FA Cup: Chelsea and West Ham survive scares to progress
The FA Cup lived up to its expectations as smaller teams went on to scare Premier League sides in the fourth round. After Manchester United were beaten 8-7 on penalties by Middlesbrough earlier, both Chelsea and West Ham United saw their games enter extra-time. Plymouth and Kidderminster Harriers FC made life difficult for these two sides. Both Chelsea and West Ham won 2-1.
- This was another day when minnows expressed themselves on the pitch make the bigger sides work hard.
- United were left ruing their missed chances and Chelsea too had a similar pattern before Marcos Alonso handed them the lead in the first half of extra-time.
- Kidderminister FC took the game deep as well to scare the Hammers.
Macaulay Gillesphey handed Plymouth a dream start after flicking home the opener from Houghton's free-kick delivery. Mateo Kovacic's shot rattled the post moments later. Chelsea hit the post two times more before Cesar Azpilicueta scored from a flicked finish following Mason Mount's low cross. Chelsea dominated the game in the second half and had several chances but Plymouth held on to force extra-time.
Chelsea finally got a lead when Alonso found himself in the penalty area and struck the ball into the net. The Blues have kept themselves alive in all three cup competitions this season. They had 70%-plus possession and fired 40-plus shots against Plymouth. Plymouth earned a late penalty but Ryan Hardie missed the same. Chelsea managed to hang on and make progression.
West Ham were on the brink of suffering an exit against Kidderminster FC before Declan Rice scored a 91st-minute equalizer. Alex Penny had earlier given Kidderminster the lead in the 19th minute, Things were tied at extra-time before Jarod Bowen scored in added time of second-half extra-time to hand the Hammers a 2-1 win in the end.
As per Opta, West Ham have now progressed from their last 11 FA Cup ties against non-league side oppositions. They were last eliminated by a non-league side in the form of Swindon Town in 1911-12. After going six FA Cup games unbeaten at home, Kidderminster suffered a defeat. West Ham have progressed to the fifth round of the FA Cup in successive seasons.
As per Opta, this was the first meeting between Chelsea and Plymouth since February 1989. The Blues had won that second-tier match 1-0. Plymouth had last beaten Chelsea in 1979 (Carabao Cup). Chelsea have now won 11 of their last 12 FA Cup matches at Stamford Bridge (L1). Plymouth have been eliminated by top-tier sides in each of their last 14 FA Cup ties.