Chelsea beat City in FA Cup

16 English teams took a break from league action this weekend for the fifth round of the FA Cup. As the field narrows, two Premier League giants squared off at Stamford Bridge. A beleaguered Chelsea side, sitting 12th in the table, played host to Manchester City, who played a very different starting 11 than fans were used to. Five different players were making their full debuts for the Cityzens, and it was clear that victory in the Cup was not Manuel Pellegrini’s priority. Could a young side overcome a star-studded Chelsea squad fielding the likes of Eden Hazard, Diego Costa and Thibault Courtois?

The youngsters actually started the match off on the front foot with debutant David Faupula forcing Courtois into a tough save two minutes into the match. After this early chance, Chelsea stepped up their pressure and came within inches of opening the scoring just ten minutes later. A well-played one-two between Pedro and Cesc Fabregas saw the former go through on goal, but his dinked effort bounced off the woodwork.

As the first half drew on, Chelsea began to dominate more and more of the pitch. Their continued pressure on City’s young squad finally paid off in the 35th minute. A looped cross from Eden Hazard on the left wing found a masked Diego Costa in the middle. The Spanish forward made no mistake in the finish as he headed it across Wilfredo Caballero to give the hosts a deserved lead. Their lead lasted only a matter of minutes as Faupala put City on level terms in the 37th minute with a tidy close-range finish.

Despite the deadlocked score line after the opening 45 minutes, it was clear that Chelsea were the stronger of the two sides going into the closing period of play. This dominance was shown just three minutes into the second half as Willian’s low drive found the corner of the net to once again put Chelsea ahead. The rout was just starting as the hosts continued to press an exhausted City backline. Gary Cahill, who has been returned to the starting lineup after injuries to John Terry and Kurt Zouma, provided Chelsea’s third goal of the match with a powerful volley past Caballero in the 53rd minute.

Their two-goal lead did little to slow Chelsea’s attack down as the Blues continued to press for more goals. Their next goal came courtesy of Belgian superstar Eden Hazard. The 25-year-old sent Caballero the wrong way with a free kick just outside of the 18-yard box and gave Chelsea a commanding three-goal lead for the final 20 minutes of the match.

The Blues had a chance to extend their lead with a penalty kick in the 75th minute after Martin Demichelis brought down Bertrand Traore. Oscar stepped up for the penalty but Caballero had one of his few bright moments of the match as he made a diving stop to deny the Brazilian. The final goal of the match came in the 89th minute when Traore managed to get his looped header just inside the far post to cap off a resounding 5-1 victory for the Blues.

After the squads were announced, there was little doubt that Guus Hiddink’s squad would secure a spot in the quarterfinals. A positive for City is that now they won’t have to deal with the added fixtures of a cup run, but fans would’ve been hoping for a little more fight from their team. Next up for Chelsea is a trip to Goodison Park in three weeks to take on Everton.


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