It was a routine victory for Chelsea yesterday who followed up on their penalty shoot-out victory over Spurs by defeating Sheffield Wednesday 3-0 in the FA Cup 4th round.
It was a game that involved VAR controversy, a Gonzalo Higuain debut and some Willian brilliance. However, the main headline will definitely be the interview of which was given by the scorer of the second goal Callum Hudson-Odoi.
It was a very cold Sunday evening at Stamford Bridge and there was a shaky start where Willy Caballero was forced into an early save for the Blues within 90 seconds. Even more concerning, was when the referee gave a penalty to the opposition following a challenge from Ethan Ampadu who being trialled in the “regista” role today did not have the best of games. Thankfully however and much to the fans delight VAR showed it’s worth and correctly overturned the decision sparing Ethan’s blushes and keeping the score at 0-0.
Very soon after the VAR over-ruling Andre Marriner awarded a penalty to Chelsea at the other end following a late challenge on the captain Cesar Azpilicueta who despite a nervous five minutes early on had a solid game. Willian calmly converted from the spot and shortly after the away fans could be heard singing their displeasure over VAR. So the first half in which Chelsea dominated ended 1-0 with Gonzalo Higuain having a shot deflected wide late in the half.
The Blues doubled their lead on 64 minutes by the centre of attention for the game Callum Hudson-Odoi who latched onto an excellent Andres Christensen ball and then turned and finished superbly to score his second Chelsea goal. Following this Ruben Loftus-Cheek made his return from injury replacing Ethan Ampadu and for the first time we saw a midfield three of Loftus-Cheek, Kovacic and Barkley. Kovacic who had a very fine game finished with 97% pass completion from 118 passes.
It was another half dominated by Chelsea which saw a standing ovation as debutante Gonzalo Higuain came off on 82 minutes and despite not scoring the striker put in a very good performance and showed some ferocity which Chelsea hadn’t seen with Alvaro Morata up top. One minute later Higain’s replacement Olivier Giroud linked up brilliantly with man of the match Willian as the Brazilian got his second goal of the game with a delicate first time finish into the bottom corner.
After many had left the ground Olivier Giroud also attempted an overhead kick from outside the box putting the whole crowd on their feet but it unfortunately went wide of the post. Another brief talking point is Andreas Christensen who despite his recent problems, put in an incredible performance as the Blues prevented the Owls from scoring all game.
Many may have wished that the game would’ve ended normally but this was not to be as Hudson-Odoi who has reportedly handed in a transfer request to Bayern went around applauding all of the ground longer than anybody else. A sign that maybe he is sadly departing? In a press conference which was also post game he kept quiet on whether this was his last game for the club neither admitting or denying he has had contact with Bayern Munich. It was a worrying end to the day however it should not put down the mood as Chelsea progressed to the FA Cup round with a dominant display.
By Joe Martin
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