BY PAUL LAGAN
Chelsea 3 v Sheffield Wednesday 0
Gonzalo Higuain made a successful Chelsea debut to send the Blues safely into the fifth round of the FA Cup as they beat Championship outfit Sheffield Wednesday 3-0 at Stamford Bridge tonight with VAR making a crucial intervention twice in the Londoners favour.
While the Argentina striker did not score, he was a pivotal focal point up front, and was not even offside once.
It’s was a marked contrast to departing Alvaro Morata, who completed his medical to Atletico Madrid and even then was probably offside for part of it.
Two goals from Willian, once a penalty and a smart Callum Hudson-Odoi effort saw off he rugged Yorkshiremen, who were outclassed in every department.
It was a tepid opening exchange between the two sides. Chelsea made seven changes from the side that booked their Carabao Cup final berth on Thursday – notably a debut for on-loan striker Gonzalo Higuain, while Callum Hudson-Odoi, who has put in a transfer request, also started.
A wayward 25-yarder by Ethan Ampadu, on 16 minutes was the first attempt on goal by the Blues.
Higuain had a turn and shot, that was deflected for a corner on 19 minutes, but the referee Andre Marriner adjusted it was a goal-kick instead.
Marriner then gave a penalty on 22 minutes after Ampadu clipped the ball away from in-running Joey Pelupessy.
However VAR deemed what we saw and the penalty decision was overturned by the new technology.
Seconds later and the Blues were given a spot kick after Cesar Azpilicueta was taken down by ex-Chelsea player Sam Hutchinson. VAR checked the referee’s decision and agreed. Up stepped Willian, his run, stuttered, just before he kicked it wide of Kearney Westwood to put the home side 1-0 up.
There were no changes by either side at half-time.
Wednesday’s Liam pa;Omer struck the Willy Caballero’s left post on 50 minutes when his cross from the right was taken by the strong wind and it rattled the wood work.
Higuain had a glancing header zip inches wide of Westwood’s goal on 61 minutes after Apladu’s clipped pass into the Wednesday penalty area.
It would be the kid’s final contribution.
seconds before he was replaced by Lewisham-born Ruben Loftus-Cheek, on 60 minutes, £40million-rated Hudson-Odoi smoothly collected a long pass from Andreas Christensen in the Wednesday penalty area. The winger cut inside with a deft back-healer, before planting a low drive past Westwood to double the home side’s lead.
Higuain‘ s debut came to an end with 10 minutes left on the clock as Olivier Giroud replaced the Argentina striker.
With 30 seconds of coming on the pitch, the France World Cup winner, create an assist by tapped the ball back to Willian on the edge of the Wednesday area, and the Brazilian curled a beautiful right-footer around Westwood, and the ball nestled in the back of the net after clipping in off the post.
Jorginho then replaced Barkley.
The draw for the fifth round is tomorrow night, on the BBC at 7pm.
Teams: Chelsea, Caballero, Rudiger, Alonso, Barkley, Higuain, Kovacic, Hudson-Odoi, Willian, Christensen, Azpilicueta, Ampadu
Subs: Arrizabalaga, Jorginho, Pedro, Loftus-Cheek, Luiz, Emerson
Sheffield Wednesday, Westwood, palmer, Fox, Pelupessy, Fletcher, Bannan, Thorniley, Lees, Reach, Boyd, Hutchinson,
Subs: Dawson, Nuhiu, Joao, Mathias, Baker, Pudilk, Forestieri