The headlines in the red tops on Wednesday will be all about the pressure on Jose Mourinho, after Chelsea were knocked out of the cup at Stoke on Tuesday night.But left unsaid will be the mistakes that his senior players, like Eden Hazard and Gary Cahill are uncharacteristically making, mistakes that are costing Chelsea games at the moment.
At the Britannia Stadium, Jon Walters put Stoke ahead with a terrific 20-yard shot, but he got the time and space to take the shot because Cahill was playing two yards off him and never went to close down the Stoke striker when the ball arrived to him. It was schoolboy defending from the England international.
It looked like Chelsea were heading out of the competition in normal time, but then substitute Loic Remy, on for the injured Diego Costa, lashed home an injury-time equaliser to make the score 1-1. Blues fans around the world had to wonder if that goal was the one to jump-start their season.
After scoreless extra-time we went to penalties and the first nine penalties of the shootout were all scored, only for the out-of-form Eden Hazard to see his tenth spot-kick parried by Stoke goalkeeper Jack Butland.
Hazard was largely invisible for long periods of the game, and if Chelsea are to save their season, and if Mourinho is to save his job, they need the Premier League’s Player of the Year to quickly regain his form.
What a difference a week makes for Arsenal fans. A week ago Gooners were celebrating the team’s 2-0 victory over Bayern Munich in the Champions League. Fast forward a week and those same fans saw their side well beaten by Championship side Sheffield Wednesday 3-0. It was a costly defeat for Arsene Wenger’s side as the Gunners lost both Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott to injury in the first half.
Ross Wallace put Wednesday ahead after 27 minutes and then teed up Lucas Joao for the hosts’ second goal shortly before half-time, with Sam Hutchinson completing victory early in the second period.
Arsenal was not the only Premier League side to lose away to a Championship side. Premier League high flyers Leicester City lost to Hull City 5-4 on penalties after a 1-1 draw, while Everton also needed penalties to beat Norwich City, 4-3, following another 1-1 draw.