It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t easy, but Chelsea have grafted their way into the fourth round of the FA Cup.
It took almost an hour to break the deadlock — that’s over seven halves of 0-0 football, if you’re scoring at home — but there were no floodgates to follow (several missed on the counter late though), and Norwich forced Caballero into several good saves and one most excellent one. They also hit the post after skimming another one off the top of the crossbar in the first-half.
And then, just when it looked like Chelsea would scrape through in
relegation regulation, Norwich equalized with the final touch of the second-half.
Chelsea worked plenty of chances in extra-time, then it all devolved into hilarious red cards and further hilarious refereeing. Willian got booked for a non-dive, Morata got sent off because the referee refused to use VAR.
Then we had regular ABAB penalties, unlike in the Community Shield. Chelsea lost that one, but not this one!
P/Ks for Chelsea: Willian (good), David Luiz (good), Captain Dave (good), Kante (good), Hazard (good)
P/Ks for Norwich: Oliveira (saved), Maddison (good), Vrancic (good), Murphy (good)
- Tremendous Ovrebo-esque refereeing tonight.
- Remind us, what’s the point of VAR again.
- Same front seven from Conte today as in the first game.
- New back three we’ve never seen (left-to-right): Captain Dave - David Luiz - Ampadu
- Ampadu looked to pick up a knock in the second half; replaced by Christensen for final 10 minutes (+ET) as direct swap, with DL staying central.
- Batshuayi scores first goal in 3 months, his 9th of the season in all competitions (plus 2 more for the U23s). Morata plays final 10 (+ET), misses a couple goals by a hair each. Unlucky to not collect an assist when Willian decided to dummy instead of shoot. Not even headers are going in now, worryingly...
- Kante on for final 5 (+ET) after Kenedy seemed to run out of steam and started cramping. Pedro dropping to left wing-back.
- Pedro red card for two yellows, one a yellow for a dive, the other for a slide tackle from behind. OK calls. Chelsea switch to a 4-2-3.
- Morata also sent off, just for funsies.
- Hazard becomes Chelsea’s first-ever fourth substitution, replacing Drinkwater. Kante & Bakayoko play in the center of the 3-4-3. Chelsea create lots of chances, no luck.
- Drinkwater missed three long shots by about a foot combined, including a crossbar.
- Next up in the fourth round: Newcastle
- Next up in all competitions: Brighton away in the league on Saturday