Chelsea booked a place in the fourth round of the EFL Cup thanks to a double from Cesc Fabregas. Shinji Okazaki put the Foxes 2-0 up, but Gary Cahill pulled one back before half time. Cesar Azpilicueta scored a fantastic equaliser on the volley. That forced extra time here, where Fabregas hit two quick goals as the Blues knocked out the Premier League champions.
Antonio Conte made quite a few changes ahead of this cup tie. Diego Costa, Eden Hazard and N’Golo Kante were all rested for the trip to the King Power. Michy Batshuayi and Ruben Loftus-Cheek came into the side, with Conte pairing them up front. Asmir Begovic came in for Thibaut Courtois, while Marcos Alonso made his first start for the club since his move from Fiorentina.
Chelsea looked impressive in the early stages, with a goal from Pedro being ruled out for offside. The Spanish winger looked maybe an inch offside, but it was a tough call for the linesman. After that, the Blues crumbled and reverted back to their dreadful display from Friday night.
Okazaki broke the deadlock, which came thanks to some awful defending again. Ahmed Musa’s cross led to some penalty box pinball, with the back four all waiting for each other to clear. The Foxes’ forward tapped in, with Azpilicueta trying and failing to stop the ball crossing the line at the last minute.
David Luiz lost his marker for the second goal, with Okazaki getting his second. It was poor defending again, and once more Azpilicueta was too late with his goal line clearance. The defence made up for things late in the first half, with Cahill heading in from a cross, which Luiz put back in after a failed goal line clearance.
It was right back Azpilicueta who hit the equaliser, cracking in a stunning effort from outside the box. Chelsea made a strong start to the second half, and they made the most of a Leicester defence which hadn’t quite regained focus. The Spanish full back was free outside the area, and his volley curled just inside the right hand of Ron-Robert Zieler’s goal.
Costa and Jamie Vardy both came on for their respective sides, but neither could grab a winner. Marcin Wasilewski saw red right at the end of normal time. Fabregas struck just minutes into extra time, placing the ball into the net after Hazard dribbled and left the ball in the Spaniards’ path. Moments later, the former Barcelona man hit a second to double the lead.
That was enough to secure a win, and they’re safely into the last 16 of the EFL Cup. Next up is a trip to the Emirates, as the Blues return to Premier League action. Can they follow up this win with three points against Arsenal? That would get their league campaign back on track but they will have to improve at the back, that’s for sure.
LCN Man of the Match: Cesc Fabregas