Chelsea vs Brentford: FA Cup Holders Take the Sting out of the Bees to Progress
Chelsea came into their FA Cup replay with Brentford having not held the advantage at any stage of the original fixture. They had given over the whole of the Shed End at Stamford Bridge to the Brentford fans and Rafa Benitez fielded a far stronger starting 11 than the reverse fixture at Griffin Park.
Victor Moses made his return after a very successful African Cup of Nations with Eden Hazard dropping to the bench, David Luiz started ahead of Ramires in the holding role along with Frank Lampard, and John Terry and Demba Ba also recovered from their respective injuries.
True to recent form, Chelsea started slowly and although they had several half-chances in the early minutes, the link-up play between the midfield and the attack was surprisingly poor. Oscar came closest to scoring, a close range diagonal shot just clipping the post.
It was Brentford who got the ball in the net before halftime, but the referee had already blown his whistle for a foul in the build-up. If the goal had been allowed to stand there is every chance that the game would have turned in their favour, but as it was the scores remained level at the break.
After the restart the Blues looked much stronger and some Juan Mata magic put the FA Cup folders ahead on 54 minutes. He timed his run perfectly to get on the end of a flick on from Demba Ba before finding an angle to score from just inside the 18 yard box.
They doubled their lead 15 minutes later when Oscar connected with an Ivanovic cross via a cheeky back-heel, which wound its way through three players and over the goal line. Then Frank Lampard became Chelsea's all-time top scorer in the FA Cup when he bagged his 26th goal in the competition from a lovely cross by Mata.
When Terry headed in a sublime Oscar cross the tie was essentially over and the Brazilian was deservedly named as man of the match, having scored one and created another goal.
Chelsea advance to a fifth-round tie away at Middlesbrough, but they key talking point from this match is, yet again, the Frank Lampard contract saga. If he reaches Bobby Tambling's record before the end of this season, should that guarantee him a new deal? Or should he leave on a high, knowing that it will be several decades before another player comes close to scoring over 200 goals for the club?
Let me know in your comments, or on Twitter @agirlintheshed
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