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Dublin: 5°C Thursday 4 March 2021

Chelsea and Man City comfortably progress to 4th round

Timo Werner ended his goalscoring drought against Morecambe while Bernardo Silva netted twice for City in a 3-0 win over Birmingham.

Timo Werner breaks his goal drought.
Timo Werner breaks his goal drought.
Image: Matt Dunham

Chelsea 4-0 Morecambe

TIMO WERNER ENDED his 12-match goal drought as Chelsea cruised past Morecambe 4-0 at Stamford Bridge and into the FA Cup fourth round.

Mason Mount toasted his 22nd birthday with a fine 25-yard strike, with Callum Hudson-Odoi and Kai Havertz also on target.

Misfiring Germany forward Werner was pitched in despite the League Two opposition, with boss Frank Lampard desperate to kick-start his £53million signing’s goal return.

Werner bungled an early chance to raise fears that Lampard’s plan could backfire, but the 24-year-old later tapped home the easiest of finishes, much to Chelsea’s collective relief.

Summer RB Leipzig capture Werner wound up toiling 827 minutes without a Chelsea goal, charting back to the Blues’ 4-1 thrashing of Sheffield United on 7 November.

Lampard will desperately hope the goal infuses the pacey forward with confidence, with the Blues expected to rise quickly from ninth place in the Premier League table.

So desperate for a victory were Lampard and Chelsea that they resisted entirely the chance to blood their latest crop of hugely-talented youngsters.

At least five academy players spent the week training with Chelsea’s first team, but all were ignored as Lampard sought to ease the pressure built up by four losses in six league matches.

Werner simply had to score once he started against Derek Adams’ Shrimps from the fourth tier.

Had this match come during his purple patch of five goals in four Chelsea games in October and November, Werner would have been able to put his feet up.

Instead Chelsea’s blue chip summer recruit was pressed into service in search of that deadly finishing touch.

That Werner needed to play in this match was evident almost immediately.

Hudson-Odoi and Hakim Ziyech conspired to wrap up what should have been a gift of a drought-ending goal, but instead of nod in at the far post Werner flicked tamely wide.

A gilt-edged chance to fire himself full of confidence missed then, and one he would doubtless have buried during his hot streak earlier in the season.

Werner’s brittle confidence was on view again just minutes later when he failed to gamble and dart deep into the area.

Hudson-Odoi’s clever first-time ball across the six-yard box begged for a tap-in, but Werner was out of range.

Birthday boy Mount finally lashed Chelsea into the lead with a crisp long-range strike, the England midfielder’s effort almost venting frustration at his colleagues’ lack of sharpness in front of goal.

In total control, Chelsea meandered through the remainder of the half, dominating possession and territory without cutting loose.

But just before the half-time whistle, up popped Werner – finally – to tap home for a goal when it truly would have been tougher to miss.

Ziyech’s back-post cross allowed Havertz to nod square in the six-yard box and all Werner had to do was tap into the empty net.

britain-soccer-fa-cup Werner breaks his duck. Source: Matt Dunham

Hudson-Odoi slotted home in style to put the Blues 3-0 up after the break, the England winger latching on to Ziyech’s lofted pass for a well-worked finish.

The shape of this goal will have pleased Lampard no end, with one winger in Ziyech drifting into the number 10 berth and the other in Hudson-Odoi running beyond the central striker.

On such fluidity must Chelsea base their bid to climb the Premier League table.

Another prolonged period of dominance without end-product followed until Havertz nodded in captain Cesar Azpilicueta’s cross at the death.

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Manchester City 3-0 Birmingham

manchester-city-v-birmingham-city-emirates-fa-cup-third-round-etihad-stadium City goalscorers Bernardo Silva and Phil Foden. Source: PA

Bernardo Silva struck twice early on as Manchester City eased into the fourth round with a comfortable 3-0 win over Championship side Birmingham.

Phil Foden also netted in the first half as 2019 winners City began their latest cup quest with a routine victory at the Etihad Stadium.

Birmingham, 18th in the Championship and without a win in their previous six games, rarely troubled the hosts aside from a Jeremie Bela-led late flurry when the result was already beyond doubt.

City could have won by more, such was their dominance, and Riyad Mahrez had a second-half effort ruled out for offside.

City had hoped their starting line-up would feature record goalscorer Sergio Aguero for the first time since October but the Argentinian, who is being eased back into action after knee trouble, did not even make the bench.

No explanation for his absence was given before the game but the club did confirm the 32-year-old was not injured and was otherwise unavailable. There were reports the player was self-isolating but these were not confirmed.

Aguero’s presence, however, was hardly required on this occasion as City made easy work of Birmingham.

Pep Guardiola’s men were so fluid, with numerous players switching positions depending on the nature of an attack, the visitors simply could not get a handle on them.

City soon established complete control and almost put the game out of sight within the first quarter of an hour.

The opening goal came after seven minutes. Joao Cancelo, who frequently drifted into central midfield from right-back, clipped the ball into the area and George Friend’s attempted clearance fell to Silva on the edge of the area. The Portuguese adjusted instantly and fired a chest-high half-volley into the roof of the net.

It was a spectacular strike and Silva was on hand again to double the lead soon after. This time it may have been a mere tap-in but the build-up was similarly impressive as City carved the visitors open.

Mahrez played in Kevin De Bruyne with a clever ball with the outside of his foot and the Belgian pulled back from the byline to present Silva with a simple finish.

manchester-city-v-birmingham-city-emirates-fa-cup-third-round-etihad-stadium Tributes paid to Colin Bell outside the ground. Source: PA

It was inevitable City would score more as Foden shot wide following a neat turn and Gabriel Jesus, back in the side after returning from isolation, got behind the defence only for goalkeeper Andres Prieto to intervene.

Foden wanted a penalty after a challenge by Mikel San Jose but, had it been given, replays suggested any offence would have been outside the area.

Foden was not deterred and struck the third just after the half-hour mark. The 20-year-old took a neat touch to wrong-foot a defender following a break from Mahrez and then drilled a left-foot shot into the bottom corner from distance.

A rare Birmingham attack saw Friend have a deflected shot saved by Zack Steffen before Jesus had an effort hooked off the line by Maikel Kieftenbeld.

Silva twice went close to completing his hat-trick with efforts that hit the side-netting and rolled wide either side of the break.

City’s intensity slowed after a series of substitutions but Mahrez was unlucky to be denied by a tight offside call when he volleyed in on the hour.

Birmingham began to get a few openings in the latter stages as City eased off. Substitute Bela proved a handful, twice troubling Steffen with long-range strikes and then hitting another narrowly over.

FA Cup results (Sunday early kick-offs)

  • Crawley Town 3-0 Leeds United
  • Bristol City 2-1 Portsmouth
  • Cheltenham 2-1 Mansfield Town
  • Chelsea 4-0 Morecambe
  • Man City 3-0 Birmingham
  • Barnsley 2-0 Tranmere

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