Chelsea’s 5-1 victory over Manchester City in the weekend FA Cup fixture was a near-perfect performance with the Blues overcoming a first-half scare to beat a severely depleted City side comfortably in the end.
Their emphatic win was marred by an unsavoury incident as fans from a section of the Stamford Bridge crowd threw coins at jubilant Manchester City players following their equaliser. The incident took place near the Shed End, with the stand located just behind Chelsea’s goal. Referee Andre Marriner later discovered the coins near the corner flag, and promptly removed them from the field of play.
When asked about the incident, Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink was strong in his condemnation, and went on to say that the fans who were guilty of the offence should be banned, if identified.
“I was aware of it and I like to face the facts. We condemn it and I condemn it strongly and Chelsea will react. Those people must not come in to the stadiums,” the Dutchman was quoted as saying by Chelsea’s official website. “We condemn such idiotic and dangerous behaviour. If we can identify those responsible we will ban them from Stamford Bridge.”
However, the match itself pleased Hiddink as his team showed that they can be calm, composed, and ruthless when they want to be. Also, the fact that the Blues now have got two 5-1 wins in their last three matches should be a boost to the team’s morale.
“If you win 5-1 last week, if you have an okay performance and result in Paris, and now today 5-1 against Man City then of course it’s a boost for the confidence of the players,” added Hiddink. “It’s good to see that.”
There was a period in the first half when Chelsea did seem vulnerable against Pellegrini’s second-string Manchester City outfit. However, Hiddink says that his team did well to weather the storm and come back strongly after the second half.
“You have to be very aware to not make stupid mistakes or get sloppy or complacent. We got sloppy with our organisation when they equalised but we had a very good reaction in the second half,” said Hiddink. “It was key that we started well in the second half and got an early second or third goal.”
Tricky fixtures ahead
The Blues have some challenging games ahead of the Champions League Round of 16 second-leg tie against PSG at Stamford Bridge. They come up against Southampton and Stoke City — two sides who have already beaten them this season.
The Saints seem to have weathered the worst part of their season, and are now slowly climbing back up the table to challenge Manchester United for the Europa League spot. They have defeated the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal in the recent past, and will be looking to inflict more misery upon Chelsea.
Meanwhile, Stoke City have been the giant-slayers this season, defeating the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City. However, the Potters have not been great on the road, and it will be interesting to see how their visit to Stamford Bridge pans out in March.