Chelsea avoided becoming the latest victims of the FA Cup’s spate of giant-killings as the holders eased into the fifth round with a 4-0 win over League One minnows Brentford on Sunday. Chelsea, who have won the Cup four times in the last six seasons, will travel to Championship side Middlesbrough for their delayed fifth round tie on 27 February.
The Blues were struggling to get out of first gear and Branislav Ivanovic was off-target with a looping header from Juan Mata’s corner, then Frank Lampard miscued a good opportunity and when the loose ball ran to Oscar, the Brazilian’s close-range shot was well blocked by Bees defender Harlee Dean. But there was more urgency about the Blues in the second half and, after Ivanovic’s header forced a good save from Moore, they finally ended Brentford’s resistance in the 54th minute when Mata cooly finished to give the hosts the lead.
With the pressure lifted at last, Chelsea were able to play with more freedom and they killed off Brentford in the 68th minute. Substitute Eden Hazard worked his way into the penalty area and slipped a pass to Ivanovic, whose low cross was met with a back-flick from Oscar that deflected into the net off a Brentford defender.
Lampard made it three when he volleyed home from Mata’s cross in the 72nd minute. It was the England midfielder’s 199th Chelsea goal and made him the club’s all-time leading scorer in the FA Cup. There was still time for John Terry, heading home Oscar’s cross, to complete the rout in the 81st minute.
Wigan Athletic secured their place in the sixth round with a convincing 4-1 win over Huddlesfield Town. Callum McManaman struck a fine opening goal in the 31st minute and Arouna Kone tapped home a second shortly before the break to leave new Huddersfield manager Mark Robins with a difficult half-time team-talk in his first match in charge.
James McArthur struck a brilliant third goal from the edge of the penalty area early in the second half and although Huddersfield substitute Lee Novak headed home just after the hour, it was not enough to trouble a Wigan side who are still chasing their first win in the Premier League this year. Kone pounced on a loose ball 25 yards from goal in the 89th minute and after evading the covering defence crashed home a right-footed shot from just inside the area into the roof of the net for his second goal on the night.
A Sergio Aguero brace was the highlight of Manchester City’s comfortable 4-0 fifth round victory over Leeds United on Sunday. With City 12 points behind Premier League leaders Manchester United, the FA Cup remains Mancini’s most realistic hope of winning silverware this season and Aguero’s efforts, together with goals from Yaya Toure and Carlos Tevez, carried his team through to the last eight with minimal difficulty.