Five things we learned about Chelsea in midweek

The west London side progressed to the quarter-finals of the Capital One Cup with a 2-0 victory over Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.

Jose Mourinho gave some of his fringe players an outing in their 2-0 win over Arsenal on Tuesday night, with Cesar Azpilicueta and Juan Mata getting the decisive goals.

With key figures rested, a number of players held their hands up for consistent inclusion. Here are five things that were evident in the Blues’ victory.

Mata too good to be left out

The Spanish playmaker has went from a key player to fringe figure since Jose Mourinho returned to Stamford Bridge, but his quality was there for all to see against Arsenal.

Despite the quality vying for a place in the Chelsea attacking midfield berths, surely Mata has done enough in recent times to win his place in the starting XI back.

Azpilicueta impressive in victory

Cesar Azpilicueta is another Spaniard that has been out of the team more than he has been in it, with Branislav Ivanovic the usual incumbent at right-back.

However, the former Marseille man showed excellent attributes both defensively and going forward. He got the opener for the visitors and looked like an enterprising outlet on the offensive, while also dealt with the threat of Tomas Rosicky and Santi Cazorla confidently.

Could Essien have a more important role to play?

The Chelsea captain for the night turned back the years with an assertive and physical performance, limiting Arsenal’s attacking space and playing his part in the Blues’ possession game.

With no designated regular enforcer in the Chelsea first XI, Essien has reminded Mourinho and the Chelsea fans of his destructive abilities in the boiler room, and could play a more prominent role in the near future.

Bertrand solid at left-back

Ryan Bertrand had a rare chance to feature at left-back, and put in a solid and competent performance. With Ashley Cole’s future still to be decided after this season, the English defender was earmarked as the veteran’s long-term replacement before Mourinho’s return.

However, Bertrand has had few chances to impress, and as such will have relished this opportunity to show what he is capable of.

Blues gathering momentum

The win continues the momentum that Chelsea have built-up since their shock defeat to Basel in September, and Mourinho’s men are starting to look like real contenders across a number of competitions.

The sheer amount of quality players available to the Portuguese coach will be the envy of rival managers, and the west London side will take some stopping this term in their assault domestically and on the continent.

image: © Jason Bagley

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