Chelsea have booked their place in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup with a comfortable 5-1 win over a weakened Manchester City outfit at Stamford Bridge.
City boss Manuel Pellegrini gave five youngsters their full debuts and omitted the likes of Sergio Aguero andDavid Silva from his starting lineup due to an upcoming Champions League match in Ukraine and next weekend’s League Cup final against Liverpool.
One of those debutants, David Faupala, almost put the visitors into a surprise early lead with a fierce shot that Thibaut Courtois beat away after a pair of nutmegs on Chelsea’s centre-backs by the French teenager.
Chelsea then began to take control and they were inches away from taking the lead in the 13th minute when Pedro curled against the post after a quick one-two with Cesc Fabregas.
The hosts’ dominance eventually told 10 minutes before the break when Eden Hazard‘s looped cross found an unmarked Diego Costa to head home from close range.
City hit back almost instantly and it was a first senior goal for Faupala, who got in the way of Cesar Azpilicueta‘s clearance and managed to divert the ball high into the net after Kelechi Iheanacho‘s poke at goal had been tipped away by Courtois.
Pedro went close on two occasions to restoring Chelsea’s lead, but City hung on through to half time to go in level at the interval.
The Blues were back in front three minutes into the second half, though, as Willian fired across goal and into the bottom corner after collecting Hazard’s pass.
Five minutes later it was three as Gary Cahill got in on the act with a firm shot that squirmed under Caballero after a weak clearance by Fernando.
Hazard ended his scoring drought in the last round against MK Dons and he was among the goals again today by curling home a free kick midway through the second half.
It should have been five soon after, but Oscar saw a penalty saved by Caballero after Martin Demichelisbundled over Bertrand Traore.
Traore then hit the woodwork from Hazard’s cutback before making it five with a looped header that Caballero seemed to think was going wide until it snuck in off the inside of the post.
For City, it is the first time under Pellegrini that they have lost three matches in a row and all their focus now turns to Kiev and Wembley next week.