BY PAUL LAGAN
Chelsea cruised into the quarter-finals of the FA Cup with a demolition job on hapless Hull City, with Willian scoring twice and a goal apiece from Pedro and Olivier Giroud as the Blues ran out 4-0 winners at Stamford Bridge tonight.
Such was the ease of the game for Antonio Conte and his charges, that he gave debut to Kyle Scott, 20, and another run out to 17-year-old Callum Hudson-Odoi.
It was also a perfect match as it allowed Conte to rest key players ahead of Tuesday’s match of the season – the first leg of their Champions League knockout tie against Barcelona, again at the Bridge.
The game was effectively over as soon as referee Andre Marriner blew his whistle.
First attack, first goal. Two minutes in and Willian picked up the ball on the edge of the Hull City penalty area, took a couple of touches, before planting a cool, left footed curler around David Marshall and into the back of the visitors net.
Marshall was soon in action again, this time he managed to tip a low Cesc Fabregas goal-bound shot around his right post for a corner.
A great chip by Pedro fed Olivier Giroud who somehow managed to volley over Marshall’s goal.
Next up was Pedro – after a sharpe counter-attack, the Spain midfielder shot directly at Marshall. But a minute later, 27 minutes, he broke free and latched onto a sublime through pass by Fabregas and Pedro clinically crashed the ball home with a low left, footer.
Five minutes later on 32 minutes and the game was over. Giroud won the ball and tapped it to Willian. The Brazilian then tapped it forward and curled a beauty around Marshall. The ball zipped off the left post into the back on the net.
Giroud’s hard work was rewarded three minutes before the break. Again controlled play saw the Balon played with to debutant Emerson. The left back cut a byline cross into the gleeful path of the France forward at the near post, and he flicked the ball cooly past Marshall.
It was the striker’s first goal for the Blues following his £18million January transfer from Arsenal.
Antonio Conte opted for a half-time change, replacing Pedro with Callum Hudson-Odoi, 17.
The Blues were a bit careless in their play in the opening couple of minutes. The result of which was a deserved Hull City penalty four minutes after the restart. Fabregas needlessly tripped Harry Wilson, who hurt his shoulder in the process
After a couple of minutes treatment, up stepped David Meyler to thrash the ball goal-bound. But Willy Caballero, guessed the correct way to dive – to his right – and spectacularly saved the shot.
Wilson could not carry on and a couple of minutes later was replaced by Jon Toral. Chelsea made their second substitute on 62 minutes giving a debut to 20-year-old midfielder Kyle Scott. Fabregas made way.
A quick break almost saw Davide Zappacosta score. But his daisy-cutter inched wide of Marshall’s goal.
Alvaro Morata entered then fray at the expense of tiring Giroud with 20 minutes left.
Willian, quiet for most of the second half bust in to life on 88 minutes, but his rasping right-footer crashed of Marshall’s left upright.
The draw for they next round is tomorrow evening.
Teams: Chelsea Chelsea team: Caballero; Rudiger, Cahill (c), Ampadu; Zappacosta, Drinkwater, Fabregas, Emerson; Willian, Giroud, Pedro.
Subs: Eduardo, Chalobah, Sterling, Scott, Moses, Hudson-Odoi, Morata.
Hull City: Marshall, Irvine, Meyler, Dickinson, Diomande, Gobelin, Dawson, Clark, Stewart, Wilson, MacDonald
Subs: McGregor, Grasicki, Toral, batty, Keane, Campbell, Clackstone