Hazard inspires as Chelsea hammer understrength Manchester City
Chelsea 5 Manchester City 1
Published 21/02/2016 | 18:12
Chelsea's hopes of ending a miserable season at Wembley are alive and well after the Blues beat a much-changed Manchester City 5-1 in Sunday's FA Cup fifth round at Stamford Bridge.
Willian, Gary Cahill, Eden Hazard and substitute Bertrand Traore scored second-half goals to extend Guus Hiddink's 100 per cent record in the competition to six games.
The Dutchman, who led the Blues to the 2009 FA Cup during his first spell as caretaker boss, has now lost just one of 13 games in all competitions since succeeding Jose Mourinho in December.
City have now lost three in a row - prior defeats to Leicester and Tottenham dented their Premier League title bid - ahead of a vital week.
Manuel Pellegrini's men play Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League on Wednesday and the Capital One Cup final with Liverpool next Sunday, so the City boss delivered on his promise to make wholesale changes.
Just 90 seconds after going behind to Diego Costa's opener, City equalised through David Faupala, one of five full debutants, and it was 1-1 at half-time before Chelsea's second-half blitz.
City's goal was marred by coins thrown from the lower section of the Matthew Harding Stand. Chelsea vowed to ban anyone found responsible from Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea appear in good health, with Cesc Fabregas influential and Hazard performing well and might have had another had Oscar's penalty not been saved by Willy Caballero.
City made nine changes in all following the loss to Tottenham, with six teenagers joined by the experience of thirty somethings Caballero, Pablo Zabaleta, Aleksandar Kolarov and Martin Demichelis.
Hiddink named an unchanged line-up following the Champions League last-16 first leg loss at Paris St Germain, with Hazard retaining his place.
Chelsea began brightly and so did City. It was the hosts who might have gone ahead when Pedro played a one-two with Fabregas and struck the post.
The Blues took the lead when Fabregas found Hazard, who hooked the ball across for Costa to head in unmarked.
Demichelis and Kolarov should really have known better against a striker who has now scored nine times in 13 games since Mourinho's departure.
City were level within moments, though, as Manu Garcia, Faupala and Kelechi Iheanacho combined on the right.
Thibaut Courtois and Cesar Azpilicueta failed to deal with Iheanacho's cross and Faupala pounced. His goal was met with shouts of "who are ya?" from the visiting end and objects hurled from the Chelsea fans.
Pedro was denied by Caballero, who had a few nervy moments, before Chelsea doubled their lead early in the second half.
Willian picked up the ball in his own half, found Hazard, and collected the return before shooting into the far corner.
Next Fernando failed to deal with Hazard's cross and the ball fell for Cahill, who volleyed through the despairing dive of Caballero.
Hazard then ran at Demichelis, who was booked for a cynical foul. The Belgian curled the resulting free-kick in.
The hapless Demichelis bundled over substitute Traore, but avoided a second yellow card. Oscar's poor penalty was easily saved by Caballero.
Traore hit the post and Kolarov stung the hands of Courtois before Chelsea scored a fifth.
Oscar's cross was then flicked on by Traore and his looping header went in to give Chelsea successive 5-1 home wins following the Premier League defeat of Newcastle.