A clean sheet, a win at home and on to the next round!
Chelsea got their FA Cup campaign off to a winning start as we beat Nottingham Forest 2-0 at home in our brand new legendary 4th kit. Lampard rotated a fair few players for this game with Caballero coming in for Kepa, Reece James, Christensen, Tomori, and Emerson making up the back four, Barkley, Jorginho, and Kovacic making up the midfield and Hudson-Odoi, Michy, and Pedro making up the attack. Nottingham Forest made 10 changes to their lineup as they left 10 of their starters at home which only mean that they were focusing on promotion rather than the FA Cup. Still a game had to be won and Chelsea did it in comfortable fashion with a little help from VAR.
The first goal came in the 6th minute as Hudson-Odoi received a pass from Pedro and drove into the box before he switched on to his left foot and slotted past Smith in the Forest goal. Hudson-Odoi off the mark and many Chelsea fans silenced as he continues to regain form. Barkley then scored in the 33rd minute as he was first to react to a shot saved by Smith. Barkley has been on the fringes of the squad over the last few months due to his off field antics and so this would have been a relief for him. Forest’s only threat seemed to be the youngster Mighten who’s pace and trickery was causing some problems to Tomori, and Christensen, and Mighten was brought down in the box for a penalty only for him to be ruled offside. Forest had another goal ruled out in the 2nd half as another player was offside. Lamptey, and Mount were the players that came on but the game was done and dusted by that time.
Player wise Caballero did not have much to do but he got a clean sheet and continues to show he is an able deputy. Reece James was my man of the match as he controlled the right hand side and showed plenty of intelligence going forward. James kept whipping in crosses into the box and Michy kept missing as he Reece could have easily had 4 or 5 assists minimum. Christensen got a run out and had a solid game at centre back alongside Tomori and I would not mind seeing more of this partnership going forward. Emerson was good but not as good as Reece as his time looks limited at the club along with Alonso. Barkley got a goal and had a better 2nd half than the 1st half but he also seems to be heading out of the club either this month or next summer. Jorginho and Kovacic were back to their controlling best as they played passes around the midfield. Chelsea were missing some of the fluidity between the two when Kante is playing but in this game they did well without Kante. Pedro was lively and most likely made his last performance for the club as he left the pitch with his head held high. Hudson-Odoi was a constant threat throughout the game especially down the right when he was linking up with Reece and it showed that they had a chemistry from their academy days. The contrast between the left of Emerson and Pedro and the right of Reece and CHO was drastic and so I hope we can sign a top class left back soon. Michy was extremely poor as he should have had 5 or 6 goals. The Belgian international is a likeable figure but has not shown any form on the pitch and it also seems his time could be up at Chelsea. The subs Lamptey and Mount were solid when they came on and created some chances of their own.
Chelsea now progress to the 4th round of the FA Cup and they should find out the opponent today. The win was against Forest’s B/C team but we have struggled against Weaker opposition and a win always creates some confidence. Next up for Chelsea is a visit from Burnley at Stamford Bridge a game that we need to win. COME ON YOU BLUES!!!