Chelsea 3 – 1 Huddersfield Town

Match reports

Independent on Sunday, Ronald Atkin: “Though they duly headed back north empty-handed, Huddersfield, players and supporters alike, had the traditional grand day out in London beloved of FA Cup minnows and for a gloriously unbelievable quarter of an hour at the start of the second half, were actually holding the world’s richest team 1-1. Then reality, in the shape of the sublime Frank Lampard, set in and Chelsea are through to the quarter-finals, their dream of a four-trophy season still afloat.”

Sunday Telegraph, Jonathan Wilson: “There was a quarter-hour spell just after half-time when Chelsea were under pressure, but the truth is this was a routine victory. Huddersfield will feel they came out of the game with credit – and there was, at times, a pleasing zip and intelligence to their football – but they must also know that they were comfortably outclassed.”

The Observer, Will Buckley: “After all the shenanigans of the global Premier League – the gift that no one wanted – it was a relief to return to the old-fashioned simplicities of the Cup. It all ended as expected, but a Huddersfield equaliser on the brink of half time ensured it remained a contest longer than expected and gave their magnificent fans some reward on their grand day out.”

Sunday Times, Brian Glanville: “Especially welcome for Chelsea was the unexpectedly early return and the dominant form of John Terry, whom Grant kept on the field for the whole game, but had initially planned to keep him on for just 70 minutes.”

Official Chelsea FC Website: “Goals number 100 and 101 for Frank Lampard plus a second-half strike by the returning Salomon Kalou eased Chelsea into the FA Cup quarter-finals.”

The highlights

Extended video highlights.

Today was marginally more entertaining than the Liverpool game but, with a biting cold wind, the overall enjoyment was about the same.

It started as a typical game against lower league opposition with fans making a joke of any errors on our part in the belief that the end result would inevitably turn out okay. However I feared we wouldn’t all be laughing if it was still level with fifteen minutes to go. A goal from Frank Lampard settled all our nerves, so time to sit back and enjoy the rout, except a Huddersfield equaliser just before half time made us all sit up and pay attention.

Huddersfield were Division 1 Champions in 1923/24, 1924/25 and 1925/26, being the first team to win three titles in a row, and were FA Cup Winners 1921/22. I think it may be at least another 80 years before they win another significant trophy but to be fair they have got a much bigger flag than us. Their fans tried to cover the penalty area with balloons to get some sort of deflection assistance but our groundsmen did a fine job with their forks.

Player ratings

  • Carlo Cudicini: Not much to do and he must have been freezing – 6/10.
  • Paulo Ferreira: Didn’t get forward enough – 6/10.
  • Tal Ben Haim: Couple of good runs forward – 6/10.
  • John Terry: Didn’t break anything – 6/10.
  • Wayne Bridge: Got forward a lot so most of our action was on the left side. Did he win his place in next week’s final? – 7/10.
  • Steve Sidwell: Clearly feels very uncomfortable facing the opposition goal so it’s much safer to turn around and pass back or sideways. I blame his mum for buying him the “David Batty Soccer Skills” video for Christmas – 4/10.
  • John Mikel Obi: How a top player should look against lesser opposition – a cut above. Plus had several good combinations with Lampard – 8/10.
  • Frank Lampard: My wife thought he was playing like two men until I mentioned there were actually two Super Franks on the pitch (welcome home Sinclair). Two goals taking his tally to 101, lots of good runs and interplay with Obi – 8/10.
  • Salomon Kalou: Didn’t emulate his Africa Cup of Nations performances. Maybe he’s better in the warm? Still he did score so – 7/10.
  • Claudio Pizarro: Plenty of effort and one mazy run that deserved a goal – 6.5/10.
  • Scott Sinclair: Average players shouldn’t wear such bright boots – 5/10.
  • Subs: Not worth mentioning.

Man of the Match

Super super Frank, super super Frank, super super Frank, super Frankie Lampard.

Final thoughts

The game wasn’t too exciting. Our play was very predictable and there was a lot of sideways passing between the back four, a style that we’d reduced thankfully in recent months.

However a win is a win and we’re through to the last eight and, with Arsenal and Liverpool out, there’s isn’t much blocking our path to a second Wembley visit.

Liverpool are proof that wins against lower league teams can’t be taken for granted. Having scraped past Luton after a replay, managing to come from behind against Havant and Waterlooville, the Barnsley tie was always going to be tough and clearly was a bridge too far – ha ha. Whilst results justify the sacking of Rafael Benitez hopefully he’ll keep his job and provide a continuous source of derision.

Will Arsenal’s heavy defeat dent their confidence and affect their league form? Possibly, but then again it saves them a few extra games in the run in.

I suspect that whichever eleven played today we’d have won. I also suspect that none of the players rested were too disappointed since it was only Huddersfield in a 5th round FA Cup tie. Having given run outs for Terry and Lampard team selections will become much more tricky from this Tuesday.

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