Chelsea cruised into the FA Cup fourth round as they ran out comfortable 4-1 victors over Peterborough at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
- Chelsea 4 Peterborough 1
- Pedro and Batshuayi score before HT
- Willian adds a third after restart
- Terry picks up straight red card
- Nicholls pulls one back for Posh
- Pedro wraps up the victory
Posh had no answer to the Premier League leaders, who took a two-goal lead into the break through efforts from Pedro and Michy Batshuayi. Willian struck a third for the Blues early in the second half, before skipper for the day, John Terry, received his marching orders.
Tom Nicholls got on the scoresheet for the visitors 20 minutes from time, but Pedro bagged his second goal of the game soon afterwards to kill off any hopes of a fightback.
The third-round tie got to a quiet start but Gary Cahill nearly livened things up in the sixth minute when he flicked a corner at the near post towards goal, where Luke McGee got down well to turn the ball behind off the left upright.
Grant McCann’s side almost broke the deadlock two minutes later as Marcus Maddison delivered a fine cross from the right, but Lee Angol’s effort was saved at point-blank range by Asmir Begovic.
Gwion Edwards created another chance for the League One outfit in the 10th minute when he got away down the left flank before sending in a cross which came to Maddison, who mis-hit his shot from just outside the box and the ball drifted well wide of the left post.
The west Londoners went on to dominate proceedings, with Batshuayi seeing his shot deflected wide for a corner from Willian’s cross and Terry then fired straight at McGee from the resulting corner in the 12th minute.
Ryan Tafazolli did threaten for the visitors two minutes later as he got on the end of a Maddison corner, but his header went across goal and wide of the right post, before Ruben Loftus-Cheek went close at the other end on the quarter-hour mark as he cut inside from the left and sent his shot wide of the right post from 14 yards out.
But the Blues finally struck on 19 minutes after a sustained spell of pressure, with McGee parrying Nathaniel Chalobah’s fierce strike to Pedro, who did well to shake off his marker before lashing the ball into the top-right corner of the net.
McGee was called into action again on the half-hour mark as he made a save low to his left to keep out Batshuayi, who had been played in by Willian on the right, and Pedro hit the crossbar from just six yards out two minutes later after the keeper had saved Loftus-Cheek’s initial strike with his boot.
McGee prevented Willian from doubling the home team’s lead on 40 minutes and Cahill headed Cesc Fabregas’ corner well over soon afterwards, but their second goal arrived in the final minute of the half as a quick counter saw Loftus-Cheek tee up Batshuayi from Branislav Ivanovic’s cross and the Belgian picked out the bottom-left corner of the net.
Batshuayi looked to return the favour two minutes after the restart as he played in Loftus-Cheek, who steered the ball inches past the right post from 16 yards out.
However, Willian extended their advantage in the 52nd minute from another counter as the Brazilian drilled his shot into the bottom-right corner of the goal from the edge of the area after latching onto Pedro’s cross on the left.
McGee pulled off a fantastic save moments later to deny Chalobah, who had been set up by Willian, and the visitors were handed a glimmer of hope on 67 minutes when Terry brought down Angol to receive a straight red card.
They capitalised within three minutes of the sending-off as Nichols pulled one back when he steered in Angol’s flick at the back post from Michael Smith’s cross on the right.
But Pedro restored the Blues’ three-goal cushion five minutes later as he traded passes with Batshuayi outside the area before curling into the bottom-right corner of the net.
Angol wasted another good chance for Posh in the 85th minute when he blasted over from 13 yards out after collecting the ball from Nicholls, but Antonio Conte’s men were deserved winners.