Chelsea scraped their way to a hard-fought victory after defeating Norwich City 5-3 on penalties in third round replay of FA Cup at Stamford Bridge.
Antonio Conte’s side wasted a lot of opportunities as a penalty shootout was needed to extract a result between two sides after both sides failed to break the deadlock with scores tied at 1-1 during 120 minutes on the field. Conte made 9 changes to the side with Michy Batshuayi given a rare start amidst rumours linking him of a move away from Stamford Bridge.
Willy Caballero was given the nod ahead of Thibaut Courtois with Kennedy as a left-back and 17-year-old youngster Ethan Ampadu handed a start alongside David Luiz.
Chelsea had majority of the possession in the first half but wasted a lot of chances with Danny Drinkwater hitting the post with a thunderous strike while Norwich’s Nelson Oliveira too being denied by the woodwork. All eyes were on Batshuayi as the Belgian struggled to make most of the chances presented to him – with West Ham’s manager, David Moyes, a keen spectator from the stands.
Chelsea upped the ante in second-half and after a spell of 4 successive draws, Chelsea finally broke the jinx. Michy Batshuayi latched onto a superb pass from Kennedy and poked the ball in at the near-post, much to the delight of Chelsea fans. Caballero made the save of the match as he made a diving one-handed save to deny Norwich from snatching the equalizer.
Norwich stunned the hosts with Jamal Lewis heading home in the dying minutes of extra-time to take the tie into 30 additional minutes, where Pedro and Morata were red-carded but saw Chelsea thriving 5-3 on penalties.
Let’s analyse how each Chelsea player fared in the match.
Willy Caballero: 8.5/10
Willy #Caballero: “I don’t like to go to a penalty shoot-out. I’ve had good experiences in them but I would prefer to win a game in 90 minutes or extra-time.”#CHENOR #CFC #FACup pic.twitter.com/XIlxrlIudH
— Chelsea FC Global (@Chelsea_Global) January 18, 2018
The Argentinian put in a man-of-the-match performance having played just 4 matches coming into the game. An amazing one-handed save to deny Maddison in the first-half coupled with blocking Nelson Oliveira’s penalty in the shootout was as good as it can get. Definitely made his case in Conte’s books.
CESAR AZPILICUETA: 7/10
The Spaniard was moved into the left-back role with Ethan Ampadu playing as right-back. Azpilicueta was good as usual and held the Chelsea back-line together.
DAVID LUIZ: 6.5/10
The out-of-favour defender put in a good display at the back, with some lovely over-head passes. Looks more and more like a defensive midfielder with darting runs to the centre of the field.
ETHAN AMPADU: 6.5/10
The 17-year-old definitely has a bright future at the Bridge. Thrust into the starting lineup as a right-back, Ampadu put in a sturdy performance, going toe-to-toe with Murphy in an interesting battle on the flank. Was subbed off for Andreas Christensen during the closing minutes of the game. He’s definitely the one for the future.
DAVIDE ZAPPACOSTA: 6.5/10
Brought in for Victor Moses, the deadline-day summer signing made some darting runs along the flanks. Attacked the Norwich backline on multiple occasions. However, he needs to work on his crosses and link-up play.
TIEMOUE BAKAYOKO: 6/10
It was another chance that went begging for the lanky midfielder. Needs to be more physical when vying for the ball while his finishing is really not up to the standards.
DANNY DRINKWATER: 6.5/10
Made some tireless runs in a Chelsea shirt but he’s a shadow of his former self. Struck the crossbar in the first-half while missing a great chance to put the game to bed after Willian’s superb play on the left.
— Ricky Burford (@RICKY93JB) January 17, 2018
The Brazilian didn’t have much to offer in the first-half, however considerably improved in the other. Set up Batshuayi with a lovely pass for Chelsea’s opening goal. The Brazilian has certainly given Conte reasons to stay with his lively performance down the left.
The Brazilian didn’t let Chelsea fans miss Hazard as he worked hard in every nook and corner of the field. Little step-overs with turn of pace were in abundance for everyone to see.
The Spaniard put in hard-work first on the attacking front and then later on the defensive. Was booked for simulation in the box before getting sent off for a poor challenge.
MICHY BATSHUAYI: 7/10
— Michy Batshuayi (@mbatshuayi) January 17, 2018
Desperate to make a mark on the match, the Belgian tried hard to stay in the game but often yielded the ball with poor hold-up play. Batshuayi however made up for his shoddy play by scoring Chelsea’s opening goal of the match when he nodded in home at near-post after a good pass from Kennedy on the left. Was taken off for Morata later in the match.
ANDREAS CHRISTENSEN: 6.5/10
Put in a steady performance after being brought in for Ethan Ampadu. Couldn’t have done much for Norwich’s equalizing goal.
Brought in for Kennedy, Kante’s role became more prominent with 9 men left on the field after Morata and Pedro were red-carded. Ran from pillar to post throughout his time on the field.
EDEN HAZARD: 7.5/10
Brought in for Drinkwater in search of that deciding goal, Hazard offered pace and trickery. Converted the final spot-kick sending Chelsea into fourth round of the Cup.
ALVARO MORATA: 5/10
Brought in for Batshuayi, Morata had an off day after he was simultaneously booked for simulation and then arguing with the referee.