The 5th Round of the FA Cup began its commencement on Saturday afternoon, with 3 of the round’s 8 slated matches taking place following the postponement of Sheffield Wednesday’s tie at Hillsborough against Charlton Athletic. Of the 3 matches that went ahead yesterday, the far and clear glamour one featured Premier League table toppers Manchester City and Chelsea doing battle at City’s Etihad Stadium.
Manchester City, finalists in the competition last year, looked to avenge a defeat suffered to Chelsea 12 days earlier on the same ground, and manager Manuel Pellegrini tried to downplay any sort of advantage Chelsea gained that early February night towards this cup tie, saying “Tactically, we didn’t have any problems,” in response to questions surrounding his choice of formations. Indeed, Pellegrini kept it basic and straightforward with his formation for the match, a 4-4-2 featuring a strong side with the likes of Yaya Toure, David Silva, Vincent Kompany, and Edin Dzeko all getting the starting nod.
Jose Mourinho and Chelsea meanwhile were up to their old jedi-mind tricks prior to the match, with the Portuguese manager referencing Arsenal boss Arsene Wegner as a “Master in failure” during the pre-match build up. Regardless, Mourinho was still plenty pleased with his side’s chancing of advancing from this tie despite the 1-1 draw mid-week with West Brom., nominating a starting 11 supposedly full of defensive grit mixed with offensive firepower, Branislav Ivanovic and Edin Hazard leading the two units.
Surprisingly though, the match itself unfolded without many incidents and decidedly in the favor of Manchester City, with Dzeko’s strike partner Stefan Jovetic finally shaking off the injury bug and putting City ahead on 15 minutes with a cool, cross-goal finish past Petr Cech in front of Chelsea’s traveling support. In fact, it was Dzeko himself who slid the ball in Jovetic’s path for the goal, setting up the Montenegro international for his first goal since late January when he put one past Spurs in City’s 5-1 mauling of them at WHL.
The remainder of the first half passed by without any true scoring chances forming at either end, and City maintained their 1-0 advantage with relative ease. It was pretty much the same verse, second time ’round in the final 45 minutes for City as well, with second half substitute Samir Nasri finishing off a supple passing sequence with David Silva to slot past a dazed and confused Petr Cech and put City 2 goals to the good, all only 5 minutes after coming on for the first-half goal scorer Jovetic.
Mourinho simply had no answers on the day to cure his Chelsea side, and despite throwing on Oscar as a substitute in the 71st minute, the Blues never really threatened the goal of Costel Pantilimon and struggled to create chances through out the match, logging only 3 total shots with NONE of them forcing the Romanian international into a save, leading to a comfortable day at the office for all affiliated with City as they rather unexpectedly cruised their way into the 6th Round.