Despite his arrival since being confirmed by Chelsea’s official website, Gonzalo Higuain will not be eligible to play against Tottenham Hotspur in the second leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final on Thursday, Maurizio Sarri confirmed on Wednesday, per the Telegraph.
The Argentina international has joined the Blues on loan from Juventus but has not been registered in time to feature against Spurs.
That means Eden Hazard is likely to continue in a false nine role, as Sarri’s men attempt to overhaul a 1-0 first leg deficit imposed on them by Harry Kane’s penalty. Olivier Giroud, of course, is another option but Sarri has shown little willingness to play the Frenchman.
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The news of Higuain’s failed registration – despite since being dwarfed by his confirmed arrival – is a blow to Sarri and the Blues, who have struggled without a recognised centre-forward in recent games.
Hazard drew a blank in the position against Spurs, and also failed to score in the 2-1 win over Newcastle United – Willian and Pedro scored the goals – and the 2-0 loss to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.
As news of Higuain being unavailable for the Carabao Cup clash emerged, fans on Twitter quickly expressed their dismay at Chelsea again being striker-less against their London rivals, as they bid to win their first piece of silverware of the season.
Here’s a look at some of their reactions…
— ForeverBlue⁸⁴ 🏴🇮🇹 (@sazio1984) January 23, 2019
Chelsea have not made the midday deadline for Higuain to be registered in time to play against Tottenham.
In another sentence, Marina is a joke.#CFC
— ㅤㅤㅤ (@_AkshyaKuKC_) January 23, 2019
So our blithering board have not only missed the deadline to sign Higuain before Arsenal but also Spurs now. Let’s hope we don’t look back and wonder “what if” Higuain was done before arsenal.
— London is Blue (@BLUE_BLOOD_CFC) January 23, 2019
— Shamsheer Chelsea (@ARrahmanfreak) January 23, 2019
Really poor from Chelsea not to get the Higuain deal done in time for the Spurs game tomorrow. The deal has been going on for 3 weeks now 🙄 start big Giroud up top tomorrow and get Hazard back in his favourite position!! #cfc
— Charlie Donaghy (@cdonaghy96) January 23, 2019
Marina got Higuaín on the earliest flight this morning (when he could’ve flown out last night) only to bottle the paperwork in time. Absolute shambles. Who’s gonna score tomorrow? Literally only Pedro can.
— #CarefreeDaily ? (@EmenaIo) January 23, 2019
False 9 disasterclass incoming
— JokePeralta (@MokkaCheenu) January 23, 2019
Great. Gonna dominate spurs again and score 0 goals
— Damien (@camarocfc) January 23, 2019