harry Wilson – 6

19/22 Tom Huddlestone – 7

20/22 Mason Mount – 7

21/22 Tom Lawrence – 6

22/22 Jack Marriott – 8

Lampard wasn’t the only visitor with a Chelsea connection, given that Jody Morris was on the bench and loanees Fikayo Tomori and Mason Mount were on the pitch. They both had an impact in different ways, with the former hitting the game’s opening goal in the wrong net and the latter creating Derby’s second equaliser.

That just indicates how entertaining this game was, and how difficult the home side’s passage to the quarter-finals was.

Derby early on subjected Chelsea to the sort of dangerous chaos that they really weren’t accustomed to in Lampard’s days, even if the Championship couldn’t completely escape some of the dangers of that themselves. And chaos of their own making – literally. Tomori’s own goal here was quickly followed by Richard Keogh’s, making it three form Derby in the space of 27 minutes of football.

After Jayden Bogle had scored such a hapless own goal in the final stages against Middlesbrough at the weekend, both of Derby’s centre-halves badly struggled with fizzed Davide Zappacosta crosses in the opening stages here. Tomori’s parent club gave Derby special dispensation to play both the centre-half and Mount in this game, only for that to immediately benefit Chelsea. Tomori somehow diverted a cross into the net after just four minutes, before Keogh did similar on 27.

The one encouraging point to be made about that is it’s difficult not to link such looseness to the more influential liveliness of Lampard’s teams. Like their manager in his prime, Derby aren’t afraid to get forward and have a go.

Hence Jack Marriott had scored in between those own goals, after an error of similar haplessness from Gary Cahill. He was caught in possession by Tom Huddlestone, who surged forward and set up the striker for the finish. It was Marriott’s second goal against the Premier League big six this season, having scored against Manchester United in the previous round.

As entertaining as the game had been up to Keogh’s own goal, most of the strikes and attacking play had come from errors rather than truly fashioned play. That couldn’t be said of Derby’s second, and the source of it will be encouraging to everyone. Mount – who had been so talked by Lampard before this game against his parent club – found himself in space after an intricate passing move on the wing, and finally saw one of his killer balls come off. Martyn Waghorne was left to finish.

The fifth goal, however, might have been even more fitting. It was from Lampard’s immediate successor in the Chelsea midfield, and from a typical break from the Chelsea midfield. Fabregas arrived late at the box to fire a strike Scott Carson couldn’t handle.

Chelsea had more holes than might have been expected, though, and that is likely to be one other consequence of how Maurizio Sarri plays. Given the emphasis he places on cohesion and integration, and how smooth he wants his first XIs to look, the lack of such qualities is always going to be more pronounced when he reshuffles the side because they just wouldn’t have had any time together. And it was especially pronounced at the back. There just always looked that little opportunity for Derby to get in behind, even if the goals finally stopped flowing in the second half.

It did seem pointed that Sarri hauled off Andreas Christensen – who has been agitated about his lack of playing time – for David Luiz after just 65 minutes, but it didn’t stop Marriott almost claiming an equaliser on 67 minutes. Willy Cavallero’s touch just about got it over the bar, after the ball looped so dangerously in the air.

Alvaro Morata meanwhile should have been much more dangerous in the air himself, but squandered three good chances late in the game. One was tamely wide, one narrowly wide, and the last at least bringing a brilliant stop from Carson.

It almost cost Chelsea, as substitute David Nugent hit the post in the 89th minute. Lampard hadn’t celebrated the first two goals, but could he have stopped himself there? It meant he wasn’t celebrating the result, anyway, but there was plenty of solace to be taken. 

Follow the Independent Sport on Instagram here, for all of the best images, videos and stories from around the sporting world.

Source: Read Full Article