Chelsea 5-1 Manchester City
Manuel Pellegrini made good on his promise to field a second-string side against Chelsea due to the long list of injuries and fixture congestion. As many as five players in the Sky Blues’ starting lineups were making their debut at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea: Thibaut Courtois, Cesar Azpilicueta, Gary Cahill, Branislav Ivanovic (C), Baba Rahman, Cesc Fabregas, John Obi Mikel, Pedro, Willian, Eden Hazard, Diego Costa.
Manchester City: Willy Caballero, Pablo Zabaleta, Tosin Adarabioyo, Martin Demichelis, Aleksandar Kolarov, Fernando, Aliex Garcia, Manu Garcia, Bersant Celina, Kelechi Iheanacho, David Faupala
Although it was an inexperienced City XI, it was the visitors who dominated the early exchanges, staying calm in possession and working the ball around. Faupala also tested Courtois very early in the game However, the Blues soon got into the groove as Fabregas and Pedro tried to open up the defence time and again.
Diego Costa eventually opened the scoring with an unmarked header in the six-yard box. A well-worked team move saw Fabregas lob the ball over the defence to Hazard and the Belgian’s cross was met by Costa who made no mistake in finding the back of the net.
But what Chelsea could do, City could apparently do better as the kids from their Elite Development Squad equalised in less than two minutes. Players passed and moved between Chelsea’s midfield and defence and eventually David Faupala got on the end of a low cross to beat Courtois under pressure to make it 1-1.
Chelsea then ran riot in the early stages of the second half, scoring two goals in the span of five minutes. Willian made it 2-1 when he scored off a counter-attack, ably supported by Hazard who helped him beat the offside line. Moments later, Gary Cahill pounced on a poor clearance from Fernando to take a shot from inside the box and beat Caballero.
Eden Hazard then got his first goal at Stamford Bridge this season after winning a free kick outside the box. Martin Demichelis couldn’t handle his pace and tripped him to go into the referee’s book and the Belgian forward simply placed the ball into the right corner as Caballero went the wrong way expecting it to curl back in.
After Chelsea made substitutions, Demichelis conceded a penalty when he fouled Traore in the box. But Oscar failed to capitalise with a hesitant penalty saved by City’s Argentine goalkeeper.
Bertrand Traore then made it 5-1 when he met Oscar’s cross with the back of his head. The header looped over Caballero and went in off the far post. Traore knew nothing about it but celebrated the goal nonetheless.
That would be the last bit of action in the game as Pellegrini’s final FA Cup game with Manchester City ended in a humiliating loss while Guus Hiddink’s side are now well on track to win the one trophy that is within reach.
Tottenham Hotspur 0-1 Crystal Palace
Martin Kelly scored the only goal of the game for Crystal Palace in the first half to knock Mauricio Pochettino’s high-flying Spurs out of the FA Cup. Wilfried Zaha received the ball in midfield and made a run through the centre as the Spurs were caught out of position.
An unmarked Kelly then made a run past him and Zaha fed the 25-year-old and he managed to get a shot that squeezed between Michel Vorm and the near post to make it 1-0.
Blackburn Rovers 1-5 West Ham United
Ben Marshall opened the scoring for the home side but West Ham hit back minutes later through Victor Moses and Dimitri Payet. The home side lost Chris Taylor to a second yellow card before Emmanuel Emenike scored twice for the Hammers.
Cheikhou Kouyate was also sent off for the London side in the second half but by then the damage was done. Payet got his second goal in injury time as Slaven Bilic’s side ran out 5-1 winners at Ewood Park.