Chelsea turn on the style as Preston pummelled

L-R Armando Broja, Cole Palmer, Raheem Sterling, Noni Madueke and Thiago Silva


L-R Armando Broja, Cole Palmer, Raheem Sterling, Noni Madueke and Thiago Silva celebrates during Chelsea vs Preston

Chelsea recorded a 10th consecutive home FA Cup win after four second-half goals helped the Blues to a comfortable 4-0 victory over Preston North End at Stamford Bridge. 

Chelsea took complete control of possession early on as their quest to claim a first FA Cup title since 2018 began. Yet, the Blues were laborious on the ball and a more dynamic Preston outfit almost sent their 6,000 travelling fans into delirium after 20 minutes when Will Keane controlled on the edge of the area and drilled a low strike at Đorđe Petrović.

That warning shot from the Lillywhites quickly sparked Chelsea into action, and quickfire chances came the hosts’ way. Raheem Sterling was first to force Freddie Woodman into a fingertip save with a rising shot, before Cole Palmer expertly controlled Enzo Fernández’s long ball forward and clipped an effort inches wide. Ryan Lowe’s men held firm though, and continued to look dangerous on the break with Milutin Osmajić racing into the box and firing towards the bottom corner, only for Petrović to divert the attempt.

The HT break worked in the Blues’ favour, and Mauricio Pochettino’s men started to show the quality of a side unbeaten in six at home. It didn’t take long for them to break the deadlock, with Armando Broja ending his 11-match goalless run by rising highest in the area to glance Malo Gusto’s cross past a rooted Woodman. Now behind, Preston started to tire and Chelsea took full advantage by striking twice more in quick succession. Substitute Thiago Silva was allowed too much space to race onto Palmer’s corner and headed into the top corner, moments before Sterling secured passage through to the fourth round with a dipping 20-yard free-kick.

Enzo Fernández tapped in a late fourth to cap a dominant display as Pochettino’s outfit notched three consecutive wins for the first time since early October. Preston will be disappointed after failing to take their first-half chances, but three successive defeats without scoring will be a concern for Ryan Lowe, who is coming under increasing pressure for his job as his side crash out of the FA Cup.

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