Chelsea vs. Brentford: Rating the Blues' Players
Had it not been for some sloppy finishing in front of goal, the Blues would have been out of sight before the half-time whistle, but they had to wait until Juan Mata's 55th-minute strike to take the lead. Oscar followed up with Chelsea's second while Frank Lampard and John Terry made it a comfortable victory.
League 1 Brentford offered little by way of an attacking threat, but Uwe Rosler's side must be applauded for holding out for as long as they did. Brentford's performance was a far cry from the one that earned them a 2-2 draw at Griffin Park a few weeks back, but the Bees will be rightly proud of their exploits in the FA Cup this season.
With Chelsea now facing an away trip to Middlesbrough in the next round, Bleacher Report rates the performances of the men who helped get them there.
Petr Cech would have been forgiven had he started singing along with the Chelsea fans at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. Such was the attacking threat of Brentford, the Czech stopper was a spectator for much of this game and hardly had a save to make.
He scuffed one clearance in the second half, but it's hardly reason to criticize a goalkeeper who had one of the quietest outings he's ever likely to enjoy in his career.
In hindsight, the Blues may have been better off naming 11 outfield players and giving their No.1 the afternoon off.
Chelsea's Serbian Branislav Ivanovic defender resembled a winger more than a right-back on Sunday. Given license to attack by Brentford's deep-lying midfield, he accepted every invitation to cause havoc in the opponent's half.
That said, he has enjoyed better days and like many of his teammates, despite putting in a dominant display, Ivanovic knows he is capable of much more.
His most impressive piece of action came after the interval when he set up Oscar for the Brazilian's strike, overlapping Eden Hazard to make it to the byline and cross for his teammate.
Has Ashley Cole had an easier afternoon at left-back? Brentford must be applauded for their work rate on Sunday, but they didn't do enough to test Chelsea's defenders at Stamford Bridge.
With little to do at the back, Cole did his best work in the opponent's half and linked up well with Juan Mata and Oscar at different stages of the game.
It was a somewhat subdued performance from Cole, though, who did what was required of him, but rarely caught the eye with exceptional play.
Given the scoreline, it's maybe harsh on Chelsea's players, but it could have and should have been more against Brentford.
With the absence of John Terry for long periods this term, Gary Cahill has grown in importance at Stamford Bridge.
His performance on Sunday didn't require that much expertise, but with much of the game being played in Brentford's half, he showed excellent maturity and composure in not being dragged too far forward to absorb himself in the action.
Cahil's positioning was always textbook, thus preventing the Brentford attackers from capitalizing with quick breaks, which was evidently a tactic of Uwe Rosler's.
The former Bolton man proved a threat from set-pieces also and played his part in a comfortable win for the Blues.
It's been a frustrating campaign for John Terry, with injury curtailing his influence for large parts. He'll be happy with Sunday's 4-0 victory over Brentford, though, made all the more sweeter by his header that made it 4-0.
It was the perfect outing for the Chelsea captain to regain some much-needed game time and as ever, he put in a solid display.
Brentford weren't so much toothless, but they certainly lacked an edge going forward. When they did manage an attack, they were often met by Terry's presence, though, and he will be happy with his performance.
There's still much more to come from Terry as he endeavors to reach his peak once more and Sunday's game was a step in the right direction.
Stepping up into defensive midfield from his normal position at centre-back, David Luiz looked comfortable against Brentford.
Sure, the Blues were facing League 1 opposition, but the Brazilian demonstrated his excellent range of passing and controlled the game.
He's still learning his trade in that position, but through playing Luiz further forward, Chelsea are able to make the most of his passing ability and willingness to get the ball forward at every given opportunity.
That's something they can sometimes lack with John Mikel Obi, who at times can appear too lethargic.
It was a solid display from Luiz on Sunday, although his late challenge on Jake Reeves was ill-judged and deserved much more than the booking it received.
On any other day, Frank Lampard would have scored a hat-trick against Brentford, but had to settle for one.
The Chelsea man, normally so clinical in front of goal, squandered a host of chances in the first half before he finally found the back of the net for Chelsea's third.
That strike brings him up to 199 Chelsea goals, just three behind record holder Bobby Tambling, but he knows that after Sunday, he should be a lot closer to edging past his fellow Blues legend.
It will come though and at 34, there's no doubting his quality still remains.
Call it an Africa Cup of Nations hangover or what you will, but Victor Moses will agree this was far from his best performance in a Chelsea shirt.
The Nigerian battled for every yard on Sunday, but appeared to lack the creative edge he is known for and it was no surprise when he made way for Eden Hazard shortly after the hour mark.
Still a fine player, though, and will be influential for Chelsea between now and the end of the campaign.
Normally so reliable and consistent, it seemed the noon kick-off in this fixture impacted Juan Mata a little more than his teammates,
The celebrated touch and movement evaded him for large parts of the game, with his first-half performance one to forget.
He seemed revitalized after the interval, however, and his strike set Chelsea on their way to a comfortable win. It was a fine effort, too, that left the goalkeeper with little chance.
Scoring Chelsea's opener—Mata's 17th of the season—shows just how important the Spaniard is to the Blues. He is growing into the club's leader on the pitch and is vital to everything they want to achieve.
Mata will have much better afternoons, though.
It was a strange day for Chelsea—the Blues dispatched Brentford 4-0, but the performance of the team wasn't as exciting as the scoreline suggests.
Oscar was certainly their best performer on the day and was at the heart of everything they created going forward. The Brazilian was unfortunate in the first half, when he saw an effort bounce back off the post, but got the reward his efforts deserved by scoring Chelsea's second.
That goal came at 68 minutes with a cheeky flick with the inside of his boot to evade the Brentford goalkeeper and defenders on the line.
He is enjoying his football once more and with more game time under his belt of late, is close to his best form for Chelsea, scoring twice in as many matches for the Blues.
With his protective face mask, Demba Ba looked every bit the super hero at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. Despite his efforts, though, it wasn't quite the super hero performance many fans would have hoped for from the Senegal striker.
That said, he did everything but score against Brentford, running the channels for his team and carving out space for the three men in behind him to exploit.
It's often viewed that a striker who doesn't score has, by default, played badly, but Chelsea fans will be encouraged by Ba's display. He showed a willingness to perform for the team and sacrificed his own goalscoring instincts in the process.
Eden Hazard: Replacing Victor Moses on 65 minutes, the Belgian made a real difference to Chelsea's attacking play. He was more direct than his counterpart and was also more effective, stealing possession inside Brentford's half to release Branislav Ivanovic, who in turn set-up Oscar for his goal.
Overall, a display we've come to expect from the talented Belgian.
Yossi Benayoun: replacing Juan Mata on 76 minutes, the Israeli was involved in some neat attacking play, but with the game already won, didn't have much to do.
Ryan Bertrand: It was already 3-0 to Chelsea when Bertrand replaced Frank Lampard on 80 minutes, but with Brentford well beaten, he did well in helping the Blues see out the game.