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Chelsea Cruise To Fourth Round In FA Cup

LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 06: Raheem Sterling of Chelsea celebrates scoring his teams second goal with teammates during the Emirates FA Cup Third Round match between Chelsea and Preston North End at Stamford Bridge on January 06, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Chelsea cruised to the fourth round of the FA Cup with a resounding 4-0 victory over Preston North End on Saturday evening.

FA Cup

Result: Chelsea 4-0 Preston

Date: 06 January 2024

Venue: Stamford Bridge

The Blues made four changes following their win over Luton Town in the Premier League, as Raheem Sterling, Enzo Fernandez, Mykhailo Mudryk and Alfie Gilchrist were all brought in.

Mauricio Pochettino’s charges took time to get into their rhythm and only came close to going ahead on 19 minutes after Sterling forced a save out of goalkeeper Frederick Woodman.

The home side seized the momentum as Cole Palmer had a much clearer opportunity a minute after he chipped Woodman in a one-on-one but his effort missed just wide of the gaping net.

Preston were well organized defensively, as they absorbed the pressure and they had another nervy moment towards the half-hour mark, as Woodman smothered Fernandez’s close-range header.

However, Chelsea could not break down the Championship side in the latter phase of the first stanza and appeared tired, as the first stanza ended without goals.

The Blues had renewed energy from the break and Armando Broja eventually broke the deadlock shortly before the hour-mark with a header in the box that went in off the post from a cross by Malo Gusto.

Chelsea remained on the front foot and Thiago Silva doubled their lead on 66 minutes with another headed goal from a corner by Palmer.

Preston were not given time to recover, as Sterling put the Blues out of sight in the last 21 minutes with a curling free-kick that beat Woodman for pace.

Pochettino took the opportunity to rest Palmer and Armando Broja in the last 15 minutes, as they were both replaced by Conor Gallagher and 18-year-old attacker Deivid Washington.

Chelsea were threatening to run riot and Fernandez eventually made it 4-0 in the dying minutes thanks to the intervention of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) after the goal was initially disallowed for offside after the Argentinian had a tap-in on the far side from a ricochet in the box.

There was still time for the Blues to get the fifth goal in long stoppage time after late substitute, 17-year-old Michael Golding found himself in front of goal but he was denied by Woodman from point-blank range, as Pochettino’s men cruised to the fourth round.

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