Chelsea will play Stoke City in the fourth round of the FA Cup after beating Derby County 2-0 at Pride Park on Sunday afternoon.
John Obi Mikel marked his 300th performance with a rare goal to open the scoring in the 66th minute with a header and to make it even sweeter for the Nigerian, he was wearing the captian’s armband at the time.
The ties was more-or-less put to bed five minutes later when Oscar’s effort found the net with a bending shot but Jose Mourinho’s side also wasted a number of opportunities in front of goal – particularly Samuel Eto’o and Fernando Torres.
Eto’o started the match up front for the Blues and was released by Mikel on goal during the first half but the forward delayed and delayed his shot until the angle became too tight and the chance was lost, it was a demonstration of the lack of confidence amongst the Chelsea strikers.
After the hour mark Torres was brought into the action whilst the game was still tied at 0-0. He had two opportunities to put Chelsea three ahead and was guilty of faffing around just as Eto’o had earlier on in the game but forced a fine save from Lee Grant with his second opportunity aimed across goal.
The game was mostly a stale affair until Chelsea stepped up the gears and the inclusion of Michael Essien, who started the game as captain, alongside Mikel and Ramires was a little safe by Mourinho but winning the game and avoiding a troublesome replay was the main thing.
It was the second game in-a-row that a Brazilian had been booked for simulation and it was Ramires who took a tumble in the penalty area. Diving and missing chances aside, I think Mourinho will be happy enough with the performance.