- Chelsea claim League Cup for fifth time in their eighth final
- Repeat of the 2008 final at Wembley – Spurs’ last trophy win
- Spurs won just one of their last five games in all competitions
- First v sixth in the Premier League – separated by 16 points
- Jose Mourinho beats the team he almost managed in 2007
JOSE Mourinho clinched the first trophy since his return to Chelsea as his side overcame London rivals Tottenham in the 2015 Capital One Cup Final at Wembley.
Captain John Terry broke the deadlock at the end of the first half when his low shot took a nick off Harry Kane and found the net after Spurs failed to sufficiently clear a Willian set-piece.
Top scorer Diego Costa instigated the Blues doubling the advantage soon after the break with a gliding effort from inside the box which deflected in via Kyle Walker for an own goal.
Spurs, who hit the crossbar through Christian Eriksen’s free-kick early on, enjoyed bright spells throughout but 24-goal striker Kane was well-marshalled by the Chelsea defence.
Mauricio Pochettino’s team thumped the Blues 5-3 on New Year’s Day at White Hart Lane but – despite competing well and contributing much – they proved no match for the Blues, who join Aston Villa in second on the all-time League Cup winners list with five successes.
It was Mourinho’s first trophy in his maiden spell at Stamford Bridge a decade ago and the Portuguese – who returned in the summer of 2013 – will hope his third triumph in this competition will act as a catalyst for the Premier League leaders to claim the title in addition to European progress.
After Liverpool’s 2-1 win over Manchester City earlier, it was the perfect day for Chelsea, who maintain a five-point lead at the top and are back in action on Wednesday night at West Ham.
However, 2009 League Cup finalists Spurs are now without a trophy since coming from behind to beat Chelsea in the 2008 showpiece while Pochettino is still awaiting the first silverware of his managerial career.
Tottenham – who arrived back from Italy on Friday after the Europa League exit to Fiorentina – have played more games than any other top-flight team this season and tiredness might have been a factor as they competed in their third game in seven days.
Chelsea, in contrast, had eight days to prepare since the controversial 1-1 draw with Burnley in which Nemanja Matic saw red for his reaction to Ashley Barnes’ horrific challenge.
As the suspended Serbian watched from the stands, Kurt Zouma began in an unfamiliar midfield berth with Gary Cahill partnering Terry at the back while Petr Cech was selected over Thibaut Courtois in goal and Cesc Fabregas was pushed in the number 10 role ahead of Oscar.
In a Spurs line-up boasting seven changes from Thursday night and just one from the West Ham draw last weekend, Andros Townsend and Nabil Bentaleb were preferred to Erik Lamela and Moussa Dembele with captain Hugo Lloris given the nod over deputy keeper Michel Vorm.
There was an open feel to the early exchanges of the 55th League Cup Final with Spurs going close to landing the first punch in the ninth minute when Eriksen rattled the crossbar from a 20-yard free-kick.
Ryan Mason then ballooned the loose ball over before Kane tested Cech with a low angled effort soon after.
At the other end, a curling shot by Eden Hazard – on his 150th Chelsea appearance – from Ramires’ cutback travelled beyond the right-hand post.
With the Blues keeping proceedings tight, Spurs were afforded plenty of possession and left upset by what they felt were deliberate tactics from Costa to illegally unnerve their defence.
The Brazilian-born Spaniard – who was also involved in minor confrontations with Bentaleb and Walker – induced the first yellow card of the game for Eric Dier on the half-hour.
Eriksen brought a routine near-post stop from Cech as Spurs continually robbed Chelsea in midfield and probed dangerously on the counter.
But Pochettino’s team were undone by a smash-and-grab raid on the stroke of half-time as Willian’s free-kick was poorly dealt with and Terry was on hand to net his sixth of the season.
As Mourinho expressed a wry smile, it could have been better for the boys in blue had Lloris not been alert to deny Cahill’s cushioned header in stoppage time.
Spurs were perhaps let-off again when the already-booked Dier caught Costa late with a high boot but referee Anthony Taylor did not appear to witness the incident.
Their response following the intermission encouraged the 32,000 fans watching them inside the national stadium but mustered little to trouble the Chelsea rearguard.
And the Blues profited from a familiar combination – as well as an element of fortune – to leave Spurs with a mountain to climb on 56 minutes.
Fabregas fed an incisive pass into the feet of Costa, whose right-footed shot which looked to be heading wide cannoned off a hapless Walker and beyond Lloris.
As the rain began to pour in North London, Pochettino introduced Dembele in place of Townsend just after the hour in the hope of sparking an unlikely revival.
But Chelsea had established a measure of command and were almost out of sight when Hazard created space for a bending shot from the edge of the box which flew narrowly wide.
As the contest became stretched, Lamela was thrown into the equation at Mason’s expense 20 minutes from time with Spurs throwing caution to the wind.
Chelsea’s pragmatic approach to hold what they had was apparent when Willian and Cahill went into the notebook for halting Tottenham’s attacking progress with cynical fouls.
The former was soon replaced to allow a brief League Cup debut for Colombian Juan Cuadrado, the expensive January recruit.
But a Spurs substitute almost changed the complexion as Lamela went close to applying a touch to Eriksen’s corner after Harry Kane’s flick-on.
Tottenham applied concerted pressure in the latter stages although their comeback hopes faded with every passing minute as Chelsea comfortably held out to secure the first domestic trophy of the season.
Substitutes: Cuadrado (for Willian 76′), Oscar (for Fabregas 88′), Drogba (for Diego Costa 90+3′)
Not used: Courtois (GK), Filipe Luis, Ake, Remy
Booked: Willian (70′), Cahill (72′), Cuadrado (85′)
Goals: Terry (45′), Walker (56′ og)
Substitutes: Dembele (for Townsend 62′), Lamela (for Mason 71′), Soldado (for Chadli 80′)
Not used: Vorm (GK), Fazio, Davies, Stambouli
Booked: Dier (30′), Bentaleb (77′)
Referee: Anthony Taylor (Cheshire) – 9/10