And into the hat we go! Chelsea breezed past an under-strength Hull City side to secure a place in the quarter finals of the FA Cup. Two goals from Willian, one from Pedro and Giroud’s first goal in blue made it a 4-0 win. Here’s what we thought of the game.

#1 Burst Of Energy (On The Bench)

Antonio Conte went with the usual mishmash of senior pros and young guns in his squad for the game. The likes of Callum Hudson-Odoi, Dujon Sterling and Kyle Scott occupied the bench, ready to be called upon if the conditions were right. Alvaro Morata, on the road to recovery from a back injury, also kept them company. There was a start for Ethan Ampadu, who continues to defy the naysayers by playing like someone a decade older than him. Olivier Giroud played up front with Willian and Pedro. Drinkwater and Fabregas occupied the two midfield slots while there was a debut for Emerson Palmieri at left wingback. It looked like a very balanced side on paper and so it proved on the pitch.

#2 It’s Willian, Innit

It took just 106 seconds for the Brazilian to break the deadlock. If that goal was good, his second was even better. Willian looks revitalized after a brief slump in form, although it could be argued that the whole team was performing poorly then. He had a handful of chances to complete his hattrick but was foiled by the ‘keeper or by the post. But his contribution didn’t end with the goals. When Fabregas conceded a penalty, Willian walked up to Hull’s penalty taker, David Meyler, and whispered in his ear, “No pressure, no pressure but you’re going to miss it”. Lo and behold, Caballero dived to his right and kept out Meyler’s penalty. Willian, you magnificent bastard.

#3 Forever Young

This game will be remembered for the debut of Kyle Scott. Step aside Pulisic, it’s time for Scott to shine. The American youngster gave as good as he got and his aggression belied his slender frame. He was surprisingly decent, considering he has been on the bench so many times previously without ever making it on to the pitch. Everyone’s favourite footballer with a double-barreled last name, Callum Hudson-Odoi, got an entire half to strut his stuff. The talent is there for all to see, and the potential is unbelievable. He just needs to be more in tune with the first team’s way of thinking. That will come with more playing time. Just don’t expect him to line up against Barcelona anytime soon.

#4 Leverage Giroud

The perfect target man? Giroud opened his account for Chelsea with an improvised finish with his standing leg, finishing a cross from fellow newcomer Emerson. He also assisted two goals on the night, proving that he is exactly what Conte was crying out for. And he could also be in line for a start against Barcelona in midweek. It’s been quite a rollercoaster few weeks for the Frenchman, who started his Chelsea career with two big upsets. But it all seems to be falling into place now. The poor guy just needed a couple of games to shake the Arsenal off of him.

#5 It Could Get Messi

It might be too early to start Alvaro Morata against mighty Barcelona in the Champions League, so Giroud could keep his place up top. If there’s even a slight chance that Alonso could be fit for that game, he will be in the starting eleven. That’s a given. Conte confirmed in his post-match press conference that Bakayoko will not be fit by then, so there’s a puzzle he’ll need to solve. Let’s hope Messi continues his record of never having scored against Chelsea.

Chelsea have started building some momentum after a horrible few weeks, but will it be enough to overcome the challenge of the Catalan giants? Not too long left to find out, as Barcelona visit the Bridge on the coming Tuesday. Fingers crossed, we’ll have something to hang on to in the second leg.

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