Hudson-Odoi, the full-back issue & Hazard’s frustration – 5 key points from Spurs 1-0 Chelsea – Football.London

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Hudson-Odoi’s performance

There has been so much talk surrounding Callum Hudson-Odoi and a potential move for the 18-year-old to Bayern Munich.

In the pre-match press conference, Maurizio Sarri spoke about the fact the youngster is now rated at the ‘same level’ as Willian and Pedro.

Those words were backed up with action as the young winger got to start the biggest game of his young career so far with the Blues.

But did he do enough to justify the £30million price tag that appears to be lumped on him, and could he handle the pressure of dealing with everything off the pitch as well as on it?

The youngster appeared cool, collected and looked impressive during the first half on the right wing.

There was something slightly missing from his game though, as it would have been nice to see him attack Danny Rose more and use his pace against the left-back.

In the second half, he actually looked a lot more isolated in his more natural position on the left.

Callum Hudson-Odoi (Image: Adrian DENNIS / AFP)

However, the performance as a whole was another step to prove that Chelsea need to keep a player who could be a big star for them in the future.

The full-back situation

Cesar Azpilicueta has been a truly superb servant to Chelsea during his time with the club so far. He remains an integral part of the side, a leader on the pitch and a player that gives everything every time he plays.

Marcos Alonso has also had some superb moments for the Blues since joining ahead of Antonio Conte’s first season.

He was a key reason for why Conte’s 3-4-3 worked so well, getting up and down the left flank, putting in some impressive shifts and also scoring some big goals.

But at the moment, the full-back situation just doesn’t seem to be working. Alonso is in a real dip of form recently, having started the season quite brightly under Sarri.

It seems odd that the Italian hasn’t given Emerson Palmieri more of a chance to show what he can do in that position, as the Italy international has impressed when he has played this season.

The right-back role is a little more tricky. Azpilicueta continues to be a superb defender when the Blues need, but he lacks the attacking instinct that a modern day full-back often has.

They are key positions to teams these days, providing so much of the team on both sides of the pitch, but right now the Blues might need something of a change.

Marcos Alonso of Chelsea is fouled by Erik Lamela (Image: Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Eden Hazard’s frustration

Eden Hazard was back leading the line for the Blues last night, with Alvaro Morata suffering a hamstring injury and Olivier Giroud just coming back from injury himself.

The 28-year-old went through something of a battering. The Belgian was fouled seven times during the match, the most he has had this season.

But it was the frustration that was obviously there for him, especially during the first half, which is something that played right into the hands of Spurs.

Hazard was so desperate for the ball, wanting to get it in spaces, that he actually dropped so deep that Mauricio Pochettino described him more as an ‘attacking midfielder’.

That would have been one of the games where Hazard would not have liked playing as a false nine. The service into him was not great, and the fact that Spurs sat deeper meant he had a tougher task to find any space behind.

Sarri will certainly stick with Hazard in that role, unless a new striker comes in, and hopefully for Chelsea fans he doesn’t have many more frustrating.

The tie is not over yet

Of course a 1-0 defeat is a disappointing result, but Chelsea are nowhere near out of the tie and that is an important thing to remember.

You can’t forget as well that there is no away goal rule in the Carabao Cup, so the fact that the Blues did not manage to score at Wembley is not really the biggest issue.

Of course there are some worrying facts about the performance. Once again, the lack of incision in the final third is a growing concern, with the Blues unable to break through.

They hit the post twice, while Andreas Christensen missed an absolute sitter in the second half.

But the fact that the Blues were unable to turn that possession domination into something massively constructive surely has to be a concern.

It was also the third defeat to Spurs in a row, the first time that has happened since 1963, and the noisy neighbours on the other side of London are starting to get their tails up when the two teams face up against each other.

But the tie is not over, and it’s an opportunity to put things right at Stamford Bridge.

The VAR debate

Even though his Spurs side won a penalty thanks to VAR, Pochettino absolutely hates the technology right now.

As Sarri pointed out as well, the fact that VAR is not used in the Premier League but is then rolled out for the FA Cup and Carabao Cup is strange.

Sarri was angry with the fact the linesman stopped running and appeared to flag for offside, rather than keeping up with play and going with it until the foul was actually committed.

That movement did make the Chelsea players stop, while Kepa Arrizabalaga also stuttered to come out before eventually committing himself.

So while there is some truth to it, the fact is you are taught as a kid that you don’t stop until the referee’s whistle is blown.

If that had happened then they might well have been able to prevent the penalty from taking place.

However, VAR and it’s interpretation in the English game is still flawed at the moment, but the Premier League has to get ready as it is being rolled out fully next season.

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