chelseaoffside: Chelsea XI v. Birmingham: Cech, Ivanovic, Cahill, Luiz, Bertrand, Mikel, Ramires, Meireles, Kalou, Torres, Mata.
chelseaoffside: Chelsea bench v. Birmingham: Hilario, Terry, Essien, Lampard, Drogba, Lukaku, Sturridge.
ChelseaChadder: Surprised to see John Terry on the bench for today’s game. I thought he was out for a month.
chelseaoffside: Birmingham City XI v. Chelsea: Foster, Reid, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell, Andrews, Mulumbu, Morrison, Odemwingie, Fortune, Thomas.
ChelseaChadder: Roberto Di Matteo becomes the 12th person to both play for and manage Chelsea.
CFC_Clive: Torres and Kalou arrive together in a miniature clown car; Torres with a bucket attached to his foot.
ChelseaChadder: Fernando Torres is playing his 50th game for Chelsea.
CFC_Clive: Hopefully Mata at top of a diamond. Meireles and Ramires wider. Meireles’ best position. Kalou up front.
chelseayouth: Based off absolutely nothing and probably best left unsaid, but I reckon we’ll win quite comfortably tonight.
EastUpper3: Banner in the away end held up as players went off after warming up “play for your shirt not your ego’s [sic]”.
BluesChronicle: Birmingham’s team selection suggests they’re keen to go out of the FAC. Though the same was true of their team at SB & we foiled that plan.
Millhaven_Curse: Fucking bad apostrophe in the banner you dickheads! Fuck sake.
The first half
BluesChronicle: Roberto Di Matteo poses on the edge of his technical area for the flashbulbs, doing his best catalogue man stare. Good luck fella.
BluesChronicle: Underway at St Andrews: Birmingham 0-0 Chelsea. And the visiting fans already singing ‘Jose Mourinho’.
ChelseaKelv: Something satisfying about seeing RDM and Eddie on the bench. Reminder of a fantastic period in our history.
BluesChronicle: Torres puts in Mata for a run on goal, but he shoots at the keeper’s outstretched hand.
BluesChronicle: Though I’ve not seen it, I’m told some visiting fans had a banner displayed pre-match: ‘Rafa not wanted, Special One needed’.
BluesChronicle: Now a chant of ‘only one Di Matteo’ from the Chelsea end. In good voice tonight.
chelseafc: Birmingham just pegging Chelsea back in our own half for the time being. Needs a period of possession.
ChelseaRumours: We’ll win tonight.
ChelseaAnalysis: AVB’s ghost is still there, crouching on the toucline. You just don’t see it.
chelseaoffside: Kalou looks bright even if he is running into trouble.
BluesChronicle: “You’re not wanted here, you’re not wanted here, f*** off Benitez, you’re not wanted here.” Listening Roman?
chelseaoffside: Yow. Boot to the grill for Zigic from Luiz.
ChelseaRumours: Torres is being marked by 3 defenders tonight. Will he score?
chelseafc: Jinking run from Kalou produces a half-chance for Ramires, but he cannot hit the target.
chelseayouth: If you make a late tackle after a pass, it’s usually a free kick. So why nothing for a late contact on a shot? Ramires was fouled there.
BluesChronicle: Ramires weaves through the box and takes a shot, which is pushed wide by a defender’s deflection – which the ref fails to see.
BluesChronicle: Lazy chipped ball almost catches Cech out, but he back-peddles to save it on the line, arms aloft.
peter_watts: Current Radio 5 Live commentary team: Alan Green and Craig Burley. Does it get worse than this?
ChelseaRumours: Clever turn and shot by Eliott. Good save by Cech. Comfortable really.
ChelseaRumours: Oooh Zigic that was dangerous. Might as well have been red.
ChelseaRumours: I love Di Matteo. I really do. If he gets us a top 4 placement this year, I say raise a statue of him outside the Bridge.
BluesChronicle: Mata corner in to Cahill – which he fluffs and puts wide. Chelsea creating very little so far.
gate17marco: Chelsea look compact and comfortable on the ball…. we will win this game and it doesn’t matter if it’s extra time and penalties.
ChelseaRumours: Imagine how happy and proud Di Matteo would feel if Torres scored tonight…
TheChelseaBlog: Did Birmingham dig the pitch especially for us?
BluesChronicle: Chelsea fans: “Roman Abramovich – he sacks who he wants.” LOL! Seems to be official policy now.
bridgeviews: If Arsenal somehow do this, it’s going to be one of the most depressing things I’ll have ever experienced. Someone tell me it won’t happen.
BluesChronicle: For 40mins Roberto Di Matteo has stood, arms folded on the edge of the technical area. It’s almost as if he is making the point: ‘I’m here.’
BluesChronicle: Zigic header in the box produces a great leaping Cech fingertips save.
ChelseaAnalysis: Chelsea quick on the counter-attack, but it’s wasted as there was no one ahead.
ChelseaRumours: Just before that, Torres had given away possession – twice.
ChelseaRumours: Ramires almost finds Torres’ head, but last gasp defending saves the day for Birmingham & the press etc.
BluesChronicle: Attendance just announced: 21,822. Of which an incredible 3,220 are Chelsea fans in the away end. Superb effort on a Tuesday night guys.
chelseafc: Chelsea keep possession after a corner, and Mata fires a low shot which deflects up into Doyle’s arms.
bridgeviews: Arsenal bloody are going to do it. Against the backdrop of our season, this won’t be pretty.
BluesChronicle: 2mins added time. Fernando just missed another sitter.
BluesChronicle: HT: B’ham 0-0 Chelsea. Sad to say, much the same uncreative fayre of recent months. Maybe a touch more passion on-pitch. But only a touch.
gate17marco: The only thing that matters tonight is the result … And the result will come … Be patient …
ChelseaAnalysis: Pretty ironic that nothing’s look changed for us while Arsenal are having one epic comeback. Take note, Roman.
The second half
chelseafc: Sloppy start to the second half from Chelsea. Need to retain and work the ball better.
TheChelseaBlog: Dunno what everyone’s whingeing about, we got past HT and still have a manager – that’s a result!
ChelseaAnalysis: Kalou creating all sorts of trouble for Birmingham in the box with the smart dribbling we’ve missed from him.
BluesChronicle: GOOOOAAAALLLL! BIRMINGHAM 0-1 CHELSEA. MATAAAAAAA!
chelseayouth: Kalou did his best to tackle Mata there. Well in though.
ChelseaChadder: Juan Mata scores! He has now scored in all three rounds of the FA Cup.
BluesChronicle: Birmingham 0-1 Chelsea: Ramires cross from the right to Kalou, who kicks against a defender. Mata picks up the loose ball and fires home.
chelseafc: Great early cross from Ivanovic eludes Brum defenders but Mata’s snap header goes past the post.
chelseafc: Sturridge replaces Kalou for Chelsea.
BluesChronicle: GOOOAAALLL: BIRMINGHAM 0-2 CHELSEA. MEIRELES!
bridgeviews: What a strike that is. Meireles has been awful recently but that’s outstanding.
BluesChronicle: Birmingham 0-2 Chelsea: Meireles with a stunning rocket of a goal from 25 yards.
chelseafc: Meireles whacks Ramires’s lay-off into the top right corner. Fine strike. Birmingham 0 Chelsea 2. We have lift-off.
chelseafc: Torres is cautioned for a tackle from behind.
ChelseaChadder: The last player to score in the first three rounds of the FA cup for Chelsea was Daniel Sturridge in 2009/10 season.
ChelseaActivity: Passionate and amazing celebrations on the bench. Di Matteo like one of the players, celebrating with staff and players! Amazing scene.
chelseafc: Chelsea fans resurrecting chants from the 90s: ‘One Di Matteo’ and ‘Ed-die’, in praise of the new coaching team.
chelseafc: Penalty to Chelsea!
ChelseaAnalysis: Torres goes down! Penalty! Smart movement from him and Mata down on the right.
ChelseaAnalysis: Mata to take it, as much as I would’ve liked Torres I don’t think I could’ve put up with the embarrassment had he missed.
BluesChronicle: MATA PENALTY SAVED.
bridgeviews: How many penalties are we planning on missing this season?
chelseafc: Saved! Relatively easy save for Doyle, who guessed right. The score remains 0-2.
chelseayouth: Luiz hasn’t been messing about tonight. Just getting rid of it. Wise approach on this pitch.
chelseafc: Great sliding tackle from Cahill denies the lively King.
ChelseaRumours: Torres that was beautiful. As for Sturridge – that was horrible. Open goal and it gets caught under his boot.
ChelseaChadder: Oh dear, Daniel. That’s three sitters you’ve missed in the last two games.
BluesChronicle: Nooooo! Sturridge horror miss. Not unlike for England, he receives a great ball (here from Torres) only to kick it against his own heels.
philmcnulty: Whatever verdict anyone may wish to pass on Fernando Torres, there is no question the Chelsea fans are still right behind him.
ChelseaRumours: Birmingham should’ve scored there. Blasted over instead.
chelseafc: Birmingham piling on the pressure and forcing corners. Chelsea holding out well.
ChelseaRumours: Bit nervous here, Birmingham are causing us some problems.
BluesChronicle: Some knowledge tonight that we’ve been missing in recent weeks: 1. score first; 2. score again; 3. don’t concede. Football is simple really.
chelseafc: Mata receives a big ovation as he makes way for Essien. Last change. Still 2-0 Chelsea.
BluesChronicle: 3mins added time.
ChelseaAnalysis: Arsenal are out. They sure do like to tease and damage their fans emotionally.
ChelseaRumours: Torres has had a good second half, but I’m getting worried he may never score again.
BluesChronicle: FT: Birmingham 0-2 Chelsea. Caretaker boss Di Matteo leads Chelsea to the quarter finals of the FAC with goals from Mata & Meireles.
BluesChronicle: Hugs all round on the final whistle for Roberto Di Matteo – JT first on the scene, and Drogba not far after.
chelseafc: Birmingham 0 Chelsea 2. Not extravagant, but solid and more efficient. Through to face Leicester in the quarter-finals.
The press reports
The Guardian, Kevin McCarra: “Chelsea had all the finesse required to win. Birmingham, sixth in the Championship, are trying to muster the momentum that could take them back to the top flight but their main feat here, with a greatly weakened line-up, was to match Chelsea before the interval. Even then they were tame. Despite the mundane quality of the win, this was still quite a night for Di Matteo.”
The Independent, Ian Herbert: “It was significant that Raul Meireles and Juan Mata, the outgoing manager’s two major signings, should have scored the goals which eased the turbulence of this week, but even more so that Meireles chose not to celebrate his own.”
The Daily Telegraph, Jason Burt: “The 3,000 visiting Chelsea supporters had their say also. They chanted the name of the caretaker manager, Roberto Di Matteo, having failed to acknowledge Villas-Boas throughout his months in charge, but then the Italian has the instant respect of being a former player whose exploits in this competition are writ large. They were not the only chants. Rafael Benítez was told, in no uncertain terms, he was not wanted as the next manager. Jose Mourinho, inevitably, was told he most definitely was while Roman Abramovich had a jovial endorsement in what should be a time of embarrassment for Chelsea.”
The Official Chelsea FC Website: “A new era at Chelsea begins with safe passage through to meet Leicester in the quarter-finals, Juan Mata and Raul Meireles the scorers at St Andrew’s.”