Chelsea deservedly beat Tottenham in the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final, but had so many chances they should have already sealed their place at Wembley.
Kai Havertz gave Chelsea an early lead when he ran onto Marcos Alonso’s through ball and fired home with Davinson Sanchez unable to keep the shot out on the line.
The Blues’ second was a comedy own goal as Japhet Tanganga headed the ball into team-mate Ben Davies’ shoulder and it flew into the net.
Romelu Lukaku, back in the team after a one-game exile for comments he made in an interview, had several chances and headed wide from close range.
Spurs, who changed to a back four after a torrid first half, had to wait until the 50th minute for a shot, with Harry Kane’s free-kick saved by Kepa.
But the chances continued to come for Chelsea with Hugo Lloris denying Lukaku, Hakim Ziyech and the returning Timo Werner.
Spurs will need to be much better in a week’s time in the second leg to have any chance of reaching Wembley.
Liverpool and Arsenal play in the other semi-final with their games on 13 and 20 January after the first leg rearranged because of Covid cases in the Liverpool camp.
Conte’s Spurs some way off still
Tottenham have looked much improved since former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte replaced Nuno Espirito Santo, only losing once in 11 games before this.
But the wait for a first trophy since the 2008 League Cup will surely go on – with many problems of their own making at Stamford Bridge.
Emerson Royal did not control a pass from Tanganga and Alonso nipped in to set up the opener.
And the second saw Ziyech swing in a free-kick with Spurs’ defenders doing the rest for him.
Most of the pre-match chat had been about Lukaku, who has apologised for an interview which saw him dropped for Chelsea’s draw with Liverpool.
He was involved on plenty of occasions, with several shots – including an effort straight at Lloris in injury time – and a good pass to Ziyech which the Moroccan should have finished.
Encouraging too was the return of Werner after injury, although he replaced Havertz, who injured his hand while scoring the opening goal, at the break.
The only real downside for Thomas Tuchel’s side is that they did not score with more of their 19 efforts to wrap up the tie.
BBC Radio 5 Live analysis
Former Chelsea winger Karen Carney: “Chelsea controlled everything tonight. They were back to their usual Chelsea self. It was a really good performance.
“Thomas Tuchel will be happy right now with the clean sheet and win but tomorrow when he reflects on it he’ll think ‘we’ve still left them in the tie’. It should have been done and dusted.
“With how poor Spurs were, they should have really gone for them. They should have put the whole semi-final to bed.”
Ex-Republic of Ireland striker Clinton Morrison: “Spurs aren’t out of it but it was comfortable for Chelsea. They were in second gear. It didn’t look like a semi-final for Spurs.
“It looked like they were going through the motions. They’re still in it if they can get the first goal next week.
“It was a flat performance. Who really thinks this is a big cup competition to win? Harry Kane was chasing things down but I didn’t see many others. You want to get to a final and lift some silverware.
“If Chelsea wanted to go to that next level, they could have. There was a lot left in the tank. 2-0 flattered Spurs.”
Rate players out of 10 throughout or after the game. The rater will close 30 minutes after the final whistle.
Rating range key1 = Give it up10 = Pure perfection
- 28AzpilicuetaSubstituted forValeat 90’minutes
- 31SarrBooked at 62mins
- 17SaúlSubstituted forLoftus-Cheekat 73’minutes
- 22ZiyechSubstituted forPulisicat 79’minutes
- 19MountSubstituted forKovacicat 73’minutes
- 29HavertzSubstituted forWernerat 45’minutes
- 6D Sánchez
- 12Emerson Royal
- 29SkippSubstituted forWinksat 73’minutes
- 2DohertySubstituted forNdombeleat 45’minutes
- 27Lucas MouraSubstituted forGilat 80’minutes
- 7Son Heung-MinSubstituted forLo Celsoat 79’minutes
- 18Lo Celso
- Craig Pawson
Match ends, Chelsea 2, Tottenham Hotspur 0.
Second Half ends, Chelsea 2, Tottenham Hotspur 0.
Attempt saved. Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Timo Werner.
Foul by Jorginho (Chelsea).
Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Jorginho (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Giovani Lo Celso (Tottenham Hotspur).
Substitution, Chelsea. Harvey Vale replaces César Azpilicueta because of an injury.
Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Davinson Sánchez.
Attempt saved. Giovani Lo Celso (Tottenham Hotspur) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Bryan Gil.
Foul by Mateo Kovacic (Chelsea).
Harry Winks (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt blocked. Marcos Alonso (Chelsea) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Christian Pulisic (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Ben Davies (Tottenham Hotspur).
Attempt missed. Japhet Tanganga (Tottenham Hotspur) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Giovani Lo Celso with a cross following a set piece situation.
Foul by Malang Sarr (Chelsea).
Emerson Royal (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur. Bryan Gil replaces Lucas Moura.
Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur. Giovani Lo Celso replaces Son Heung-Min.
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