Jan 29, 2023

MATCH REPORT: City Crush Lacklustre Chelsea In FA Cup

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Man City now turn their attention to Wednesday’s EFL Cup quarter-final with Southampton, while the out-of-sorts Blues are away to Fulham in the Premier League on Thursday.

FILE PHOTO: Carney Chukwuemeka of Chelsea looks on as they chases the loose ball. PICTURE: Chris Lee

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A merciless Manchester City piled the pressure on Chelsea manager Graham Potter with a straightforward 4-0 win in the third round of the FA Cup at the Etihad Stadium – their third victory over the capital club in the space of two months.

Three days after sinking the Blues 1-0 at Stamford Bridge, Riyad Mahrez, Julian Alvarez and Phil Foden all made the net ripple inside the first 45 minutes for the Citizens before the former bagged his second of the game late on, setting up a fourth-round tie with either Oxford United or Arsenal.

Chelsea’s youthful defence – comprising Lewis Hall alongside debutant Bashir Humphreys – initially did well to sustain the threat of Man City and their dominant periods of possession, with Cole Palmer presented with the best opportunity of the first 20 minutes but only finding the side netting from a tight angle.

However, barely a minute after Hakim Ziyech appeared to have been brought down by Sergio Gomez when running through on goal, the left foot of Mahrez came to the fore.

Awarded a free kick in a dangerous area in the 23rd minute, Mahrez propelled the hosts into the ascendancy with a marvellous effort into the top corner, and the floodgates opened thereafter.

Doing his best impression of a proactive goalkeeper, Kai Havertz met a Man City corner with his fist on the half-hour mark, and a penalty was unsurprisingly awarded after Robert Jones took a quick look at the monitor.

The mind games were in full swing for Kepa Arrizabalaga, but Alvarez laughed off the Spanish goalkeeper’s taunts before just about squeezing his spot-kick beyond his reach into the bottom corner.

Two dead-ball situations were needed to open the floodgates, but Pep Guardiola’s slick passers produced a typically free-flowing third goal in the 38th minute, as the ball eventually worked its way to the right-hand side and more specifically Mahrez, who fed Kyle Walker to cut back for Foden.

Quickly readjusting himself, Foden side-footed home from close range in front of the disgruntled away end, who made no bones about their frustration towards their team’s performance when the half-time whistle blew.

A few Blues fans had vacated their seats after Foden’s strike, and the ardent supporters that stayed witnessed precious little from their side in terms of a second-half fightback.

As Thomas Tuchel’s name began to ring out from those in Chelsea blue, Guardiola’s side evidently took their foot off the gas but nevertheless went close to adding a third in the 73rd minute, as Mahrez cut inside before firing just wide of the far post.

Stefan Ortega remained untroubled and watched a tame effort from Omari Hutchinson trickle wide in the 74th minute, as Potter was subjected to ironic chants of “we’ve had a shot” from the Blues faithful.

If there were any wafer-thin hopes of a Chelsea comeback, Mahrez extinguished those pipe dreams in the 84th minute, as the Algerian lashed home the second penalty of the game into the roof of the net after Foden had been brought down by Kalidou Koulibaly.

Man City now turn their attention to Wednesday’s EFL Cup quarter-final with Southampton, while the out-of-sorts Blues are away to Fulham in the Premier League on Thursday.

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