Carabao Cup Match Review: Chelsea vs Nottingham Forest
Chelsea encountered few troubles against Nottingham Forest as the Premier League champions booked a place among the EFL Cup’s last 16. Eden Hazard provided two assists on his first club start of the season and Michy Batshuayi scored a hat-trick as Chelsea eased into the EFL Cup fourth round with a 5-1 win over Nottingham Forest. After three straight substitute appearances, Hazard looked back to his creative best following ankle surgery in guiding the heavily-rotated Blues past their outclassed Championship opposition.
Batshuayi, Charly Musonda and Kenedy were all included as part of nine changes to the side that drew 0-0 with Arsenal at the weekend and the trio all netted in a fluent first half. The latter was making his first appearance since being sent home from a pre-season tour of China and set the hosts on their way with an early opener. Batshuayi added a second after half-time to go with Musonda’s debut goal for the club before the Belgian completed his treble with four minutes left as Antonio Conte’s side comfortably accounted for the second-tier visitors, who pulled one back through Tendayi Darikwa in stoppage time. The hosts only needed 13 minutes to make the breakthrough as Antonio Rudiger stepped forward from the back and dropped an inch-perfect cross to the far post for Kenedy to volley in at close range.
It was 2-0 just six minutes later when Hazard slipped Batshuayi through a static defence, the striker forcing a low finish through Stephen Henderson. Hazard was already turning on the party tricks by the 25th minute as he skilfully released Kenedy down the left, but the Brazilian’s inviting cross was just beyond Batshuayi’s reach. Forest were restricted to attacking solely from set-pieces by that stage, although they did almost cut the deficit in eye-catching fashion when Everton loanee Kieran Dowell curled a classy free-kick against the crossbar. Instead, it was the Premier League champions who made it 3-0 shortly before the break with Musonda firing low and hard into the bottom far corner following Cesc Fabregas’ inventive pass.
That combination almost paid dividends once more on the stroke of half-time with Fabregas lofting a superb pass over the back four, but Musonda’s first-time chip over the onrushing Henderson drifted wide of the upright. Hazard squared the ledger of shots against the woodwork within five minutes of the restart when, off one step, he speared a drive from outside the area which came back off the right post. The 26-year-old chose to turn provider for a second time in the 53rd minute, shaking off Henderson in a one-on-one before unselfishly passing to Batshuayi to finish calmly past Forest’s recovering defenders. Batshuayi fortuitously completed his hat-trick late on when Kenedy’s rifled shot ricocheted in off the striker after coming back off the crossbar, before the visitors grabbed a consolation with the last kick off the game courtesy of Darikwa, who put the finishing touches on a tidy counter-attack.