Carabao Cup round-up: Frank Lampard’s Derby lose thriller at Chelsea
Arsenal are drawn against arch-rivals Tottenham in the quarter-finals
Chelsea 3 Derby County 2
Chelsea are through to the last eight of the Carabao Cup but only after an action-packed win against Derby County at Stamford Bridge.
The Rams, managed by Blues old boy Frank Lampard, ran their hosts close in a frenetic first half that produced five goals and had their fans believing another upset was on the cards to go with their victory over Manchester United earlier in the competition.
Derby may well have claimed another scalp had they not scored two own goals, through Fikayo Tomori and Richard Keogh. They were cancelled out by goals from Jack Marriott and Martyn Waghorn as Derby got back into contention in a crazy opening 27 minutes.
At 2-2 before the half-hour mark, the Rams’ visiting fans were in fine voice but they were silenced once more just before half-time when Cesc Fabregas scored what would turn out to be the winning goal.
A lucky man
There were chances at both ends in the second period and Derby substitute David Nugent hit the inside of the post in the last minute of normal time, but the Blues hung on to set up a quarter-final tie against Bournemouth.
Lampard, who played 648 times for Chelsea and is the club’s all-time leading goalscorer, was serenaded by home supporters during the match, and he was touched by the occasion, and also the performance of his players.
“I’m a lucky man to get that reaction both ends,” he said. “I struggled to sleep this afternoon. Sat up all afternoon staring at the ceiling. I was nervous and excited. It is home. Not my current home but my home for such a long time.
“I’ve been happy to come back and see a lot of friends. My overriding feeling is thanks to the fans of both clubs, and pride in the team.”
Arsenal stretched their unbeaten streak to 13 matches with a hard-fought win against Blackpool, a victory that sets up a quarter-final clash at home to Tottenham next month.
Spurs beat West Ham 3-1 - with Son Heung-min scoring twice - but the Gunners had a harder night at the Emirates, thanks to the hot-headedness of Matteo Guendouzi.
The French midfielder was sent off for a second booking on 55 minutes, leaving Arsenal to defend a two-goal lead established by 34-year-old Stephan Lichtsteiner and 18-year-old Emile Smith Rowe.
Paudie O’Connor headed in from a corner on 64 minutes to give Blackpool hope of a dramatic comeback, but the defender went from hero to villain ten minutes from time when he was shown a red for hacking down Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
With Arsenal and Tottenham meeting in the Premier League on 2 December, the north London rivalry will be revived just a fortnight later, and Unai Emery is looking forward to experiencing its intensity.
“Yes, I know this rivalry,” he said in response to a post-match question. “Not like you or like every supporter here in London or for supporters of Tottenham or Arsenal, but we are going to play against them in the Premier League or like now in the Carabao Cup and I am going to research a lot of information about this.”
Carabao Cup results, fixtures and draw
Last night’s fourth-round results
- Arsenal 2 Blackpool 1
- Chelsea 3 Derby County 2
- West Ham United 1 Tottenham Hotspur 3
- Middlesbrough 1 Crystal Palace 0
Tonight’s fourth-round fixture
- Manchester City vs. Fulham (7.45pm)
Carabao Cup quarter-final draw
Matches to be played week starting 17 December:
- Arsenal vs. Tottenham
- Leicester/Southampton vs. Manchester City/Fulham
- Middlesbrough vs. Burton
- Chelsea vs. Bournemouth