Bradford offer Chelsea chance to correct chinks in armour that Liverpool and Spurs exposed

The evidence of Tuesday’s League Cup semi-final first leg at Anfield suggests that the flaw that Chelsea's defence is vulnerable to anybody who runs at its heart.

Chelsea's Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois came under pressure after the defensive frailties came to the fore at Anfield on January 20. Paul Ellis / AFP
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It did not take long for talk of Chelsea’s collapse to disappear.

Less than three weeks after their 5-3 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur, a result that left them level at the top with Manchester City, goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was proudly declaring this a squad that is capable of winning four trophies this season.

He did not really say that, despite what the headlines declared: he was asked if Chelsea could win all four trophies and, understandably, felt he could not say no.

But the point remains that the narrative has shifted. Suddenly the media is talking about mighty Chelsea again rather than vulnerable Chelsea.

Yet the evidence of Tuesday’s League Cup semi-final first leg at Anfield suggests that the flaw that has emerged in this Chelsea – that their defence is vulnerable to anybody who runs at its heart – remains as pertinent as ever.

In a generally excellent Liverpool performance, their passing crisp and inventive, Raheem Sterling stood out. He dropped deep from his central striking position to turn and surge at John Terry and Gary Cahill, just as Tottenham’s Harry Kane had in that game on New Year’s Day.

Chelsea look susceptible, even if they have kept winning in the Premier League.

Although, it has been the drop in Manchester City’s performance levels in the New Year that has allowed Chelsea to go five points clear at the top of the table.

A home FA Cup tie against League One side Bradford City should give them the chance to give at least some first-teamers a rest.

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