Chelsea 4-0 Hull: Willian shines as Blues reach FA Cup last eight
By Ben Grounds
Last Updated: 18/02/18 7:56pm
Willian scored twice as a first-half blitz from Chelsea secured an emphatic 4-0 win over Hull City at Stamford Bridge to book their place in the FA Cup quarter-finals.
The Brazilian opened the scoring after just 106 seconds with a composed finish, before Pedro doubled the home side's advantage after being put through by Cesc Fabregas (27).
Willian capitalised on more slack defending from the Tigers to stroke in his second (32) and Olivier Giroud then met fellow new signing Emerson Palmieri's cross at the near post to stretch the lead three minutes before half-time.
David Meyler missed a second-half penalty for Nigel Adkins' side as Chelsea cruised into the next round ahead of next week's Champions League showdown with Barcelona.
Chelsea: Caballero (7), Rudiger (7), Cahill (7), Ampadu (8), Zappacosta (7), Drinkwater (7), Fabregas (8), Emerson (7), Pedro (8), Willian (9), Giroud (8).
Subs: Scott (6), Hudson-Odoi (7)
Hull: Marshall (7), Clark (5), MacDonald (5), Dawson (6), Meyler (5), Irvine (6) Stewart (5), Wilson (6), Diomande (5), Evandro (5), Dicko (5).
Subs: Toral (6), Batty (6), Campbell (6)
Man of the match: Willian
Only Swindon and Wolves have been relegated from the Premier League to the third tier in successive seasons, but with just six Championship wins to their name this campaign, it was understandable that Hull manager Adkins rung the changes.
But the performance of those handed the opportunity to impress was disjointed and indicative of a side missing 12 first-team players as Chelsea wreaked havoc to reach the last eight.
Hull made the worst possible start as Kevin Stewart was dispossessed by Giroud in the second minute before Willian used the Frenchman as a decoy as he bent his left-footed shot into David Marshall's bottom right corner.
Chelsea made six changes to the side that beat West Brom. Willy Caballero, Emerson Palmieri, Ethan Ampadu, Gary Cahill, Danny Drinkwater and Willian all started. There were seven changes for Hull with David Marshall, David Meyler, Michael Dawson, Kevin Stewart, Evandro, Adama Diomande and Nouha Dicko all coming into the side.
Chelsea doubled their lead after a sublime ball from Fabregas over a depleted Hull defence enabled Pedro to slot home, and worse was to come five minutes later.
Stewart failed to intercept Willian's attempted flick and, after Giroud worked the ball back into his path, the Brazilian curled a shot beyond the hapless Marshall via the left-hand post.
Giroud's link-up play was a feature of the match and, having provided two assists, the striker opened his Chelsea account with a smart finish at the near post following good work down the left by debutant Emerson.
Chelsea blooded youth in the second period as Callum Hudson-Odoi and Kyle Scott entered the fray, but the visitors restored some pride with an improved display that was very nearly capped by a consolation six minutes after the restart.
Fabregas was late on Harry Wilson, and referee Andre Marriner had no hesitation in pointing to the spot, but Blues 'keeper Willy Caballero denied Meyler with a comfortable save to his right to keep his clean sheet intact.
Willian came close to completing his hat-trick in the final minutes but his shot from the edge of the box struck the outside of the post as Chelsea cruised into the draw for the next round.
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Antonio Conte: "It was a good game and a good performance. The first half was great for us and the most important thing for us is to be in the next round. Now we must prepare for Barcelona.
"We will always look to dominate the game but our start was very impressive today. We started with great focus and great concentration. I'm very pleased with the commitment of my players.
"It was a positive night for us because we had the opportunity to rest a few key players and at the same time I saw other players in good form. This has given me a lot of doubt before the game against Barcelona which I think is important. Now we have three days to make the right decision."
Nigel Adkins: "After a couple of minutes we've gifted them a goal, but it's exciting to watch them. Our game plan went out of the window and we were punished for giving them the ball too easily. The second half was a different story and we showed great character.
"It could've gone totally the other way and I thought we did really well in the second half. We kept a clean sheet and could've scored. We're out of the FA Cup but we've got 15 cup finals ahead."
Man of the match: Willian
If this was an audition to make Chelsea's starting line-up to face Barcelona then Willian passed it with flying colours.
Eden Hazard is a guaranteed starter on Tuesday night against the Catalan giants and as Alvaro Morata watched on unused from the substitutes' bench, Willian took his chance to shine with a brilliant display full of dexterity and no shortage of end product.
The 29-year-old took centre stage in Hazard's absence to fire two first-half goals to have the contest won and his crowning moment very nearly came in the closing stages as he struck the post to be denied the match ball.
- Chelsea have now won seven consecutive matches against Hull City in all competitions, scoring 17 goals and keeping six clean sheets.
- Chelsea's opener was scored after just 106 seconds, and there were just 288 seconds between the Blues' second and third goals.
- The Blues have progressed from 10 of their last 11 fifth-round FA Cup ties, only losing against Manchester City in 2014.
- Willian has had a hand in 14 goals in his last 14 starts for Chelsea in all competitions (nine goals, five assists).
- Olivier Giroud has been directly involved in five goals in his last two appearances against Hull in all competitions (three goals, two assists). Indeed, the Frenchman has had a hand in three goals in a single match for the first time since January 2017 for Arsenal against Bournemouth.
- Willy Caballero has saved five of the last eight penalties he has faced in all competitions (excluding shootouts).
- The Tigers have failed to score in three consecutive FA Cup ties away from home against top-tier opponents for the first time since January 1909 - when they also drew their third straight blank against Chelsea.
Chelsea turn their attention to the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Barcelona at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday before they travel to face Manchester United at Old Trafford on February 25, live on Sky Sports Premier League.
Hull face two crucial Championship games next week, starting with the visit to Middlesbrough on Tuesday before hosting Sheffield United on Friday night, live on Sky Sports Football.