Chelsea 4-0 Brentford

Chelsea Football Club

Chelsea recorded three wins in a row for the first time since December, as the Blues cruised past their local rivals.

Juan Mata and Oscar set Chelsea on their way, before the old guard of Frank Lampard and John Terry added the gloss to the scoreline.

In truth, the Brentford faithful, who had made the six-mile trek to Stamford Bridge, saw a much closer match than the result indicates, keeping their neighbours at arm’s length for large portions of the match.

But only once in the last 14 years have Chelsea failed to reach the fifth round of the FA Cup, and with the talent of Cech, Terry, Lampard and Mata in the starting eleven, there was great expectations in front of the home crowd.

Many sides use the FA Cup as a chance to blood youth players, or allow fringe players some game-time, but the intent was clear from Rafael Benitez, who seems determined to end his Chelsea reign with some silverware at least.

But before thinking about the Middlesbrough Fifth Round tie on offer in 10 days time, Brentford had to be overcome first, and after trickling past Sparta Prague three days ago, it was no surprise the Chelsea players looked jaded in the first half.

Adam Forshaw was quick to trouble the returning John Terry, whilst Victor Moses, back in the line-up as a Champion of Africa, showed his side the pace and directness they lacked during his Nigerian adventures.

Ivanovic’s defensive game seems to have slipped recently as a central defender, so the opportunity today as a right-back was taken with both hands, nearly assisting Demba Ba with a low, fast ball into the box, before attempting to team up with his team-mate again from a corner.

Oscar scored the winning goal in the Czech Republic on Thursday and was rewarded with a start today, and it needed the woodwork to stop him from recording two in two matches, having been put through by Juan Mata.

One man who has been a constant starter under the Benitez era is Frank Lampard, and the veteran had more than his fair share of chances in the opening 45 minutes, volleying wide from an Ivanovic cross, having mis-timed a strike earlier on in the half.

Chelsea have not lost to third-tier opposition for 23 years, and in the second half, the difference between the European Champions and the side currently seventh in League 1 told.

Juan Mata became the third Chelsea player to score a goal in all four competitions this season, with his low, 53rd minute drive nestling in the bottom corner for 1-0.

It was Chelsea pressure deserving of a goal, with Simon Moore being kept busy all match, but there was no stopping Juan Mata, who continues to prove why he is Chelsea’s vital man.

For all the trickery Chelsea possess, it was a simply Route One goal, with Cech’s long punt up cushioned to Mata, who drilled it in from the edge of the box.

Would this set Chelsea on their way? Indeed it would, with one becoming two 14 minutes later.

Ivanovic continued to excel down the right, and when his cut-back found Oscar, the little Brazilian improvised and back-heeled the ball goalwards, and despite the slow speed, the ball managed to evade the grips of Moore and trickle in.

Chelsea have only lost two of 18 replays, and with the score-line at 2-0, the game was near done and dusted.

Of course, there is also room for a Frank Lampard goal, however, and the 34-year-old popped up with a standard volley in the penalty box to make it three.

It means the England midfielder has now been involved in 24 goals in his last 25 appearances in the FA Cup, and is now just four away from beating Bobby Tambling as Chelsea’s outright all-time top scorer.

Whether that warrants a new contract remains to be seen, but Roman Abramovich seemed happy enough, smiling away in his box.

Another familiar face in the stands was Avram Grant, and how he would have cheered on his former side to victory.

Oscar turned provider for the fourth, swinging one in for John Terry to get his head to 10 minutes from time, as the Blues waltzed their way to the next round.