Teenage debutant Lewis Hall put on an exciting display as Chelsea cruised into the fourth round of the FA Cup by beating Chesterfield.
The Blues ran out 5-1 winners at Stamford Bridge, taking their unbeaten run to 10 games in all competitions. Thomas Tuchel, sensing a possible threat from Chesterfield, put out a strong side. Timo Werner, Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech were all given starts, with Romelu Lukaku leading the attack. Croatian midfielder Mateo Kovacic was given a new role by Tuchel, picking up the armband on his 20th appearance of the season.
The home side took the lead just six minutes into the tie. A piercing run from Kovacic caused Chesterfield all sorts of problems. Ziyech then had a shot saved by Chesterfield keeper Scott Loach, with Werner on hand to tap into an open net.
Chelsea had a two-goal lead with 18 minutes gone, as Callum Hudson-Odoi got his third strike of the season. The 21-year-old cut inside from the left before curling a great effort into the far corner.
And it was three soon afterwards as midfielder Lewis Hall, operating at full-back, put in some good work down the left before playing Lukaku in. The striker then had a simple finish from a couple of yards out.
Hall was involved again as Chelsea made it 4-0 shortly before the interval. The academy graduate forced a diving stop from Loach, but he could only push into Andreas Christensen’s path. The Dane intelligently sent a looping header into the net, marking just his second goal for the club.
Chelsea’s dominance continued in the second half, with Ziyech putting them 5-0 up from the penalty spot. Pulisic ran at his marker before being brought down, allowing Ziyech to net from 12 yards.
Chesterfield were not completely dispirited and got a memorable goal in the 80th minute. Dangerous forward Kabongo Tshimanga got the wrong side of Malang Sarr, with his shot saved by Chelsea keeper Marcus Bettinelli. Substitute Akwasi Asante was there to tap into an open goal.
Marcus Bettinelli: Rarely called into action on his debut for the club. Couldn’t keep Tshimanga’s shot out, allowing Asante to finish late on. 6
Andreas Christensen: Was in the right place at the right time for his goal in the 39th minute. Did well to guide the ball into the far corner with his head. Strong defensive performance and rarely troubled by the opponents’ attack. 8
Malang Sarr: Kept Spireites attacker Tshimanga at bay for most of the game but caught out of position in the build up to Chesterfield’s goal. Strong and sturdy showing from the 22-year-old otherwise, who is also good on the ball. 7
Lewis Hall: 17-year-old looked more than comfortable despite it being his first Chelsea start. Won the ball for the Blues in a good position before getting an assist for Lukaku’s goal. Also involved in Christensen’s finish, causing problems with a powerful shot. 8
Hakim Ziyech: A problem all night for Chesterfield, and gave Lukaku a good chance inside three minutes with a clever low corner. Ziyech’s early shot forced a save from Loach, allowing Werner to tap home. Then stepped up confidently to dispatch of the spot-kick in the 55th minute. 8
Mateo Kovacic (C): Surging run from the captain in the build up to Chelsea’s first goal. Got past two players before cleverly playing Ziyech in. Showed off some nice footwork in the first half and brilliantly linked defence with attack. Substituted at the break, with Tuchel preparing for upcoming games against Tottenham and Manchester City. 9
Saul Niguez: Booked inside 10 minutes for a late tackle. Once again failed to make his mark for Chelsea. 6
Third goal combo. 🔗
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) January 8, 2022
Callum Hudson-Odoi: Got off to a great start by sending a top-class shot into the far corner, as Chesterfield gave him too much space. Rarely involved from then on but a great goal nevertheless. 8
Christian Pulisic: American did well to win the penalty in the second half, helping Ziyech to bag the fifth goal. 7
Timo Werner: Had a simple finish to give Chelsea the lead, but good work from the German to get into the right position. 8
Romelu Lukaku: Regularly threatened the Chesterfield net in the first half and could have bagged a hat-trick. Did show composure to grab his goal in the 20th minute. 8
Kai Havertz (on for Lukaku, 45): Showed some nice footwork to keep Chelsea’s break alive shortly before Pulisic won their penalty. 7
Ruben Loftus-Cheek (on for Kovacic, 45): Battled hard in midfield to maintain Chelsea’s dominance. 7
Lewis Baker (on for Pulisic, 58): Just his second appearance for the Champions League holders, despite being at the club since 2005. Showed good positioning and tackling to snuff a couple of Chesterfield breaks out. 7
Harvey Vale (on for Christensen, 59) Had little to do out on the right flank. 6
Ross Barkley (on for Hudson-Odoi, 66): Used his pace and power to tire out the Chesterfield midfielders in the final stages. 7