Chelsea ensured they booked their place in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals after a 2-0 win over Blackburn Rovers on Wednesday night at Stamford Bridge.
Benoit Badiashile netted on his first appearance of the season, slotting home in front of the Shed End on the half hour mark.
Raheem Sterling doubled the lead in the 59th minute with a curling finish to seal Chelsea’s spot in the quarter-finals.
Here are five things Absolute Chelsea learned from Wednesday’s cup tie in the capital.
1) Quarter-final place booked
Chelsea were expected to go through, even more so with the team Pochettino named, and they made no mistake of booking their place in the quarter-finals, and just two wins away from Wembley.
The Carabao Cup is likely to best Chelsea’s best chance of winning silverware this season and the Blues firmly put the defeat to Brentford behind them.
2) Benoit Badiashile returns with a bang
The 22-year-old returned for the first time this season following a long-term absence due to a hamstring injury. Badiashile looked comfortable, as you would expect, against the Championship side alongside Axel Disasi, who he played with at AS Monaco.
Badiashile broke the deadlock in the 30th minute, a cool finish any of the Chelsea players would’ve been delighted to have taken.
3) Taking no chances with team selection
Pochettino delivered on his pre-match promise of going strong against Blackburn. He made four changes for the cup tie, bringing in Reece James, Badiashile, Enzo Fernandez and Lesley Ugochukwu into the team.
James brought a lively intent and could’ve had two goals in the first half. Fernandez dominated the midfield with Ugochukwu, whilst Badiashile was the catalyst to push Chelsea into the quarter-finals. Four changes made, all four justified.
4) Confidence builder to bounce back at first attempt
After a run of four games without defeat, Chelsea were hit with an obstacle after their 2-0 defeat to Brentford at the weekend. Albeit expected, they comfortably put Blackburn away to progress into the quarter-finals and to get back to winning ways, at a perfect tine ahead of a tough run that awaits.
Tests will come much harder for Chelsea, starting on Monday away to Spurs and then against Man City, but all Pochettino’s side could do was beat Blackburn and they did just that.
5) The biggest game of the season awaits
Chelsea needed to win against Blackburn, they did. But now they head across the capital next to face Tottenham Hotspur, Pochettino’s old club, in north London next Monday.
Spurs are top of the Premier League. London bragging rights are up for grabs. Pochettino will not want to lose to his former side. Chelsea didn’t need to be at their best against Blackburn, but they will on Monday. If there is a time to be clinical and ruthless, it comes next week.
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