Demba Ba double helps Chelsea thrash Southampton 5-1
'He did everything well on the pitch,' says Rafa Benitez after new boy celebrates Blues debut
FA CUP holders Chelsea began their defence of the title with an emphatic 5-1 thrashing of Southampton at the St Mary's Stadium as Demba Ba scored twice on his debut. The Senegalese striker joined the Blues from Newcastle earlier in the week and he celebrated his first appearance with two goals as Chelsea came from behind against the Saints.
Jay Rodriguez had put Southampton ahead on 22 minutes but Ba levelled for the Londoners 12 minutes later. Victor Moses made it 2-1 on the stroke of half-time and the second-half was all Chelsea as Branislav Ivanovic, Ba and a Frank Lampard penalty capped a good afternoon’s work for the reigning champions.
"He did everything well on the pitch," was how Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez summed up Ba’s first day at the office. "His movement and understanding of things we were wanting to do was really good. He was very clever and he could understand the movement of the players."
Manchester City were equally ruthless as they hosted Championship side Watford at the Etihad, just 48 hours after the much publicised bust-up between manager Roberto Mancini and striker Mario Balotelli. Brushing aside the lurid headlines, the Sky Blues cruised to a 3-0 victory with goals from Carlos Tevez, Gareth Barry and Marcos Lopes.
In the day's evening kick-off, Manchester United left it late to salvage a draw at West Ham. Though the Premier League leaders took the lead through Tom Cleverley on 23 minutes, two goals from James Collins took the Hammers to the brink of the fourth round. But as the clock ticked into stoppage time, a magnificent long ball from Ryan Giggs landed at the feet of Robin van Persie, and the Dutchman finished with his customary coolness to take the tie to a replay at Old Trafford.
One of the shocks of the third round was at Brighton where the Championship outfit defeated Newcastle 2-0 with goals from Andrea Orlandi and substitute Will Hoskins. Outplayed by the Seagulls, the Magpies' misery was compounded by the dismissal of Shola Amoebi for a second bookable offence.
It was a wretched day for Newcastle manager Alan Pardew, who said later all that remains for the club this season is to avoid relegation. "We need to sustain ourselves and make sure we're a Premier League team next season,” he said. "We want to stay there but we are in real danger."
Tottenham’s recent fine run of form continued with an easy 3-0 win at home over Coventry, the goals provided by Gareth Bale and a brace from Clint Dempsey.
In other results involving Premier League clubs, Aston Villa returned to winning ways with a 2-1 defeat of visitors Ipswich Town, while Queen's Park Rangers and West Bromwich Albion shared a 1-1 draw at Loftus Road.
Just up the road in Fulham, the Cottagers had Giorgos Karagounis to thank for their 1-1 draw against Blackpool. The Greek midfielder equalised for Fulham with a thunderous half-volley ten minutes from the end after Ludovic Sylvestre had given Blackpool the lead on the hour mark.
Replays are also impending for Sunderland, who drew 2-2 away at Bolton, and Stoke, unable to beat Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park. Wigan had to come from behind at home to Bournemouth in a match that eventually finished one apiece, but Norwich are safely through to the fourth round aftertheir 3-0 win away at Peterborough.
League One side Crawley Town scored after just 14 seconds against Reading but their hopes of a giantkilling were dashed as the Premier League side fought back. Two goals from Adam Le Fondre and one from Noel Hunt were enough for the Royals to see off the Sussex side.
In the day's biggest upset, non-league Macclesfield beat Cardiff City 2-1 as Matthew Barnes-Homer scored twice in the last five minutes. "I'd love to get Liverpool in the next round and go away to Anfield," declared Macclesfield boss Steve King afterwards. "I was always a Liverpool fan!"