Chelsea destroy makeshift Man City to book Everton showdown
Manuel Pellegrini fields five debutants and claims his hand was forced because of Sunday kickoff
Chelsea 5 Manchester City 1
Chelsea produced a five-star performance to cruise into the quarter-final of the FA Cup at the expense of an inexperienced Manchester City. The reward for their 5-1 thrashing of City is a last eight clash away at Everton, without doubt the pick of the quarter-final matches.
It will be a re-run of the 2009 FA Cup final, when Guus Hiddink's Chelsea came from behind to defeat David Moyes's Toffees 2-1. "That was a long time ago, I think they will be gunning for revenge," the Dutchman said on hearing news of the draw. "Everton at their home is difficult, of course, but we hope to keep this flow we are in and maintain it to the next round."
Hiddink chose to field a full-strength team, unlike Manuel Pellegrini, who handed starts to five debutants as he prioritised City's Champions League tie against Dynamo Kiev in Ukraine on Wedensday. The Sky Blues kept Chelsea at bay for more than half an hour before Diego Costa headed in Eden Hazard's cross on 35 minutes. City were level 90 seconds later, when 18-year-old David Faupala, one of the new boys, scored for the visitors, but thereafter, it was all Chelsea.
Willian restored their advantage three minutes into the second half and Gary Cahill made it 3-1 ion 53 minutes with a 20-yard effort.
Eden Hazard then curled in a free-kick to make sure of the tie and Bertrand Traore's header one minute from time merely underlined the gulf in class between Chelsea's experienced side and the young tyros blooded by an unrepentant Pellegrini.
"We were forced to select that team, we couldn't play another day and didn't have any more fit players," he said, when asked about his team selection. "We cannot do anything more. If we play on Saturday, it is better for us, then we play in the Champions League for England. We have six players injured and cannot take any more risks. We played against a very good team and that's why they won."
Hiddink was keen to focus on the quality of his team's performance as opposed to the composition of the City side, saying: "Manchester City made changes but that doesn't make it easy because the youngsters that came in were dangerous. It was key that we started well in the second half, got an early second and third goal."
In the day's other FA Cup ties, a goal from Martin Kelly ended Tottenham Hotspur's hopes of a treble as Crystal Palace won 1-0 at White Hart Lane to earn a quarter-final trip to Reading, while West Ham thrashed Blackburn 5-1 and will play the winner of tonight's clash between Shrewsbury and Manchester United.