Chelsea 4-0 Brentford: Blues cruise into 5th round of FA Cup with Man Utd in sight
Chelsea booked a place in the FA Cup 5th-round with a 4-0 win against Brentford, and took a step toward a mouth-watering quarter-final with Manchester United.
Chelsea booked themselves a place in the FA Cup 5th-round with a comfortable 4-0 win against Brentford, and took a step toward a mouth-watering potential quarter-final with Manchester United.
Juan Mata opened the scoring for the Blues early in the second half, drilling low from outside the area after collecting Demba Ba’s knock-down. Oscar doubled the lead through a mixture of ingenuity and good fortune with a deft flick from six-yards. Frank Lampard put the game out of sight by adding the third before John Terry nodded in the fourth from Oscar’s deep cross.
Chelsea had to settle for a replay when the sides first drew at Griffin Park in January, meaning Rafael Benitez’s side were aiming for the fifth round on the same weekend the remaining teams were battling for places in the quarter-finals. Benitez reshuffled his pack for the tie, with Ashley Cole, John Terry, David Luiz, Oscar, Victor Moses and Ba representing the six changes from Thursday night’s Europa League win at Sparta Prague.
Whilst Brentford had put in such a monumental performance in the first game between these sides, the Bees lacked the necessary sting to kill off Chelsea after a late Fernando Torres goal sealed the replay. At Stamford Bridge, proceedings took on a predictable look as Chelsea dominated. Attacking midfielder Oscar carried Chelsea’s biggest threat and went close on two occasions, first hitting the post with a poorly executed shot and then seeing a fine hit deflected over.
Lampard also squandered chances created on more than one occasion from Chelsea’s right. Branislav Ivanovich was busy up and down that right flank and saw his own headed effort loop harmlessly over the bar from a corner. Whilst Chelsea were in control, Brentford looked more confident the longer Chelsea failed to hit the back of the net and the Bees looked to have taken an unlikely lead when Marcello Trotta had the ball in Chelsea’s goal. However play was brought back for a foul by Adam Forshaw leading up to it, much to the anger of the Brentford players.
But Chelsea’s dominance eventually told when Mata struck from 20-yards with barely 10 minutes played in the second half. And it was route one stuff as Petr Cech’s long ball was nodded down by Ba into the path of the little Spaniard who rifled accurately low to the ‘keeper’s left. Brentford looked lively in their attempts to respond to the goal but Chelsea remained disciplined with their captain and defensive rock Terry reinstated after a recent battle with injury. And it was another defender who helped Chelsea double their lead.
Ivanovich again found space on the right flank and pulled the ball back into a crowded penalty area for Oscar to convert. The Brazilian dished out a trick typical of his fellow country-men, but whilst his first time flick was inspired, the ball managed to evade an out-of-sorts ‘keeper and went through the legs of a covering defender.
You might argue luck played a part in the second goal, but Chelsea were now brimming with confidence and their third was a goal carved out of quality. Bearing down on goal, Mata spotted the run of Lampard and laid on for the England man who couldn’t miss the target from eight-yards. The veteran has his eye on a few club records and with Chelsea’s third he became their all-time leading scorer in the FA Cup with 26, whilst notching his 199th goal in Blue.
Chelsea fans may have been forgiven for worrying even at 2-0 having seen their side squander similar leads this season- especially at Stamford Bridge- so the Blues faithful could breathe a sigh of relief when Lampard notched the third whilst all but confirming their fifth round status.
The two goals in quick succession had all but killed the Bees spirit and there seemed to be no way back, such was Chelsea’s superiority. It seemed now only a question of how many Chelsea would score and Terry added the fourth goal with 10 minutes remaining. The Chelsea captain rose almost unchallenged at the far post and nodded home from Oscar’s deep cross.
There was still time for controversy however as substitute David Luiz went unpunished for a needless barge on Brentford’s Jake Reeves. The challenge was very much uncharacteristic of the spirit in which the game had been played and may have demanded a sanction had it come earlier in the game or under the watch of a different official.
But that moment would not spoil Chelsea’s day and the final whistle blew to a contented Stamford Bridge who were more relived than anything else to have seen their side negotiate another potential cup banana-skin. Middlesbrough now await the Blues in the fifth-round of the cup and provided Manchester United overcome Reading at Old Trafford in their cup-tie, the league leaders will host Chelsea in the quarter finals.
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