Chelsea’s continued 2012 in winning ways with a flattering 4-0 win over 2010 FA Cup Final opponents Portsmouth. In what was a dull affair for large parts of the game, Chelsea turned up the heat near the end and two in two from Ramires made sure Chelsea would progress through to the next round, with one in stoppage time from Frank Lampard, who once again shows AVB why he should be a regular starter, rubbing the salt into the wound. Mata had opened the precedings early in the first half, with Portsmouth proving determined and resolute in the first 45 minutes.
Chelsea opted for a remarkably strong line-up for a cup competition, but AVB and his management side must know that this competition is their only real opportunity to win any silverware this season. The likes of Terry, Lampard, Cole and Torres were not rested in favour of youth, meaning the likes of Hutchinson, McEachran, Bertrand and Lukaku could only watch from the bench.
Despite a strong line-up, Chelsea were slow to get up and running. Dave Kitson, the former Reading man, had a chance within the first 30 seconds, but though this was off target, the point was made to Terry and Luiz to tighten up. Malouda and Torres both had their chances inside the first ten minutes, but neither could convert. A half-hearted penalty appeal was turned down by the referee Anthony Taylor, who was in charge of his first Chelsea match.
Ashley Cole dallied on the ball for the second time in half an hour, allowing Norris to take a shot, but Chelsea once again got lucky.
Chelsea continued to have chances in the half, Lampard and Mata had opportunities which both ought to have done better at, but the half fizzed out, with Portsmouth parking the bus and parking it well.
Knowing they needed to up their game in the second half, Chelsea played with a much higher tempo. Malouda charged down the flank and sent in a cross, and all Juan Mata had to do was fire it in from five yards, one he did with aplomb.
Any chance of a Chelsea rally failed, and the home side were nearly pegged back almost immediately. David Luiz lost the ball and Futacs’ shot hit Cech. Ward headed it back goalwards, but Terry was there to heroically clear off the line, injuring himself in the process.
As the match wore on, Chelsea seemed more and more frustrated. Portsmouth knew that all they needed was a goal, but they lacked energy and tired. Ramires, the engine of Chelsea’s side, continued to pester their backline, but to no avail. Two bookings in two minutes then ensued, with the match reaching a dogged end. AVB sent on Romeu for Malouda, with Chelsea seemingly willing to settle for a 1-0 win against the Championship strugglers. But this was not the case. Sending on a midfielder allowed Ramires to canter down the right-wing, a job he did to great effect at Wolves, and was to do here also.
Lampard found Mata, who in turn found Torres. The Spaniard’s flick-on was poked in by Ramires, who then scored another two minutes later. Torres again provided the assist, finding the Brazilian, who coolly chipped over the keeper to make it look easy.
The cherry on top was provided by stalwart Frank Lampard. Romeu found the man, who, in characteristic fashion, shot low from 10 yards. Easy peasy. An away match against MK Dons/QPR might prove a sterner test.
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