FA Cup: Chelsea 4-0 Brentford


Willian (C) gave Chelsea the lead with a brilliant free kick at the Bridge

Chelsea breezed past Brentford 4-0 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon to seal their place in the FA Cup fifth round.


The Blues led 2-0 at the break thanks to goals from Willian - his seventh direct free kick for the club since the start of the 2015-16 season - and Pedro. And the home side ensured their name would be in the hat for Monday's draw by scoring two more goals after the interval through substitute Branislav Ivanovic and a Michy Batshuayi penalty.

Back-up goalkeeper Asmir Begovic began in goal for Chelsea, despite being linked with a move to Bournemouth in recent days, while captain John Terry and the returning Kurt Zouma were both handed starts. Blues boss Antonio Conte also opted to give the likes of Nathan Ake, Batshuayi and Cesc Fabregas run-outs against their west London neighbours.

Brentford, meanwhile, made one change from their 2-1 loss at Wigan Athletic in the Championship last weekend, with Yoann Barbet coming in for Tom Field, but striker Scott Hogan was once again left on the bench amid speculation linking him with a January move to West Ham.

However, if the visitors were hoping the Premier League leaders may have one eye on their important game at Liverpool on Tuesday night, then they were much mistaken as the Blues tore into them from the off.

It took the home side just 14 minutes to open the scoring and what a strike it was too as Brazil international Willian curled in a delicious free kick from the right-hand edge of the area, leaving Daniel Bentley clutching at thin air in the Bees goal.

Just seven minutes later and Chelsea had doubled their lead after a lightning-quick counter attack involving Willian and Batshuayi, who then picked out Pedro's run in the box, with the forward making no mistake with a low finish through the legs of Bentley.

That strike was the in-form Spain international's eighth in all competitions so far this campaign, meaning the 29-year-old has now equalled his goals tally from the whole of last season.

Chelsea would have been completely out of sight by half-time but for an inspired display between the posts by the increasingly busy Bentley, who denied Batshuayi, Ruben Loftus-Cheek - twice - and Fabregas with smart stops. But if Chelsea thought it was already game over, they were given a wake-up call at the start of the second period as the Bees went on the attack in search of a goal to get them back in the tie, with Begovic thwarting both Lasse Vibe and Nico Yennaris.

That resistance, though, was soon ended as the Blues moved up a gear again, with Loftus-Cheek hitting the bar, before Ivanovic - who has also been linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge before Tuesday's transfer deadline - ended the match as a contest by scoring with virtually his first touch after coming off the bench.

Again the outstanding Pedro was involved, with the forward going on a mazy dribble, before releasing the overlapping Ivanovic, and the right back made no mistake by drilling the ball past Bentley. And Batshuayi then added the icing on the cake by getting his name on the scoresheet from the spot after Ivanovic was tripped by Barbet as the Blues cruised into the fifth round.


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