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Chelsea 4-0 Portsmouth: Ramires double helps see off Pompey + Video Goals

Chelsea did enough to negotiate their way into the 4th round of the FA Cup after a 4-0 victory over Portsmouth at Stamford Bridge. Report and video goals here.

Chelsea did enough to negotiate their way into the 4th round of the FA Cup after a 4-0 victory over Championship side Portsmouth at Stamford Bridge. The scoreline flattered Chelsea somewhat as it took them till the second half to open the scoring against a solid looking Portsmouth team: midfielder Juan Mata tapping in from close range on 48 minutes. Chelsea then survived a few scares before wrapping the game up in the final 8 minutes of the game, Ramires bagging a brace with two neat finishes before Frank Lampard’s low effort added a more comfortable look to the scoreline.

Chelsea prepared for life without their African contingent of Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou and John Obi Mikel who will likely be missing for about a month on international duty. In Drogba’s absence Fernando Torres looks set to get an extended run in the Blue’s striking berth, and with Daniel Sturridge still missing through injury, the Spaniard started the cup tie. In fact the only change made by boss Andre Villas-Boas was French winger Florent Malouda coming in for Oriol Romeu; a decision that would be vindicated for the first goal.

With an expectant crowd looking for an apology in the form of a flurry of goals after last week’s collapse and subsequent loss at home to Aston Villa, Villas-Boas’ side were hoping to take an early lead. Unlike these side’s last FA Cup date at Wembley in May 2010, Portsmouth had clearly not read the script, at least not for the opening scenes. Chelsea failed to excite the crowd and struggling to create their own chances, they allowed the visitors various opportunities before fashioning anything for themselves. Dave Kitson flashed an effort just wide barely a minute into the game, and while Torres had a half-hearted penalty appeal turned away inside 10 minutes, it was Portsmouth’s Aaron Mokoena who came closest with a header from a corner.

Sensing the groans from a disgruntled Sunday crowd, Chelsea began to wake up somewhat with Juan Mata’s effort off blazed over and Ramires trying his luck from distance. Their was no mistake that possession belonged to the home side, but the vast array of talent looked devoid of ideas in the final third.

It was to everyone’s relief when the half-time whistle sounded the end of a drab first half; certain players clearly feeling content with their starting places after their African trio left a stretched squad even more thin on the ground. Perhaps the threat from Villas-Boas of fresh and fearless youth who made up the subs bench did enough to jolt Chelsea into action, as the scores were level for only three minutes after the re-start.

Chelsea survived shouts for hand ball against Ashley Cole and when the ball found its way out to Malouda on the left touch-line, the Frenchman arrowed into the Pompey area without much attention from the full-back, making his way to the bye-line before cutting the ball back for Mata to tap home. It was the simplest of goals, much to the dismay of Portsmouth and their fuming manager Michael Appleton, who refused to criticise the poor defending after the game, instead praising a spirited first half.

Chelsea fans thinking that this goal was to open the proverbial flood gates were in for a shock and not for the first time this year (maybe not, therefore, so much of a shock). Chelsea still lacked the cutting edge that would indicate the beginning of a rout with Torres suffering from a distinct lack of service: some past glaring misses aside, it really is no wonder the Spaniard has suffered for goals. But Pompey can consider themselves unfortunate that they were not level after a mistake from David Luiz gave the visitors possession in the most vulnerable of positions.

Marc Futacs found himself with just the attention of John Terry on the edge of the area and fooling the England captain with a smart feint fired a shot at the legs of Petr Cech. A frantic exchange ensued as the rebound was headed towards a half empty goal by Joel Ward with Terry bravely repelling it off the line (taking one from the post in the process) before Futacs had a second attempt which Cech managed to hold onto. It exemplified Chelsea’s current fragility in defence which along with a shortage of creativity and failure to take chances is a costly combination.

Fortunately for the Stamford Bridge faithful they were not be short changed this time around. Chelsea looked to be holding on for a slim 1-0 victory when five minutes from time Mata’s cross was helped on by Torres as Ramires steamed in between two defenders to stab the ball home. With Pompey desperately committing men forward, Torres’ through ball caught the visitors lacking at the back, allowing Ramires to run through almost unattended before keeping his cool to chip over keeper Stephen Henderson for his second.

With their name safely in the hat for the next round, Chelsea finally shook off the nerves and began -admittedly a little late – to play with the creative fluency they are capable of. Lampard found space 12 yards from goal after a smart move looked to have broken down and the England midfielder fired low and hard into the bottom corner, applying the gloss that did indeed flatter the hosts. Whilst Portsmouth will bemoan moments of ill-discipline at the back, Chelsea will be reminded that despite the scoreline the performances will have to improve if they want to progress to Wembley in four months time. Next up is the winner of an MK Dons/QPR replay.

Watch highlights from Chelsea 4-0 Portsmouth here

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