An unexpectedly tough game.
Chelsea welcomed Plymouth Argyle to Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon for the FA Cup 4th Round game. Plymouth sat 7th in League One so on paper it should have been an easy afternon for Chelsea. It did not get off to the best starts though as Thomas Tuchel turned in a positive covid test and had to isolate. Chelsea still selected a strong lineup as Kepa started in goal with a back four of Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger, and Sarr. Kovacic, and Jorginho started in the midfield two wth Hudson-Odoi, Mount, and Ziyech playing behind Lukaku up top. Tuchel was communicating with the staff via the phone throughout the game as it kicked off.
Gillesphey gave Plymouth the surprise lead against the run of play in the 8th minute via a set piece. Plymouth then defended with their lives as Chelsea hit the post three times. The equaliser finally came in the 41st minute after Mount sent in a low cross and Azpilicueta backheel flicked it into the goal.
It was all Chelsea for much of the game but Plymouth did come out and test Kepa in the latter stages in the 2nd half. The game went into extra time and Chelsea finally gained the lead in the 106th minute thanks to Alonso. Timo Werner, and Kai Havertz linked up well and Havertz cut back for Alonso to smash Chelsea into the lead. Plymouth then threw the kitchen sink at Chelsea and got a late penalty to send the game to penalties. Kepa though was more than up for the task and saved the shot to deny Plymouth. Chelsea saw out the final few minutes for the win.
Chelsea Team Review
Kepa was strong once again and the goal that was conceded was not his fault but due to more marking. The penalty save is what Kepa is brilliant at and it was great to see him save Chelsea once again. A good overall game for him.
Azpilicueta got a brilliant goal while Alonso also came off the bench to score the winner. Christensen, Rudiger, and Sarr had decent games as well. Chalobah came on later in the game to see out the win. The defence continues to be the torch bearer for goals in this team.
Jorginho and Kovacic along with Mount found it tough to handle Plymouth physically in the 1st half. They got better as the game went on. Mount got an assist to his name. Saul came on later in the game to help search for a winner and see Chelsea to victory.
Apart from Ziyech who was brilliant for the whole 120 minutes and Havertz and Werner who played a part in the winner no one else did much at the top. Hudson-Odoi didn’t have the best of games and was being muscled off the ball by Plymouth players. Lukaku was at his worst again and looked like he couldn’t be bothered to be on the pitch. Late to every ball, loose passes, no conviction it was a lacklustre performance. 41 shots and only 11 on target sums up Chelsea in front of goal.
Tuchel would have been happy to see Chelsea progress to the next round but apart from that it would have been a poor performance for him. There is not much the German could have done and the players on the pitch really need to pick up in performances especially in attack.
Chelsea progress to the next round where they will face Luton Town away from home. For now Chelsea travelled to Abu Dhabi on Sunday for the Club World Cup. The team will be in the middle east for the week and will look to win another trophy. COME ON CHELSEA!!!