Five things we learnt as Chelsea beat Tottenham to win the Capital One Cup final

Chelsea's experience tells in victory but this Spurs team have a bright future

Click to follow
The Independent Football

1) Experienced heads prevail

Tottenham started well and were the better team in the first half, aided by a defensive Jose Mourinho team selection that encouraged Spurs onto the front foot. But even before John Terry scored an unlikely deflected goal right on the stroke of half-time, the Blues were never out of control. Tottenham looked more threatening but apart from a brilliant Christian Eriksen free-kick (that Petr Cech may even have had covered) they created nothing. Of the 11 Chelsea players that started, Kurt Zouma is the only one without a cabinet full of winners' medals and experience on the very highest stage - the Champions League and the World Cup. Chelsea know what it takes to win, Spurs are still learning.

2) Zou beauty

When the team sheets were handed it out there was some confusion as to whether Mourinho had decided to go for three at the back or whether he would play 20-year-old Kurt Zouma or England defender Gary Cahill as a holding midfielder. Cahill had done it briefly in the 1-1 draw with Manchester City and was the consensus pick. It was the raw but talented Frenchman who got the nod, and he was a revelation. While Cahill is better technically than Zouma, the Chelsea No 5 was able to get around the pitch and disrupt the Spurs midfield - specifically playmaker Christian Eriksen. The Dane's only moment of note was the free-kick, he was marked out of the game by Zouma, who also impressed in possession, keeping it simple and giving it to the more talented players around him.

Diego Costa celebrates Chelsea second

3) Power moves

With Zouma in midfield, Chelsea effectively played four centre-backs; it showed. Mourinho's team dominated when the ball was in the air and at the set-piece - their only threat in the first-half came from the late free-kick from which Terry scored. Spurs had their heart in their mouths every time the ball went into the box, while they were able to defend corners and crosses they faced with relative ease. But it wasn't just those four, the 6ft 5in Cech was able to go where opposite number Hugo Lloris (6ft 2in) was not, Ramires and Willian aren't the biggest pair, but their athleticism and work rate are unmatched, while Diego Costa played the pantomime villain again. Chelsea won loose balls, 50/50s and outfought Tottenham, who couldn't match their bigger, more wily opponents.


4) Kane not able

Tottenham's biggest hopes rested on the broad shoulders of their brilliant young striker Harry Kane, but he failed to make a real impact on the game. Kane, the in-form striker in the country, was expertly marshalled by Cahill, but especially Terry. The former England captain won the majority of aerial balls and afforded the youngster just enough room to stop him from wreaking true havoc - in the 5-3 game at White Hart Lane, Terry attempted to get close to Kane and the younger man exposed his lack of pace. Terry learnt and this time Kane was able to receive the ball but never get on the front foot, he was always going backwards. Only once, early in the game, did Kane drive at the defence, going past three players to earn a dangerous free-kick. When the 21-year-old - who has to start for England next month - finally did get some room in the box late in the game, it was Terry who produced a perfect last-ditch sliding tackle to thwart him.

Tottenham's players despondent and dejected at the final whistle

5) Tottenham's bright future

Tottenham may have lacked the know-how to win the 2015 Capital One Cup final, but playing - and playing pretty well - is only going to help them in the next stage of their development. The oldest player in Mauricio Pochettino's starting team was captain Lloris at 28, while nine were 25 or younger. Players like Bentaleb (20), Kane (21) and Dier (21) have only become first-team regulars in the last year or so and are only going to get better the more they play in games of this magnitude and intensity. They might have trudged off the Wembley turf with envious stares at their more storied opposition, but Pochettino and his players are heading for a bright future.