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Chelsea’s players fail to build on a fine start and exit the FA Cup

by new_c_admin

Having eased into a 2-0 lead courtesy of a flicked goal from Gary Cahill that was reminiscent of Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola’s legendary strike against Norwich City, as well as a decent effort from Ramires, it seemed like passage to the fifth round of the FA Cup was secure, but Bradford had other ideas and responded to win 4-2.

The first real sign that Jose Mourinho was not happy came in the 70th minute when he took off the ineffective John Obi Mikel and Mohamed Salah and sent on Cesc Fabregas and Willian. Bradford, though, were unfazed and former Chelsea academy player Filipe Morais levelled the tie.

Mourinho replaced Loic Remy with Eden Hazard, but that was no problem for the League One side either. The Bantams took the lead with eight minutes left and secured a famous win in stoppage time as Chelsea pushed for an equalizer.

Should Mourinho have fielded a stronger side? Of the starters, only Cesar Azpilicueta, Gary Cahill and Oscar have a chance to start against Liverpool in the League Cup on Tuesday and Manchester City in the Premier League next Saturday. Also, at 2-0, were Chelsea guilty of complacency?

There’s probably a strong “yes” case that could be argued for both points, but the debates will not alter the result and, in the end, Bradford were worthy winners. There is often talk about the romance of the FA Cup, but today Chelsea were well and truly dumped.

Player Ratings (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Petr Cech, 5 — Mourinho seems quite happy to interchange his keepers and supporters cried “save of the season” as Cech kept out Andrew Davies’ first-half header. Who would have thought he would end up plucking the ball out of his net four times? To be fair to the Czech Republic international, he was not at fault for any of Bradford’s goals.

DF Andreas Christensen, 5 — Making his first appearance at Stamford Bridge, the 18-year-old started on the right side of defence and looked composed on the ball but short of ideas and experience when Bradford upped the ante in the second half.

DF Cesar Azpilicueta, 5 — Patrolled the left channel well but failed to deliver any telling crosses into the middle when getting forward. At times he looked like an out-of-position player, which was strange given the supposed inferior quality of the opposition.

DF Kurt Zouma, 4 — A disappointing afternoon for the youngster who, previously, had put in some composed performances at centre back. His lack of experience in this type of competition showed when the tide turned. He could have made it 3-3 late on but fired over the bar.

DF Gary Cahill, 5 — Having scored probably the best goal of his career, Cahill could not have predicted his afternoon would end so miserably. Often made to look pedestrian in the second half by players he should be schooling, this ended up being another day to forget for the England international, who is having an indifferent season at the Bridge.

MF Ramires, 5 — Hustled and bustled in the first half and took his goal well but failed to impose himself in midfield in the second period when Bradford decided to make a game of it.

MF John Obi Mikel, 4 — Regularly derided by sections of the Chelsea crowd, Mikel had a reasonable first half but he is not the player that is the rested Nemanja Matic. The Nigerian was forced off following a clash of heads with the Blues leading 2-1 and so can’t be blamed for the dramatic events that followed.

MF Oscar, 6 — Restored to the Blues’ starting XI, the Brazilian playmaker had, not for the first time, a game of two halves. He set up Cahill to open the scoring and traumatised the Bradford defence with Chelsea in the ascendancy but was unable to maintain his creative influence on the game in the second half.

MF Mohamed Salah, 5 — To be fair to the Egypt international, he didn’t have a bad game. He kept the Bradford defence on their toes and worked a neat one-two with Ramires that resulted in Chelsea’s second goal. Some players, though, just don’t have any luck and Salah cut a frustrated figure when replaced by Willian.

F Loic Remy, 5 — A bit-part performance on the flanks from a player who has been underused since joining the club last summer. He had a decent chance to put Chelsea 3-1 up when played in by Salah but his shot dipped over the bar and he was largely anonymous thereafter, before being replaced by Eden Hazard for the final period of the game.

F Didier Drogba, 5 — Captain for the day, the veteran Ivorian worked hard but squandered several scoring opportunities and was also denied by some fine goalkeeping from Bantams stopper Ben Williams. If Chelsea were guilty of complacency, responsibility has to be down in part to the skipper.

Substitutes:

M Cesc Fabregas, 4 — Replaced Mikel in the 70th minute. He was immediately involved in the action but unable to influence the game once Bradford levelled the tie.

M Willian, 4 — Replaced Salah in the 70th minute. He might have levelled the tie in injury time, but saw a decent shot fizz wide of the target.

M Eden Hazard, NR — He entered the fray in the 76th minute, shortly after Bradford equalised, but didn’t have the chance to play his way into the game and make a difference.

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