Thomas Tuchel’s masterstroke pays off as four stars give Chelsea boss food for thought

Kepa was solid in goal for Chelsea


With Edouard Mendy away at the Africa Cup of Nations, Kepa has been presented with the chance to impress as Chelsea’s number one.

In truth, the first-half second leg of the semi-final will have done little to improve or act as a blow to those hopes.

The Spanish keeper had virtually nothing to do before the break as Chelsea dominated proceedings, with Kepa not having a save to make.

But that changed after half-time, with Tottenham gaining more control, with Kepa playing a key role in securing the clean sheet.

First, he rushed out of his goal to shut down a dangerous Tottenham attack, getting to the ball before Lucas Moura to clear, before then producing a stunning save, diving across his goal to prevent Emerson Royal's header going in.

Malang Sarr

Malang Sarr impressed on the left side of defence

While he was meant to be operating as part of a left-back, Malang Sarr took on much more of an attacking role than his fellow fullback Cesar Azpilicueta.

Sarr won the corner from which Antonio Rudiger scored Chelsea’s crucial opener, with the Frenchman being a threat throughout.

On the rare occasions he was called upon in a defensive capacity, Sarr was solid, winning two defensive duels and 100 per cent of his tackles.

He was part of a backline that allowed just one shot on target, with the 22-year-old credited for blocking at least one of Tottenham’s attempts.

Callum Hudson-Odoi

Callum Hudson-Odoi made a claim to provide cover for Ben Chilwell

Selected out of position on the left wing in Thomas Tuchel’s new-look system, Callum Hudson-Odoi delivered a performance that suggests he could be an extra option in Ben Chilwell’s absence.

Hudson-Odoi linked up well with Sarr on the left, with the duo putting Tottenham’s right-hand side under all sorts of pressure.

The Englishman did not neglect his defensive duties either, with the two standout moments from that perspective being his effort get back and put Emerson off as he shot before tackling the right-back soon after.

He has failed to find a regular position to make his own under Tuchel, but Hudson-Odoi looked totally at home at wing-back on Wednesday.

Timo Werner

Timo Werner had a lively performance up front

Many have branded Timo Werner as a flop since he arrived at Chelsea from RB Leipzig for more than £50m ahead of last season.

With Romelu Lukaku leading the line, Werner was handed a role with more freedom behind the Belgian and he thrived.

His clever run and pull-back created the opportunity for Sarr to win the corner from which Rudiger scored.

While he only had two shots, he was successful with 100 per cent of his dribble and crossing attempts.

That suggests that Tuchel may finally have found a way to play Lukaku and Werner alongside each other, a welcome boost heading into the second-half of the season.