Chelsea’s defence of the FA Cup began with a convincing third round win at St Mary’s. Demba Ba made his debut up front & impressed with great movement & hold up play, which he capped off with a double strike.
It was a slow start from Chelsea with Southampton having more possession & playing at a higher tempo in the opening half hour. They pressed high up the pitch on the deep lying midfield duo of Luiz & Ramires, forcing errors & rushed balls forward under pressure. They capitalized on this in the 21st minute when former Chelsea reserve captain Jack Cork’s through ball was cut out by Ivanovic, but Cahill had let Rodriguez run of the back of him from the loose ball & he beat Turnbull to give saints the lead.
After going behind Chelsea began to make better use of the ball, Ramires winning challenges & Hazard drifting in field to better link with Mata. It was this combination that led to the equaliser as Mata was found inside the area, his shot had the pace taken out of it by the advancing keeper Boruc, but Ba made sure from a yard. Now it was all Chelsea & we took the lead in 1st half stoppage time as Ashley Cole overlapped from left back & found Moses who from the left side of the area arrowed a powerful drive into the far corner.
The second half performance from Chelsea was a much better display than the majority of the first, which at times bore a worrying resemblance to the QPR defeat earlier in the week. Ramires, in his best display for some time began to run the midfield. The ability to now find Mata in space in front of the Southampton defence where he can do most damage was important in Chelsea taking control as the Southampton midfield struggled to deal with his movement & that of Hazard. Eden continued drawing midfielders out of position by cutting in field which helped Mata get on the ball.
The third arrived when after sustained pressure Mata stayed wide from a cleared corner to receive & deliver for Ivanovic to beat Boruc with a near post header.
With the away fans serenading the side from behind the goal the blues we’re attacking, they didn’t have to wait much longer for a fourth, Ba finishing brilliantly with the outside of his left from a low Hazard cross. Enter the flares, & the fourth round.
At the other end Turnbull made a fantastic double save, blocking a low drive & getting to his feet quickly to save the rebound from Puncheon.
Ba came close to a debut hat-trick when a Moses ball to the back post saw Boruc brilliantly deny his header.
By this point Luiz had dropped to centre back to accommodate the arrival of Super Frankie Lampard in midfield. Southampton now couldn’t get any where near our midfield, and gaps we’re readily appearing. Lampard won a penalty when attempting to scoop a through ball to Marin, which was handled. He dispatched himself. 193 Chelsea goals for him. Now level with Kerry Dixon.
This had been a brilliant response to the defeat against Queens Park Rangers, where although Chelsea enjoyed the lions share of possession we struggled to go anywhere with it. The first half looked much the same but, but there was a better transition back to front in our build up after the break, Hazard & Mata increassingly harder to mark. Getting them in areas where they can effect the match was the key. Ramires ball winning & distribution being vital.
That was that & Frank was last off the field after thanking the travelling fans for what had been great support all afternoon. The 4th round beckons.
Boruc; Cork, Fonte(c), (Hoovield 63), Yoshida, Shaw; Puncheon, (Lee77), Schneidelin, (De Ridder 54), S Davies, Ward-Prose: Do Prado: Rodriguez
Chelsea – 4-2-3-1
Turnbull: Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, (Lampard 64), Cahill, Cole (c): Luiz, Ramires; Hazard, Mata, (Oscar 78), Moses, (Marin 72); Ba
Referee: Mike Dean