Saturday, 28 January 2017

Chelsea 4-0 Brentford


Branislav Ivanovic scored on his
potential farewell appearance as
Chelsea beat neighbours Brentford
4-0 in the FA Cup fourth round at
Stamford Bridge.
Brentford, 15th in the
Championship, took Chelsea to a
replay four years ago, but there was
little prospect of a repeat as the
Blues claimed a 10th successive
home win.
Willian, Pedro and Michy Batshuayi,
with a penalty, were also on target
for the Premier League leaders,
whose only concern came when
Willian went off midway through
the second half after earlier holding
his ankle.
Ivanovic replaced Willian and
scored his 34th Chelsea goal on his
377th appearance, amid
suggestions his nine-year stay at
Stamford Bridge could come to an
end before Tuesday's transfer
deadline.
Asmir Begovic, who will be allowed
to leave for Bournemouth if Chelsea
can find a replacement, made a
number of key interventions to
deny Brentford and show his value
as Thibaut Courtois' back-up.
Another potential goodbye came
when striker Scott Hogan, valued at
£15million and linked with West
Ham, came off the Brentford bench.
It was his first involvement in the
matchday squad for almost four
weeks but he could not turn the
match in Brentford's favour.
Arsenal will attempt to stop
Chelsea's home run next Saturday
in the Premier League.
Chelsea's last home loss was to
Tuesday's league opponents
Liverpool, who were dumped out of
the FA Cup by Wolves earlier on
Saturday.
Like Jurgen Klopp, Antonio Conte
made nine changes against Sky Bet
Championship opposition, with
Pedro and Cesar Azpilicueta the
only players retained following the
win over Hull.
Brentford held their own before
Lasse Vibe was penalised for a body
check on Pedro. Bees complaints
were dismissed.
Willian took the resulting free-kick
and curled it beyond Daniel
Bentley.
Soon it was 2-0. Batshuayi played
the ball into the right channel.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek left it for
Pedro, who slid it beneath Bentley.
Batshuayi thought he had scored
Chelsea's third, but one scrambled
chance was cleared before Pedro
was offside as the Belgium striker
found the net.
Loftus-Cheek, who had a long-range
shot tipped over, next snatched at a
chance, firing straight at Bentley.
Brentford had opportunities either
side of half-time. Yoann Barbet
struck a volley at Begovic and the
goalkeeper pounced to repel the
danger as Vibe hesitated after John
Terry's slip.
Willian shrugged off a knock to his
ankle to cut in from the left and
shoot over.
The Brazilian ran at Brentford
again. He fed Loftus-Cheek, who
lifted the ball over the on-rushing
Bentley but on to the bar.
Begovic spread himself to save at
the feet of Nico Yennaris before
Loftus-Cheek beat two men only for
a third to block his effort.
Chelsea's third finally came when
Pedro ran down the right and fed
the overlapping Ivanovic.
The Serbia right-back opted to
power the ball low into the near
corner before being enveloped by
his team-mates.
Ivanovic, who has won ever major
club honour since his January 2008
arrival from Lokomotiv Moscow,
was then fouled by Barbet.
Batshuayi converted the resulting
spot kick in an emphatic win.Tweet @Am_Lastborn

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