FA Cup: Clinical Chelsea

FA Cup: Clinical Chelsea
Chelsea's John Mikel Obi (2nd R) heads and scores his goal against Derby County during their English FA Cup soccer match at the iPro Stadium in Derby, central England January 5, 2014.



CHELSEA 2 (Jon Obi Mikel 66, Oscar 71)

The third round of the FA Cup is a minefield for hubristic Premier League teams, but Chelsea navigated it with ease.

Steve McClaren's Derby County worked hard, demonstrated a high level of technical proficiency and proved themselves no pushovers, but there was never a time when they seriously looked like overturning Jose Mourinho's team.

It took Chelsea time to break Derby down, but when the first goal came, via the unlikely source of Jon Obi Mikel, the floodgates opened.

The Nigerian midfielder edged Willian's powerful free-second half and Chelsea never looked back.

Another from Oscar, five minutes later, sealed the result.

Chelsea dominated possession before the break, but were largely limited to long-range efforts that skidded wide, over, or in the case of Ramires on the stroke of half-time, off the post.

Their best chance of the period came when Samuel Eto'o was released oneon- one with the goalkeeper.

Five years ago, it would have been a foregone conclusion that the Cameroonian would score.

Not any more.

Little wonder that he's only scored three goals in the league this season.

By the break, Chelsea still hadn't put a single shot on target.

Derby were impressive, cannily combining defensive resilience and discipline with the technical wherewithal to break quick with sharp passing combinations.

In the middle, the flaxen-haired youngster Will Hughes gave a display that suggested he may yet be worthy of the hype.

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