Much divided opinion around Lukaku’s attempted goal in yesterday’s Carabao Cup final as VAR rules it out as offside
Yesterday’s Carabao Cup final was nothing less than a spectacle. The most awaited clash between two European heavyweights; Chelsea and Liverpool concluded with a dramatic draw as neither team was separated after a tiresomely long 120 minutes of play. Kepa’s penalty nightmare, Mason Mount & Christian Pulisic’s missed sitters and Romelu Lukaku’s ‘offside’ goal were among the most exciting prospects of last night’s competition. Following a goalless game, the fate of the teams was left to be decided by penalties.
Even after expending all of the players, both the teams still stood level. The final showdown was between the keepers; Kepa Arrizabalaga, who was strategically substituted in place of Edouard Mendy, and Caoimhin Kelleher.
Liverpool won the nail-biting penalty shootout marathon against Chelsea, after it was stretched indefinitely. Kelleher secured his shot while Kepa Arrizabalaga, who is Chelsea’s wonder kid when it comes to penalties, blasted his shot way over the crossbar, sending the Liverpool fans delirious in the background.
Lukaku’s controversial goal that was termed offside by VAR and how it could’ve changed the trajectory of the game had it not been disallowed
Romelu Lukaku featured his presence on the field after being introduced on for Mason Mount.
Trevoh Chalobah’s beautiful run while carrying the ball over to the halfway line found the foot of Romelu Lukaku, who then proceeded to register the goal into the net from inside the box. It was momentary bliss for the Blues as the linesman showed a red flag in response to the clinical finish.
This decision was crucial to the result as it came in the first-half of the extra time. Had the goal been awarded to the striker, Chelsea would have sealed the victory right there, right then.
Analysis of the goal
On technical grounds, the dissection of a goal that is ruled offside requires a painful and an in-depth analysis. Sometimes, the nature of the goal is so ambiguous that a decision can border on either side of spectrum. In some cases, it is mathematically impossible to even determine the factors that justify a goal as offside. Lukaku’s goal was one such example.
Chelsea’s two more attempted goals were marked offside by VAR but there was little to no contest on the decision. However, Lukaku’s goal sent an entire audience of people, both on the internet and the stadium, into a frenzy. Fans and even the Blues Boss, Thomas Tuchel, expressed signs of confusion over the decision surrounding the controversial goal. Here’s what Tuchel said on the matter:
“I had the feeling we created a bit more, were a bit more there, but maybe that is subjective. The game could’ve gone either way, we needed some momentum to win it”.
“It’s a bit of a weird line where it is drawn and then to make the decision it’s offside.”
“The (offside goal) from Romelu is a very close call, and very close line. I don’t fully understand where the line is drawn, so there’s a bit of bad feelings about this goal”.
🗣 "Maybe I don't understand fully where the line is drawn."
Thomas Tuchel is questioned about the tight call to disallow Romelu Lukaku's goal for offside pic.twitter.com/hJoW6hY49o
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) February 27, 2022
According to the professionals, Lukaku’s upper part of the arm was offside.
The divide of opinions comes into play when the lines are considered. It appears as if the VAR officials considered a part of his sleeve to be offside whereas the majority of his body was onside.
Fans over the internet are sharing countless replays, from different angles, to justify Lukaku was onside. However, many believe it was a very close call.
In such cases of extremely close calls, it is believed that a player should be awarded the goal.
It normally takes them 5 minutes for obvious offsides. That Lukaku one was a hairline call and they took 15 seconds pic.twitter.com/WXVendTqoG
— Has the Referee or VAR made a poor decision? (@PoorEPLreferees) February 27, 2022
Lukaku's arm hair was offside, how f*cking ridiculous.
— Simon Phillips (@siphillipssport) February 27, 2022
Lukaku’s goal chalked off because his Armpit was offside, Keita didn’t see red for this challenge lmao it’s laughable how VAR and the referee robbed Chelsea today pic.twitter.com/zhpO9Zd9iZ
— #10 (@HxnchoCFC) February 27, 2022
Predicted XI: Chelsea’s possible lineup against Brentford
Chelsea are back in Premier League action today, following the two-week international break. The Blues are readying to host Brentford – who are among the seven teams scrapping to stay in the League – at Stamford Bridge. Here, we will take a look at Chelsea’s possible lineup against Brentford.
Chelsea are staring down the barrel of tough fixtures this month. With Champions League quarter-final fixture against Real Madrid coming up just 3 days following today’s clash, Thomas Tuchel is presented with a tough test of picking the team for Brentford.
Tuchel will undoubtedly consider Wednesday’s meeting with Real Madrid while navigating the selection headache, suggesting that the key players will likely be rested. Despite that, Tuchel has great cause for optimism as the season draws to its close considering the amount of good options available in the sqaud.
Thomas Tuchel is no stranger to a selection curveball in big games considering Chelsea’s injury and COVID-19 disruptions this season, which inevitably caused them to fall behind in the title race but luckily, the only fitness concern he currently has to contend with is Ben Chilwell and Callum Hudson-Odoi‘s long-term injuries.
Besides the two guaranteed absentees, Christian Pulisic will also miss today’s game as confirmed by Thomas Tuchel in his pre-match conference. Tuchel admitted Pulisic didn’t train with the squad after returning from international duty with the USMNT.
“For Christian, we have to decide. He didn’t train today. We gave him a recovery session,” Tuchel said.
“He was here but very tired with the jet lag and time difference. So we have to figure out of it makes sense to play him tomorrow and for how many minutes.”
Reece James will be in contention to play today’s fixture after returning to fitness following another hamstring injury. James was involved in full training ahead of today’s fixture, however, his selection is still uncertain as it’s likely Tuchel wouldn’t want to rush him back to action too soon and could instead preserve him for next week’s Real Madrid clash.
Thiago Silva is also expected to feature in today’s clash despite traveling with Brazil. Thomas Tuchel was confident about his availability. The blues boss said;
“Thiago is a bit different to Christian, I have to say. Thiago did not play the third match with Brazil, came back one day earlier and had not the same jet lag as Christian.
“Thiago was here yesterday and trained today, feels very good so he is available tomorrow”.
Predicted Chelsea XI: Mendy; Christensen/Azpilicueta, Silva, Rudiger; James/Kovačić, Kante, Jorginho, Alonso; Mount, Havertz, Werner.
The official team news will be posted an hour before the kick-off time.
Updates from Cobham: Callum Hudson-Odoi and Reece James return to training ahead of Brentford clash
Callum Hudson-Odoi and Reece James have been on and off from training due to injury challenges but were spotted at Cobham yesterday to prepare for Brentford
According to Chelsea’s official website, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Reece James were seen training alongside other teammates, readying themselves for a potential feature in the upcoming Brentford fixture.
Injury crisis is a leading concern in physical sports. When it comes to football, injuries can greatly impact team performance as it can leave even key players sidelined for days, consequently damaging the team’s chances of success.
Just like any other team, Chelsea also fell victim to injury troubles, due to which, they endured an alarming slump – Plaguing the entire squad and adding misery to the club’s title hopes this season. Thomas Tuchel has been dealing with continuous injury and COVID-19 disruptions since the start of December.
That is when Reece James was condemned to an unfortunate injury that saw him withdrawn from the squad for quite a while. Since Tuchel’s system is largely dependent on the strategic use of his wing-backs, having to compromise on James and Chilwell’s crucial skills saw Chelsea drop from first to third in the Premier League.
The defender recently returned to first-team after recovering from a long spell of hamstring injury, however, he was reinjured following the Burnley clash during the starting week of March and has been absent from training since.
Upon examination, it was declared that James had sustained yet another hamstring injury, but fortunately, it wasn’t a repeat to the same leg and wasn’t as bad either. But, the player was advised to rest for 2 weeks initially, which was later extended to three.
Reece James was also called to represent England internationally during the break, however, Chelsea’s medical team didn’t see him fit and advised against his selection.
Callum Hudson-Odoi on the other hand, has been out of training, on and off, due to an Achilles injury. CHO hasn’t played since the win at Luton Town on 2nd March.
However, both Callum Hudson-Odoi and Reece James have now returned to fitness and will be in contention to start against Brentford this Saturday.
Additionally, Hakim Ziyech, Kepa Arrizabalaga, Malang Sarr, Romelu Lukaku and Ruben Loftus Cheek were also snapped training for the upcoming fixtures.
'Very, very good guys!' 👏 pic.twitter.com/8lDiza3613
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) March 30, 2022
Jorginho, who was representing Italy in the World Cup qualifiers, was also among those training at Cobham as he was sent back early after Italy’s defeat.
Chelsea have key fixtures coming up in the month of April including Premier League, Champions League as well as FA Cup games. It’s going to be a tough challenge for the club to navigate considering the fixture congestion, hence, having all players fit to start will be a boost for Thomas Tuchel.
Team news ahead of Chelsea’s Champions League encounter with Lille on Wednesday
Thomas Tuchel provided team news in today’s press-conference ahead of Chelsea’s upcoming Champions League fixture
Thomas Tuchel revealed some team news in today’s live press-conference ahead of Chelsea’s next Champions League encounter. Kai Havertz also talked to the media.
Chelsea are set to prepare for a trip to Northern France tomorrow, where they will face Lille in Champions League round of 16, second leg. The blues have a 2-goal aggregate advantage over Lille from the first leg, and will look to claw their way to the Champions League summit, in the obvious hopes of retaining their European crown.
Kai Havertz, who has been in glittering form for Chelsea recently, was one of the players to register himself on the scoresheet through a header, early on into the first leg clash against Lille. Following him, was Christian Pulisic, who also recorded a beautiful finish for Chelsea, assisted by N’Golo Kante, finally sealing the game.
The Blues now look forward to booking their spot in the quarter-finals of the Champions League by producing yet another top performance to finish the job against their counterparts.
Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso are expected to start as confirmed by Thomas Tuchel in today’s press conference.
Azpilicueta was called off against Norwich after the defender complained of stomach issues. He sat out the Newcastle United game as well, but is reportedly fit now to feature in the upcoming match.
Marcos Alonso, who was out on account of covid-19, was also seen back on the bench for Chelsea against Newcastle United on Sunday. Him, along with Azpilicueta, will be featuring a start in the Champions League fixture on Wednesday as well.
Reece James and Callum Hudson Odoi, however, are huge doubts. Reece James was recently reinjured, owing to a hamstring injury, while Hudson Odoi had been battling a reported Achilles injury. Hence, their availability remains uncertain as of now.
“I think Marcos is ready to start, Azpi is ready to start. We will try to have Reece and Callum later in training but will be a very tight race. We will take this decision after the training session. They were not involved. Let’s see if it is worth the risk, it will be very tight with these two.” – Chelsea Boss, Thomas Tuchel in today’s press-conference
Acknowledging Lille’s recent recapturing of form in domestic matches, Thomas Tuchel said;
“To be honest, I think they played well at Stamford Bridge. They were very physical, attacked high up the pitch. It was impressive. They had a good pressing game, were very brave, and had the mentality they had nothing to lose”,
“They will play an attacking 4-4-2 that is aggressive, fluid and direct. We’ll have to be ready for that. But we are also confident in ourselves. It’s half time right now. No match is decided by a 2-0 scoreline. The second half is tomorrow and we’ll have to produce another top performance. I think Lille played on Friday so they’ve had a good amount of time to recover. That is why we have to be ready physically and mentally for a tough game”.
Lille have a little advantage of 2 day’s rest over the Blues, as they have had congested Premier League fixtures. However, Tuchel’s side are known to thrive on chaos. They are no strangers to pressure and have navigated through even tougher challenges; especially the one currently prevailing them. Despite their off-pitch woes, their attention and focus ramain on winning matches as shown in their recent unbeaten run.