Cesar Azpilicueta

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VIDEO: Carragher gives linesman relief with VR display of Chelsea equalizer

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Jamie Carragher may have not meant to do it, but the longtime Liverpool man successfully argued the case for Video Assistant Referee on Monday.

Speaking on Sky Sports, Carragher used the VAR without the A — virtual reality — to show why the linesman was unlikely to catch a yards-offside Cesar Azpilicueta in Chelsea’s comeback win over Cardiff City on Sunday.

[ MORE: PL midweek storylines ]

The loss may well cost Cardiff City its place in the Premier League, but the linesman would’ve been forced to stay on the end line for the attempt and — apparently — would’ve understandably had his line of sight blocked by Willian‘s dome.

It’s fascinating stuff. Well done, Sky and Jamie.

And Neil Warnock, you should still be angry. The eye in the sky wouldn’t have lied.

Chelsea extremely fortunate in comeback v. Cardiff City

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  • Camarasa gives hosts lead
  • Azpilicueta scores offside equalizer
  • Controversial non-red before Chelsea winner

Controversial poor calls marred what could’ve been a wonderful day for Cardiff City, as Chelsea came back to win 2-1 in Wales on Sunday.

Cesar Azpilicueta scored an offside goal and Ruben Loftus-Cheek nabbed a winner moments after Chelsea was absolved a pretty obvious red card for denial of a goal scoring opportunity.

Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock stood in front of the referee Craig Pawson’s maligned unit to applaud fans after the match.

Victor Camarasa put Cardiff ahead just after halftime, and Cardiff was unlucky not to take three points (let alone one).

The Bluebirds remain five points back of safety, while Chelsea moves level on points with fifth place Arsenal. The 60-point total is one fewer than Spurs and Manchester United.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

As expected, Chelsea had most of the early play, but Lee Peltier did hit Kepa Arrizabalaga with a strike just after the half hour mark.

And the Blues paid for their sleepy first half moments after the start of the second, with fine first touch passing leading to Camarasa’s side-footed wonder.

Harry Arter chopped down substitute Hazard in the 54th minute to give the Blues a prime free kick from the left, but Chelsea was unable to convert the opportunity.

Sean Morrison looked set to deny Chelsea its equalizer with two timely interventions, but the Blues went level off a corner when Azpilicueta nodded past Neil Etheridge.

Antonio Rudiger was shown a yellow card after taking down Kenneth Zohore in what seemed to be a clear denial of a goal scoring opportunity.

And as sure as Cardiff boss Warnock berated the fourth ref, Chelsea scored its winner moments later through a clever Loftus-Cheek header.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

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No Kane punishment for Azpilicueta incident

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Harry Kane is not going to face any punishment for an incident with Chelsea’s Cesar Azpilicueta on Wednesday.

Kane was caught on camera moving his head toward Azpilicueta in a head butting motion, but the referee did not discipline the Spurs and England star.

[ MORE: PL relegation picture in focus ]

In many similar instances, players do not receive post-match repercussions because the referee saw the incident and didn’t address it on the field. That appears to be the case here.

Kane is one of the better behaved players in the league, but does have a bit of a nasty streak as evidenced by reckless tackles on Florian Lejeune and Raheem Sterling in recent seasons.

There are so many head-on incidents in the Premier League that are not disciplined. Perhaps there needs to be some clarity on what constitutes an infraction, because it seems like these “comings together” earn cards less and less in recent seasons.

Chelsea players Luiz, Azpilicueta, Rudiger open up on Kepa defiance

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Chelsea players all over the pitch tried to play mediator as goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga shockingly refused to be substituted towards the end of the Carabao Cup final on Sunday.

While Kepa shocked manager Maurizio Sarri with his act of defiance, others looked to calm the situation. Defender David Luiz was first on the scene, approaching Kepa during the confusion and speaking in his ear while the goalkeeper looked to the bench.

[ WATCH: Kepa clashes with Sarri by refusing sub ]

“I told him to respect the decision of the coach,” Luiz told the media after the match. “But, I don’t know if the coach wanted to change him because he was feeling pain or it was his [tactical] decision. I think the coach he wished to do the substitution because of the injury, he didn’t understand that [Kepa was ok].”

Fellow center-back Antonio Rudiger was on hand as well to calm Sarri as the boss looked to have angry words with his goalkeeper during the break before penalties. However, he wasn’t in a sharing mood after the match as the media looked to get his view of the events.

[ MORE: Sarri, Kepa explain Carabao Cup “misunderstanding” ]

“This is something the coach and the player have to speak about,” Rudiger said. “I cannot say much about it. I think, for sure, the coach and the goalkeeper will speak about it and everything will be fine.”

However, many Chelsea fans noted that captain Cesar Azpilicueta was nowhere to be found during the heated moments. That’s because, he says, he was on the opposite end of the field. “Honestly I don’t know because I was on the other side of the pitch so I cannot comment on this incident,” he said to Sky Sports. There was plenty of discontent after the match about Azpilicueta’s lack of response, with fans believing the captain should be the first to step in and help calm the situation.

Azpilicueta has never been an outspoken or fiery individual, but has worn the captain’s armband the entire season, having played every single minute in Premier League play and nearly every minute of the whole Carabao Cup run. He is not yet the official full-time captain, but has worn the armband all season with captain Gary Cahill out of the squad. It would have been difficult to not notice the incident at all, even if “on the other side of the pitch,” because the verbal back-and-forth lasted a good two full minutes and presented a massive delay in the match. Nevertheless, the captain pled the fifth to explain why he wasn’t involved, and it will be interesting if Sarri not only disciplines Kepa for his public display of insubordination, but also Azpilicueta for not fulfilling his role as captain.

Chelsea players love that Morata is back in form

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After a full summer taking serious heat, Alvaro Morata has finally begun the process of coming good on his move to Chelsea.

The Spaniard has four goals in his last four games, including a pair last time out in a 3-1 win over Crystal Palace. With Chelsea fans still missing the production of Diego Costa and Didier Drogba, Morata has faced brutal comparisons through the first year-plus of his tenure at Stamford Bridge, but Cesar Azpilicueta believes those are ridiculous.

“I don’t like comparisons,” Azpilicueta told the Evening Standard. “Everyone has to work his own path. [Drogba and Costa] had different qualities and personalities. It’s unfair to talk about those two big players and Álvaro. Álvaro walks his own path. He came to a new country and I’m sure, with the way that he is working, he will get the reward.”

“The goals help a lot because we know strikers — they live for goals,” Azpilicueta said. “We know that gives him more confidence, he has been playing well, finding opportunities. Sometimes the ball does not go in, but I’m happy with his work, his progress. We know that last season was a tough one for him, but he is a very important player for us.”

Meanwhile, Morata’s attacking partner Pedro echoed Azpilicueta’s sentiment that ultimately strikers like Morata will be judged by the goals they score, and therefore Morata’s double is big for his future.

“He’s in good condition and he had a very good performance,” Pedro told the official Chelsea website. “He has the mentality to score goals and help the team, that’s the best way for him. We are happy because he’s a very good striker. He runs a lot and scores goals, now he’s in a very good moment so this is the way for him. Scoring goals is very important for him and the team.”

Finally, the striker himself wants a no-nonsense approach to the rest of the season. “In football, physical condition is very important, but the head is the most important thing,” Morata said after the Crystal Palace match Sunday. “If you don’t have the head, if the mentality is not good, then you are in trouble. I had a period where everything – if it is raining, I’m angry because it’s raining. If I miss, it’s because the pitch is too wet. It was only excuses. It is not good. Everyone can have a bad period in their life, but we are famous, we have a lot of things. Sometimes people think we are not human, with no feelings, with no problems.”

The Spaniard knows he needs to continue to improve his mentality, as manager Maurizio Sarri honestly said Morata is “is a little bit fragile from the mental point of view.”