Chelsea twice came from behind against Championship side Luton Town to win 3-2 in the fifth round of the FA Cup. The Blues are through to the quarterfinals, thanks to goals from Saul, Werner, and Lukaku. Luton’s Reece Burke’s fine header gave them the lead right in the 2nd minute of the game. Saul Niguez equalized for the Blues which was also his first for them. However, Luton Town’s lead was restored by Harry Cornick just before half-time.
Timo Werner pulled Chelsea level with a second-half strike before Lukaku completed the comeback in the 78th minute. Luton Town didn’t prove to be a cakewalk for Chelsea as they were clearly made to do some work here. We learnt five things from the Blues’ performance against Luton Town.
Lukaku once again fails to deliver for Chelsea against Luton Town
Romelu Lukaku played quite a positive game in the League Cup final after coming-off the bench. Finally, everybody thought that he will click against Luton Town and help Chelsea ease past them. But Lukaku put-on another dismal performance against Luton. Though he scored, Lukaku was off-the-pace for the majority of the 90 minutes. His horrendous form continues for the Blues as he has consistently failed to bury easy chances. Moreover, Tuchel’s experiment of playing Kai Havertz in the number-9 position has delivered. Havertz looks unleashed whenever playing as the striker for Chelsea. Lukaku could soon be dropped to the bench more often if Tuchel is tempted to play Havertz as the striker only.
Saul Niguez finally found his feet
The Atletico Madrid loanee finally showcased his qualities against Luton Town. Saul is known for his versatility, which was missing since joining the Blues. Chelsea has recently dealt a blow with constant injuries to midfielders, and Tuchel trusted Saul to step up. The Spaniard exactly did the same in the FA Cup tie and also scored his first goal for Chelsea. Initially, Tuchel deployed Saul at the left wing-back position where he failed miserably. But his Chelsea spell came full circle against Luton Town, playing in his natural position. Saul had a massive 102 touches to the ball in his full 90 minutes and a total of 6 shots. His work rate is undoubted, and it remains to be seen whether Chelsea make his deal permanent in the summer.
Kenedy proves to be a considerable option in Ben Chilwell’s absence
Thomas Tuchel’s side has struggled to cope-up with Ben Chilwell’s long-term absence. The left-back suffered an ACL injury in November last year which ended his season. Tuchel was left with Marcos Alonso as the only option at the left-back, who has seen a decline in his form. Chelsea instead of signing a left-back in the winter transfer window recalled Kenedy from his loan spell at Flamengo. The Brazilian started for Chelsea against Luton Town and was quite a force on the left flank. Kenedy was pacy and full of confidence, with the aim of proving his mettle to the manager. His display was worth a gamble to give him more minutes in such a packed schedule.
Chelsea need a good summer transfer window
After winning the Champions League and UEFA Super Cup, Chelsea were expected to challenge for the title more aggressively. However, their title charge fell flat after they found themselves 13 points adrift of leaders Manchester City by December. Tuchel admitted that his team lacked quality depth after many players suffered injuries and coronavirus. Amidst a chaotic situation over the ownership, Chelsea should focus immensely on their summer window if they are to seriously win their first Premier League title since the 2016-17 season. A number of first-team players are out of contract in the summer and are highly tipped to leave. Striker Armando Borja and midfielder Conor Gallagher have impressed in their loan spells and are guaranteed chances by Tuchel next season. Still, the team needs a lot of improvement in the quantity as well as quality to compete for every trophy and not just the league title.
Crucial months up for Chelsea
Chelsea’s camp was quite an unsettled one after the news broke out that Roman Abramovich has put the club on sale. Since Russia invaded Ukraine, Abramovich is facing an immense backlash from the UK government. As a result, the Russian owner confirmed that he is selling the club, just a few hours before the Luton Town game. The news only hampered Chelsea’s confidence, who were on the back of losing the League Cup final to Liverpool. Thomas Tuchel was also fed up with answering questions over the war in his pre-match press conference. Chelsea will have to settle in quickly amidst the chaos as the next few months are going to define their season. Chelsea will now face a transitional period in its ownership, but the team has to perform consistently if they are to progress ahead in the FA Cup as well as the Champions League.