Chelsea reached the Carabao Cup final by blowing away Chelsea reached the Carabao Cup final by blowing away second-tier Middlesbrough to seal a 6-2 aggregate victory.
Middlesbrough had arrived at Stamford Bridge with a 1-0 lead from the first leg, but Chelsea’s dominant performance in the second leg sealed their spot at Wembley on February 25.
The first half saw Chelsea display their prowess as they scored four goals. Jonny Howson’s own goal, along with strikes from Enzo Fernandez, Axel Disasi, and Cole Palmer, propelled Chelsea ahead. Palmer netted his second goal, and Noni Madueke contributed to the rout, while Morgan Rogers managed to score a consolation for Middlesbrough.
Chelsea’s triumph ensures they will face either Liverpool or Fulham in the final. The outcome of the other semi-final between Liverpool and Fulham would determine their opponent.
Most domestic cup finals reached by ‘Big Six’ sides since 2000:
18 – Chelsea
12 – Man Utd
11 – Arsenal
10 – Liverpool, Man City
5 – Tottenham
Mind the gap. ⚠️ pic.twitter.com/DBxTvOKLki
— Squawka (@Squawka) January 23, 2024
The turning point in the Chelsea-Middlesbrough match occurred 15 minutes into the game when Ben Chilwell, making his first club start in 118 days, created an opening with a precise through ball. Raheem Sterling’s pass towards Armando Broja led to an own goal by Boro captain Jonny Howson.
The error-prone Middlesbrough defense contributed to Chelsea’s third and fourth goals. Matt Clarke’s loose pass initiated a counterattack that resulted in Disasi finding the net, and Dan Barlaser’s loss of possession allowed Palmer to slot the ball past Boro’s goalkeeper.
Although Rogers managed to pull one back for Middlesbrough, Chelsea had already secured their place in the final with a commanding lead.
Chelsea’s offensive efficiency contrasted sharply with their previous match at Riverside Stadium, where they had 18 shots without scoring. Middlesbrough, dealing with injuries and absent players, found themselves overwhelmed by Chelsea’s Premier League quality and clinical finishing. The victory marked Chelsea’s first major final since co-owner Todd Boehly completed his takeover in May 2022.