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Dublin: 13°C Tuesday 11 May 2021
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Efficient Chelsea ease past Watford and into the fourth round

Watford held out for a while but the result was inevitable really.

Chelsea midfielder Willian
Chelsea midfielder Willian
Image: Richard Heathcote

CHELSEA OVERCAME A stubborn first-half performance from Watford to eventually COAST to a 3-0 victory in the FA Cup third round on Sunday.

The Premier League leaders had been frustrated by their Championship opponents during a goalless first half at Stamford Bridge, provoking manager Jose Mourinho into action at the interval.

Mourinho sent on Willian and top scorer Diego Costa at the start of the second half in place of Oscar and Andre Schurrle, and the two had the desired impact as both were involved in breaking the deadlock just before the hour mark.

Costa cut in from the left and passed to Loic Remy, who in turn found Willian and the Brazilian curled a sublime shot into the net from just outside the area.

With the breakthrough made, Chelsea struck a quickfire double blow in the final 20 minutes to put the result beyond doubt.

Remy volleyed in a second after Costa’s shot had been blocked, and Kurt Zouma headed home a pinpoint cross from Cesar Azpilicueta.

Following a busy festive period of four league matches in 11 days, Mourinho made eight changes with only Gary Cahill, Azpilicueta and Oscar keeping their place from the defeat to Spurs.

Watford almost went ahead when Fernando Forestieri saw a shot deflected over and Odion Ighalo fired wide of the target in stoppage time.

The visitors made a bright start to the second half and went close to opening the scoring in the 55th minute when Deeney’s low cross took a deflection off Filipe Luis and was diverted behind by the sharp reflexes of Cech.

Chelsea responded as Bond kept out Drogba with his legs and soon afterwards the home side were ahead.

Costa and Remy combined to set up Willian, who got the ball out of his feet before curling a fine finish into the top-right corner from 20 yards.

Remy then took advantage of a deflated Watford by thumping a 70th-minute volley high into the net, before Zouma rounded off the scoring with a powerful header two minutes later.

Watford had conceded 13 goals without reply on their previous three visits to Stamford Bridge, and in the end this meeting proved a similarly one-sided affair as Mourinho’s side cruised into the fourth round.

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