Chelsea 5-1 Manchester City

Guus Hiddink’s run of success in the FA Cup continues as the Blues make the last eight thanks to a convincing win in which the goals were shared around.

It took until the second half to put this all-Premier League tie to bed. Diego Costa’s 13th goal of the season had given us the lead but Manchester City equalised soon after and went in at the interval level. However when Willian’s 10th of the season restored the lead the home side did not look back. Gary Cahill increased it before Eden Hazard, who had been involved in all the goals so far, scored one of his own with a superb set-piece strike to make it 4-1.

We could even afford the luxury of a missed penalty late on with Oscar the unsuccessful taker, but he did contribute for the fifth when it was his cross that found the net via the head of Bertrand Traore, the young African netting for the second round running.

Stamford Bridge has now witnessed 10 Chelsea goals in our last two outings here.

Prior to kick-off there was quite a contrast between the team selections made by the two managers. While Guus Hiddink picked as strong a team as possible, Manuel Pellegrini handed out five full debuts and included four players who had been beaten at Stamford Bridge in the FA Youth Cup final last season.

For Chelsea, Nemanja Matic was available again after his Champions League suspension but he was on the bench as a side unchanged from the one in Paris was named. That meant a third start in a row for Hazard as he returns to full fitness with Pedro retaining his place and Willian continuing in a central role behind the in-form Diego Costa.

Man City did have experience in their defence in the form of Pablo Zabaleta, Martin Demichelis and Aleksander Kolarov and Fernando was in midfield.

Defender Tosin Adarabioyo, midfielders Manu Garcia and Bersant Celina, and striker Kelechi Iheanacho were the players involved in the 5-2 aggregate defeat by Chelsea’s Under-18s back last spring.

It was another of City’s young players however who got the first strike on target of this cup game, David Faupala working space to the right of Cahill and forcing Thibaut Courtois into a near-post save with two minutes played.

There was further relief for the Blues in the first 10 minutes when treatment required by Cahill proved to be only a minor problem. The last thing we needed at this time was further depletion to our stretched central defence stocks.

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On 13 minutes, the Chelsea performance sprang into action with an incisive move that ended with Pedro chipping a shot against the far post. He had darted with the ball into the area and exchanged passes with Fabregas.

Cahill continued to be in the wars when he clashed heads with Adarabioyo and while he was off the field having blood mopped from his nose, Fabregas sent Diego Costa through with a fine pass. The City defence did well to smother the chance.

City were maintaining plenty of men behind the ball as the home side worked it around inside the opposition half. Fabregas tried his luck from just outside the area but hit the shot straight at Willy Caballero.

The Man City keeper turned a bending Baba Rahman cross into something much more dangerous moments later but got away with it.

However despite plenty of the ball, it was not proving a simple task to breakdown down this Man City line-up. Baba played a cross in with his right foot that picked out Pedro but the Spaniard had run offside.

Following almost non-stop Chelsea pressure for half-an-hour there came two goals in two minutes but they were one at either end.

Chelsea’s came from a typical Fabregas pass and a perfect first-time cross from Hazard. Diego Costa, ever the penalty-area predator, was there where needed to head home from close range.

There were 35 minutes played but just when the Stamford Bridge crowd were anticipating more goals to cheer, it was the half-filled City section that was celebrating an equaliser. The move started with a throw-in, and the visitors worked the ball quickly behind our defence for Manu Garcia to square it. Azpilicueta got his boot to the ball but only succeeded in kicking it against the foot of Faupala to score from a few feet out.

The closest we came to restoring the lead before the interval was from a Pedro shot after Fabregas’s cross but having struck woodwork early on, this time the winger was denied by a marvellous save from Caballero. Willian also curled in a shot that was not too far away.

It took less than two minutes of the second half for the Brazilian to put us 2-1 up. For once in the game the Blues found ourselves in the position to counter-attack which Willian then Hazard did. When Willian took the return pass on the right of the area, his low finish was unerring in seeking out the far bottom corner.

It did not take long to turn the advantage into clear daylight between the sides. A Hazard cross again played a part. This time a defender was in the way but he only succeeded it playing it to Cahill who thumped the ball straight back and into the net with an accomplished strike. The lead was 3-1 with 53 minutes played.

There looked to be more goals in this for the Blues, with Pedro buzzing around the place and finding space and Fabregas frequently looking for a killer pass. He dragged a shot wide when found by Hazard, who on 65 minutes was crudely taken out by Demichelis for the game’s first booking.

This time Willian stood aside at the free-kick and allowed Hazard to take it himself – which he did brilliantly. He fired it into the right bottom corner with the keeper stepping the wrong way. It was met by the roar of the day from the crowd. The lead was 4-1.

That was the cue for Bertrand Traore and Oscar to come on, and the latter, who scored a hat-trick in the previous round, nearly added another goal with a shot just over.

Traore did make a quick impact when he was bundled from behind by Demichelis for a penalty but Oscar’s spot-kick was a good height for Caballero who pulled off the save in his otherwise inauspicious display.

Ivanovic, as in Paris midweek, did well to block a possibly goalbound shot and Courtois pulled off a smart save in the closing minutes but the end to this game’s story was written by Traore. Having hit the post from a Hazard pass when he would have hoped for a better contact, his fortune was in when he flicked on an Oscar cross and his header hit the far post and dropped in. For the second home game running and the second FA Cup tie running, the 20-year-old had completed the scoring in a 5-1 win.

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