Match Coverage

Chelsea 5-1 City: match report and goals

This was a psychedelic @EsteemedKompany dream; one in which EDS crew Tosin Adarabioyo, David Faupala, Aleix and Manu García frolicked under the spotlight of FA Cup football on national television. But a flaccid performance from Willy Caballero stained the occasion and turned what could have been a respectable loss against a strong Chelsea team into a 5-1 nightmare.

Willy jokes, eh? But there was nothing funny about the 34-year-old’s horror show. It’s impossible to describe his display without using the words f*cking and shite. Caballero has been pretty useless since he arrived at the club in a £4.4m deal from Malaga in the summer of 2014, but this took the biscuit. Providing us with his own dreadful version of the ‘Cha-Cha Slide’, Willy slid to the left every time the ball went right and slid to the right every time the ball went left. Remarkably, on this day on which Manuel claimed he was ‘forced’ to field a youthful eleven, Caballero would have been the first name on the team sheet irrespective of the circumstances. He is the ‘cup goalkeeper’, after all, and terrifyingly, he’s already been promised a place between the sticks in the cup final against Liverpool on Sunday.

Caballero wasn’t the only senior player to besmirch himself, though. Aleksandar Kolarov and Martin Demichelis were abused by the speed and movement of Pedro in the opening stages, and Fernando offered more slip than grit in the centre of midfield. If this was an audition to the incoming Pep Guardiola, it was a dismally unsuccessful one for the foursome.

Tosin Adarabioyo, David Faupala, Aleix García and Manu García, however, made it through to boot camp. Tosin, a physically imposing and composed Mancunian centre-back, shone among a limping back line, making four clearances and two blocks in the first half alone. Aleix and Manu, a young yet mature duo modeled on the famous Xavi-Iniesta partnership, performed excellently against fellow Spaniard Cesc Fàbregas – a player they will undoubtedly look up to. Speaking after the defeat, Manu revealed that our very own Spanish sorcerer David Silva had rang him before the game and advised that he go and “express myself”. The 18-year-old certainly did that, presenting a number of first-touch turns and one exquisite chipped through-ball that Silva himself would have been proud of. Pep will enjoy working with such a technically gifted player. As for Faupala, a French forward regarded as one of the country’s brightest talents, he was the scorer of our only goal and deserved his reward for the industry he showed.

So this was an enlightening experience for the EDS regulars and the supporters unfamiliar with them, despite the result. Unfortunately, the academy graduates made it into the starting line up via a process of elimination instead of by impressing the first team manager enough to drop six of his senior players. Manuel made that clear in the build up to the fifth round clash. He made it clear afterwards, too. “I think it’s not a real game, of course. I wouldn’t pay for a ticket,” he said. “We couldn’t take the risk of having more injuries today. That’s why they won,” he added. He’d accepted defeat even before the game had kicked off, showing absolutely no faith in a gifted group of players who won the praise of the masses yesterday afternoon. Pellegrini didn’t disrespect the FA Cup, he did what he had to do with an injury ravaged squad departing on a three hour flight to Kiev today, but he did disrespect the eight academy players that traveled to Stamford Bridge.

Don’t let those cheerful little Tesco photos or that adorable knitted cardigan fool you, Pellegrini can be a bit of napper sometimes. I’m glad Adarabioyo and Co made him eat his words.

Chelsea were dominant and enjoyed 61% of the possession. This wasn’t unexpected, of course, with Hiddink fielding a side including Hazard, Costa and Fabregas. Targeting our left hand side where the pace of Demichelis and Kolarov’s positioning could be brutally exposed, Pedro and Willian manufactured a couple of great opportunities early on. Just moments after Pedro had smashed the post, Hazard looped a ball into the danger area and Costa headed in the opener. This was the first of Caballero’s four mistakes and he really should have claimed the Belgian’s cross.

The response, though, was emphatic. Collecting a perfectly weighted ball from Manu García, Iheanacho crossed into the path of Faupala who showed great determination to prod in the equaliser after two minutes. The incisive one-touch move demonstrated a tremendous understanding between the trio and perhaps a glorious vision of the future. Heading into the break all square, the boys had already outdone expectations.

The monumental demands of top level football caught up with the lads in the second half and Chelsea ran riot. Willian put the hosts back in front within minutes of the restart and Gary Cahill’s strike moments later effectively ended the tie. Demichelis and Caballero, an Argentinian couplet that surely will not be at the club next term, were particularly atrocious in this eight minute period and combined horribly once again for Chelsea’s fourth. It was the 35-year-old Demichelis who brought down Hazard on the edge of the box with a tired clip and Caballero’s woefully assembled wall ensured the resulting free kick would fly unobstructed into the back of the net. Somehow, Willy even managed to dive the wrong way. It was embarrassing.

To be fair to Martin, the penalty he gave away in the 74th minute was a shocking decision from referee Andre Marriner rather than a shoddy piece of defending. And we all witnessed what can only be described as a miracle when Caballero palmed away Oscar’s tame spot kick. But, true to form, Caballero capped off a impressively shite display by watching Traore’s header loop slowly into the back of the net. It was 5-1 and it was painful to watch.

Nevertheless, there are positives to take from the mauling. The academy lads clearly have a bright future ahead of them and under the nurturance of Pep Guardiola, they’ll improve significantly. Willy may have just played himself out of a starting spot in the final, too, which is fantastic news.

For all the moaning that Pellegrini did last week, I’m expecting an immaculate win over Kiev on Wednesday.


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