MK Dons 1-5 Chelsea

Chelsea cruised into the Fifth Round of the FA Cup and scored 5 goals in the process as they knocked out MK Dons. It looked like it would be a long afternoon for MK Dons as Diego Costa missed an excellent chance from 8 yards out, which hit Martin as opposed to him actually saving it. Chelsea were producing great build up play, but could not finish until they took the lead in the 15th minute; an underhit pass was picked up by Costa, who rolled the ball across the area and Oscar slid in to apply the finish. MK Dons levelled four minutes later when a shot from Potter deflected off Matic and looped over Courtois. Chelsea missed further chances before Oscar scored his second, picking up a through ball and firing into the far corner. Oscar completed his hat trick in the first half with a 20 yard shot finding the net in the 44th minute. In the second half, Hazard added a penalty after being fouled and Traore sidefooted home the fifth.

Chelsea were in complete control of the match and could have scored many more. The defending from MK Dons was poor, with players not being closed down; they were also unable to put any pressure on the Chelsea goal, with a few long shots being their only efforts. Chelsea fully deserved the victory they completed with ease.

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Manchester United 0-0 Chelsea

An under pressure Louis Van Gaal saw his Manchester United side draw 0-0 with Chelsea at Old Trafford, although with a more positive performance than there has been in recent games. United started positively and in the fourth minute, a left-footed effort from outside the penalty area by Juan Mata thundered against the crossbar. Chelsea soon had a chance of their own as John Terry was unmarked at a corner, but his header was well saved by David De Gea, who pushed the ball over the crossbar. This was Chelsea’s only real effort of the half, with United taking control and getting the ball wide. Anthony Martial had particular success against Branislav Ivanovic and within the opening quarter of an hour had hit the near post after cutting in.

The second half saw United continuing to control the game, but Chelsea probably had the better chances. Chelsea were denied through a fantastic double save from De Gea, keeping out efforts from Pedro and Cesar Azpilicueta. However, Chelsea’s best chance fell to Nemanja Matic on a counter attack; Matic was one-on-one with De Gea, but blazed the ball wildly over the crossbar from around 18 yards out. In contrast, Thibaut Courtois produced the save of the match to somehow deny Ander Herrera from 6 yards out, whilst Wayne Rooney put a volley at a difficult height over the crossbar.

There is lots of work for both teams to do. Chelsea looked well organised, but too often played a long ball out from the back, which was ineffective without a recognised striker on the pitch, especially one with the physical presence of Diego Costa. United were able to move the ball around well (Chelsea rarely put pressure on the ball except within 30 yards of their goal), but struggled to create few real chances despite the possession they had. An improved performance will have taken a small amount of pressure off Van Gaal, but another goalless draw will certainly not help. Guus Hiddink has to find a way of getting the Chelsea players to perform better and to their potential as they will require more than being well organised to seriously challenge for either the FA Cup or the Champions League, which is surely where the focus of their season will be once ensuring relegation will not happen.

Mourinho bans the doctor

Jose Mourinho reacted furiously when physio Jon Fearn and doctor Eva Carneiro raced on to the pitch towards the end of their 2-2 draw against Swansea to treat Eden Hazard. Mourinho was angry because the treatment left Chelsea with 9 players after Courtois had been sent off earlier and has recently said that Fearn and Carniero were naive, do not understand football and they will not be on the bench for Chelsea’s game at Manchester City this weekend.

I think that Mourinho is an excellent manager, but he is wrong in this case. The first duty of the physio and the doctor is to ensure the safety of players and if they have any concerns, they have to react. Also, they were called onto the pitch by the referee.

Mourinho’s accusation of them not understanding football may be true (although as they are employed at a football club, I would assume they have some understanding of the game), but they are not at the club for football reasons; they are there for medical reasons. I would not expect them to be delivering half time team talks, just as I would not expect Mourinho to treating injured players. If a player is injured (or believed to be), surely it transfers from being a football matter to a medical matter?

I believe that Mourinho was wrong to criticise the physio and doctor and that they reacted correctly in the situation. I also believe that he should not ban them from the bench.

Chelsea 1-0 Everton

An 89th minute strike from Willian was enough for Chelsea in a match in which they controlled much of the possession. Despite the control, they didn’t really create many good chances and when they did, Howard was more than equal to them. When Everton did break and attack, they looked quite dangerous, with the leg of Cech denying Lukaku in both halves (the second was a wonderful save from five yards).

Chelsea did have the ball in the net with about seven minutes to go, but it was correctly disallowed for offside. A foul by Barry around the halfway line saw him pick up a red card, with the foul seeing players rushing in. During the pushing and shoving, Ivanovic appears to move his head towards McCarthy, which could see him picking up a ban, which is likely to displease Jose Mourinho. Everton did not clear the resulting free kick and Willian picked the ball up at the edge of the area. His shot took a deflection and went into the corner of Howard’s net, giving Chelsea the win.

Chelsea were not at their threatening best, with many of their attacks lacking pace and an incisive edge. However, they were still able to win, which suggests that they will go on to become champions this season.