Callum Hudson-Odoi shines with MOTM performance as Chelsea progress
Álvaro Morata scored twice as FA Cup holders Chelsea advanced with a 2-0 third-round win over Nottingham Forest at Stamford Bridge.
Cesc Fàbregas – captaining Chelsea on what appears to be his final appearance for the club – misses a penalty on the 30th minute after Ruben Loftus-Cheek was fouled by Daniel Fox.
Another player whose future has been debated, Callum Hudson-Odoi, showed why Chelsea (& Bayern Munich) highly regard him as he put in a man of the match performance with two great twice created goals for Morata.
After a goalless first-half which was dominated by the hosts, Chelsea found the deserved breakthrough in the 49th minute as Morata scored from close range from Hudson-Odoi’s low right-wing cross.
They would once again pair up for the second goal just before the hour with a well-executed header from the Spanish striker into the far-post corner after the English winger beat Saidy Janko with pace and trickery.
Morata, who has also been linked with a move away in the last few days and appears to surplus to requirements for manager Maurizio Sarri, once again demonstrated his infuriating mix of woeful misses and clinical finishing as the Blues progressed.
This was a deserved win for the current holders who were scarcely troubled by the visitors and dominated a tired Forest team after their win against Leeds United on New Year’s Day.
Chelsea however, go into next Tuesday’s massive Semi-Final first-leg against Tottenham Hotspur with more injury concerns as Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s niggling back problem returned and was forced to come off in the 42nd minute, being replaced by Eden Hazard.
Chelsea this season have very often looked to Hazard for inspiration, but it was Hudson-Odoi who provided it on this occasion to help book the holders’ place in the fourth round, with their opponents being revealed in the fourth round draw which takes place next Monday (7th Jan).
Possession (%) – Chelsea 61%, Forest 39%
Shots – Chelsea 23, Forest 12
Shots on Target – Chelsea 9, Forest 2
Corners – Chelsea 10, Forest 5
Fouls – Chelsea 4, Forest 11
Offsides – Chelsea 1, Forest 0
Yellow/Red Cards – Chelsea 1/0, Forest 1/0
(Bonus Stat) Chelsea has progressed from the FA Cup third round for the 21st consecutive season since losing to Manchester United in 1997-98.
– Class between teams finally showed in the 2nd half, 4th round confirmed.
– Exceptional performances from both Hudson-Odoi and Ampadu showed their signal of intent to Sarri that they deserve to start against Tottenham and in-fact be regular starters.
– Typical Morata – 2 goals, 1 awful miss. A better performance today than as of late but a case of too little, too late as it seems he’ll be gone by the transfer window deadline.
– Do we actually have 11 fit players for Tottenham?
Chelsea Player/Manager Ratings
Caballero (6) – Quiet afternoon for the backup GK.
Zappacosta (7) – Good performance from the Italian, better than recent turnouts.
Christensen (7) – Solid display from the centre-back, hopefully a sign of his confidence coming back and getting back to what we usually expect from him.
David Luiz – (7) The Brazilian had a good outing and this showed with sublime passing, build-up play and overall solid defensive work.
Emerson (6) – Finally given another outing in replacing Alonso and had a decent game. Needs more games under his belt for the fans to really see what’s he capable of.
Ampadu – (8) Great performance from the 18-year-old who plays like he’s been doing this his entire life. Ice-cool composure, fantastic passing and brilliant positional play.
Fàbregas (7) – A solid outing in what appears to be his final appearance for the club. High level of distribution and key passes we usually expect, great dictation of play, shame about the penalty miss as a farewell goal would have been a fitting end.
Barkley (5) – Has gone completely off the boil since scoring the injury time equaliser against Manchester United. His form is indeed AWOL. Booked.
Loftus-Cheek – (5) Forced off through injury which was a shame to see.
Morata – (8) A great but also frustrating performance from the Spaniard which typifies his career at Chelsea to-date.
Hudson-Odoi – (9) MOTM performance. The game where the prodigious English winger showed what he is capable of when given the opportunity.
Hazard (42′ for Loftus-Cheek) – 6, quiet display but thankfully a good thing as his energy has been preserved for the more important game against Tottenham next week.
Azpilicueta (75′ for Morata) – 5, Helped keep a clean sheet in the final passage of the game.
Kanté (85′ – for Fabregas) – 5, had nothing to do besides run around for the last 5 minutes of the game.
Maurizio Sarri (7) – Almost forced to pick certain players due to form, injuries and the demand of the fans but every player he chose was the right one and now has certain things (in a positive way) to consider for Tuesday night at Wembley.
What’s next for Chelsea?
Next up for the Blues is the crucial Semi-Final first leg against Tottenham Hotspur in the Carabao Cup (8th Jan, 8pm).
Written by Terry Sazio.