FA Cup 5th Round
Manchester City 2 Chelsea 0
Chelsea exited the FA Cup with a below-par performance at the Etihad Stadium. Unable to match the intensity of their league win less than two weeks ago, the Blues were overcome by a City side who produced the better performance on the day and are left with the league and Champions League to concentrate on.
With John Terry still injured David Luiz continued in defence and John Mikel Obi was brought into midfield. He was the only change to the starting XI which won here in the league.
City put pressure on from the start, perhaps looking to address their lack of intensity in the league fixture. Eventually their possession resulted in a shot on goal, when Toure fired an effort in from range. Petr Cech couldn’t hold it and spilled the ball out to Jovetic but the Montenegrin centre-forward cleared the bar with the follow up.
But just a minute later he made amends when a quick move set him one-on-one with Cech. Cesar Azpilicueta did his best but Jovetic slipped the ball beyond Cech and put his side 1-0 up.
Chelsea went in search of an immediate reply and had a decent opportunity when Pantilimon didn’t deal properly with an Branislav Ivanovic cross but City cleared their lines before Samuel Eto’o could poke in an equaliser.
That opportunity aside City were on top and Cech was forced into a save from Dzeko mid-way through the half. Chelsea’s chances were few and far between and when the ball did get up the right end of the pitch Willian fired over.
It was the home side who looked more likely to score next and when Milner sent a low ball across the box it wasn’t far away from finding Dzeko. But the visitors managed to hold on and kept themselves in with a chance at half-time.
José Mourinho brought off Samuel Eto’o at the break and replaced him with Mohamed Salah but it was City who continued to look the more dangerous. A series of crosses were cleared by Chelsea’s defenders but Mourinho’s team were still struggling to get any sort o fa grip on the game. With an hour gone Mourinho brought off Ramires and sent on Ramires, with Nasri coming on for City in place of Jovetic.
It was City’s change that was the more influential and Nasri doubled his side’s lead five minutes later. Nasri flicked the ball on to Silva inside the box, who looked marginally offside, and the Spaniard flicked it back for the substitute to fire past Cech.
It was not looking good now for Chelsea and Mourinho made a third change, with Willian coming off for Oscar. City seemed to have added a third goal but Lescott’s effort was ruled out for offside and Chelsea half-heartedly tried to get back into the game.
A series of corners failed to put the home team under any pressure however and Chelsea limped towards the finish and went out of the cup. The difference in fitness between a City side who had got rest in midweek and Chelsea, who had battled against West Brom, was evident. But the Blues now have a week off while City take on Barcelona, which may end up redressing the balance.
Chelsea; Cech, Ivanovic, Cahill, Luiz, Azpilicueta, Mikel, Matic, Ramires (Torres 60), Willian (Oscar71), Hazard, Eto’o (Salah h/t)
Unused subs; Schwarzer, Cole, Lampard, Schurrle
Booked; Luiz, Matic
Referee; P Dowd