Prior to Chelsea's third-round replay with Southend United at Roots Hall, Luiz Felipe Scolari insisted that the teams' "spirit had not been busted" and that this may be their biggest match of the season.
His tactics, which have been widely criticized, worked against the League One minnows, as the Blues cruised to an easy 4-1 victory on Wednesday night.
Prior to the match Scolari told reporters that his team had been performing at "35 percent" the past few matches and that "all the players have had their chance." Those who did not live up to his expectations could expect to see less playing time.
One notable star who was left in London was striker Didier Drogba, who had started in place of leading scorer Nicolas Anelka the past three matches. Another absence from the side was Deco, who had up to this point, appeared to be Scolari's pet.
Chelsea did not open the scoring on the night, instead allowing Shrimpers' defender Adam Barrett to take the honor. However, Chelsea were not absent for long, and just shy of halftime Michael Ballack slotted home a high right-footed equaliser for the visitors.
Fifteen minutes after the restart Salomon Kalou found the lower left corner to put Chelsea in front, where they would stay the remainder of the match.
Late goals from Anelka and Frank Lampard served as icing on the cake for the Premier League side who utterly outclassed their opponents. Chelsea rallied behind their beleaguered boss on the evening and proved that they are not the same team that had gone without a win since Boxing Day.
The statistics on the night are the most telling of how Chelsea dictated the play of the game. The Blues controlled the ball 81 percent of the game and had 19 shots, nine being on target. The Shrimpers were simply denied by the defense, a marked contrast from their last match against Manchester United, and only forced Petr Cech in to action twice.
This result comes as a relief to Chelsea fans, players, and more than anyone else, Scolari. Recent form had forced many to wonder if Scolari was the right man at the Bridge, but similar results in the next few matches the team will still contend for the title in all of their competitions and ensure the Brazilian his job.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!