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Chelsea vs Nottingham Forest: 5 things we learned as Batshuayi fires Blues into next round

The Blues breezed past Forest to secure a Fourth Round tie at home to Everton.

A Michy Batshuayi hat-trick and two assists from Eden Hazard on his first start of the season fired Chelsea into the Fourth Round of the Carabao Cup against a struggling Nottingham Forest side.

Antonio Conte made nine changes to the starting XI that drew 0-0 with Arsenal on the weekend, but he fielded a strong lineup incorporating a careful blend of both youth and experience.

Eden Hazard, Cesc Fabregas and Tiemoue Bakayoko all started, with Fabregas having a hand in all three goals before the halftime whistle.

The Spaniard was involved in the build-up to Kenedy’s opener, whilst he won back possession for Batshuayi’s second and played a neat pass to set up Charly Musonda for a goal on his full debut for the club.

Hazard selflessly set up Batshuayi for his second to make it 4-0, whilst the Belgian knew very little about his third as Kenedy's fierce striker ricocheted off the frame of the goal, against Batshuayi and into the net.

Kieran Dowell hit the bar from a thunderous free-kick for Nottingham Forest, and Tendayi Darikwa gave the travelling fans something to cheer about as he netted a consolation late on.

Here are five things we learned from Stamford Bridge.

  1. 1 Musonda ready for a squad role

    Despite the claims Chelsea's aim is to produce youth to sell for a profit, Conte made a point of handing a debut to Charly Musonda, who's been at the club since he was 15.

    Now 20, the Belgian impressed on the right side of Chelsea's front three and even added a goal in front of the Blues' faithful.

    After fine work from Fabregas, Musonda powered the ball low past the Forest 'keeper at his near post. It was a fantastic finish that brought the forward close to tears, overcome with emotion at scoring on his full Stamford Bridge debut.

    We learned that Musonda, whilst not yet first team ready, can provide a valuable squad option for Conte, and one that's capable of finding the goal. Expect more opportunities for the youngster.

  2. 2 Fire Hazards

    Eden Hazard made his first start for Chelsea last night and boy oh boy was he raring to go.

    Granted, one of the world's best players would find it fairly straightforward against Nottingham Forest, a Championship club, but he didn't at all look rusty or off the pace.

    After scoring against Qarabag in the Champions League this time last week, the Belgian added two assists to his tally last night, setting up Batshuayi's first with a neat pass and his brilliant act of selflessness put Chelsea's fourth on a plate for his compatriot.

    Hazard did all the hard work, utilising his typical array of flicks and tricks to drive into the box, before dummying the defenders and realising Batshuayi had a better angle to find the net, therefore squaring it for his teammate to finish.

    He also hit the post with a right-footed strike from 18 yards and looked imperious ahead of this Saturday's away day at Stoke. 

  3. 3 Batshuayi deserves a chance

    Considering the money spent on Alvaro Morata, it's understandable that the Spaniard is Conte's undisputed number one...

    ...at present, but for how long will that last?

    Michy Batshuayi is steadily improving his reputation at Stamford Bridge and earning recognition from his previously untrusting manager. Another three goals will do him no harm.

    His first and second were two good poacher's finishes and although he knew little about his third, a deflected effort from Kenedy's fierce striker, it showed an awareness to get into potential goal-scoring positions, a must for any striker worth their salt.

    He offers a different option to Morata and perhaps it's time Conte pays him more heed, giving him a chance in the Premier League. Four goals in six games is a record worth paying attention to.

  4. 4 Kenedy returns

    After insulting a nation of 1.4 billion people, subsequently receiving his marching orders from Chelsea's pre-season tour of the Far East and public reprimand from the club, it was unclear whether Kenedy would ever play for the Blues again.

    However, Conte restored him to the starting XI in place of Marcos Alonso and the Brazilian impressed on his return.

    It took just 13 minutes for Kenedy to make amends with the fans as he rifled home Antonio Rudiger's cross with a controlled volley.

    It was clear he focussed his frustration into the first-time shot and his continuous shuttles up and down the left flank suggested that he was eager to make up for lost time.

    With a solid performance against Forest under his belt, Conte may feel it's time to reintegrate him back into the squad permanently, providing a crucial back up to Alonso in what will be a testing season.

  5. 5 They key to the lock

    It's already been repeatedly noted that Chelsea lack a certain edge to their attacking game with Eden Hazard, but after last night's game I'm inclined to suggest that Cesc Fabregas is just as important as the Belgian.

    The 30-year-old had a hand in all three of the first half goals, involved in the build-up to Kenedy's first, winning possession and starting the move for Batshuayi's first and assisting the Belgian for his second.

    Without Fabregas, the Blues lack a key creative thrust in the centre of midfield, with none of N'Golo Kante, Tiemoue Bakayoko or Danny Drinkwater capable of doing what the Spaniard does.

    Particularly against compact, narrow defences in which space is denied, Hazard will find it more difficult than usual, which is Fabregas takes over.

  1. POLL: Who was Chelsea's Man of the Match?

    1. Eden Hazard
    2. Michy Batshuayi
    3. Charly Musonda
    4. Kenedy
    58 votes
    Share Your Result

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Andrew Gardner

Third generation Chelsea fan. Full time father. Part time blogger.

Chelsea vs Nottingham Forest: 5 things we learned as Batshuayi fires Blues into next round

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