Former Chelsea left-back Ashley Cole was impressed with midfielder Saul Niguez's performance against Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday. The Blues came out 2-0 winners over their London rivals in the first leg of their EFL Cup semi-final clash at Stamford Bridge.
Niguez was one of the key performers for Chelsea as he controlled midfield alongside Jorginho. The Spaniard joined the Blues last summer on a deadline-day loan deal from Atletico Madrid. However, his performances so far have been disappointing. He was subbed at half-time on his debut against Aston Villa in the Premier League.
Against Spurs, though, Niguez looked in complete control, breaking up the opponent's play and kickstarting Chelsea's attacks.
"I thought he played well. I think he had good balance with Jorginho in there; he had a little bit more license for freedom. Yes, he played in a two, but he could go out into those wide areas a little more, with Jorginho just sat a little bit."
The former Chelsea man believes Niguez should get more opportunities, but is unsure of that happening. That is due to the presence of N'Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho, who have been on top of their game this season.
Ashley Cole added in this regard:
"In terms of his overall performance and the worries and concerns people had around him, he has done enough tonight to warrant that he should get more opportunities. But ultimately, the two or three players in front of him are playing so wel,l so it will be very tough to get into this team."
There were rumours that Chelsea might cut the Spaniard's loan short, and send him back to Atletico Madrid in January. However, after his performance on Wednesday, they might look to keep Niguez for a while.
Chelsea get the better of Tottenham Hotspur once again
Earlier in the Premier League this season, Chelsea battered Tottenham 3-0 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. However, under new manager Antonio Conte, Spurs went nine domestic games unbeaten before arriving at Stamford Bridge.
It was expected to be a more competitive clash between the two teams this time. However, that wasn't the case, as the Blues completely dominated Spurs. Only a combination of Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris' brilliant saves and poor finishing from Chelsea meant the score was 2-0 on the night.
Nevertheless, the Blues have a massive advantage going into the second leg of their EFL Cup semi-final on Tuesday (12 January) away at Spurs. Notably, they also face Spurs in the Premier League this month at Stamford Bridge.