One goal games are usually the sort that make fans awfully nervous as the game winds down. Chelsea's FA Cup 4th round victory over Stoke was nothing of the sort. This was the sort of contest that generally results in a fairly laughable scoreline, as Chelsea were mostly excellent while their opponent was nothing short of dreadful.
Chelsea's lack of clinical finishing was on full display during Sunday's contest though, which saw multiple golden opportunities hit the woodwork, fired straight at the keeper, or miss just miss the target entirely. But for all their struggles to finish Stoke off, this game effectively ended when Oscar found the back of the net. Chelsea will now await the results of the draw to find out who and where they'll be playing in the 5th round of the competition, with the draw scheduled to commence momentarily.
Here are a few thoughts which I had while watching the Blues ease past Stoke:
- I have no idea Chelsea didn't go into the halftime break with a 4-5 goal lead. I'm even more confused that they managed to let this game end 1-0.
- The David Luiz/Oscar pairing on the opening goal was interesting. The threat of a Luiz bullet forced the keeper to stay closer to his near post, leaving the far corner wide open for Oscar's curling strike.
- Speaking of David Luiz, he terrifies me sometimes with the decisions that he makes. Luckily, those terrifying decisions were minimal today.
- Nemanja Matic made it very clear today why Chelsea targeted him for their midfield. A few sloppy passes aside, he was fantastic. He read the game well, covers ground surprisingly quickly, and allowed Frank Lampard to roam freely whenever he chose. I have a feeling we'll be seeing a lot of the big Serb as the season progresses.
- Today was one of the more balanced performances I can remember seeing from recent Chelsea sides. Say what you will about Jose Mourinho's handling of Juan Mata and Kevin De Bruyne, but on Sunday, his Chelsea side looked like a side that can genuinely challenge for a Premier League title.