Patient Chelsea beat resolute PNE in FA Cup


With a Carabao Cup semi-final 1st leg coming in midweek, Mauricio Pochettino’s Blues progressed in another cup competition with a hard fought 4-0 win over Championship side Preston North End to reach the 4th round of the FA Cup. 

Chelsea made changes but maintained a strong XI as they looked to remain in both cup competitions. There was a full debut awarded to Alfie Gilchrist in defence. 

They played a Preston side that had lost four of their last five in the Championship, but still found it difficult to break down their opposition. 

In the first haklf, Raheem Sterling blazed over after a scramble on the edge of the area, and Cole Palmer directed the ball wide with only the goalkeeper to beat from eight yards out. 

The visitors then had a half chance just under half an hour in as the big Montenegrin striker Milutin Osmajic drilled an effort on target. 

Still on the comeback trail from a horrific ACL injury, Armando Broja struggled to get into the game in the first half but put Chelsea ahead just before the hour with a well directed header home off the back of a sumptuous delivery from Malo Gusto. 

Broja very nearly earned a second in as many minutes with a header onto the crossbar, but the Blues would find a second from Thiago Silva as the Brazilian headed home from a corner after poor Preston marking. 

Raheem Sterling put some extra shine on the night with a peach of a free kick, before VAR awarded Chelsea a fourth courtesy of Enzo Fernandez. 

Whilst the scoreline may have not told the story of a Preston side that were very much in the game for three quarters of the contest , Pochettino and the Chelsea fans will surely be delighted with the clinical nature that they ended the game. 

A safe passage into the 4th Round means that a cup double is still on for the West London side despite their poor league form. They travel to Middlesbrough in the week for the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final. 

Meanwhile Preston will return to the second tier grindstone and hope to change their fortunes in order to push back on towards the top six with a game against Bristol City at Deepdale. 

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