Chelsea Squeaks Out Quarterfinal Victory

Stamford Bridge applauded their former player and current Magpie Scott Parker, gave a salute to Alan Shearer, playing in his final FA Cup, and almost immediately, Chelsea were up one-nil. Frank Lampard made a nifty move to gain a third minute corner, followed immediately by John Terry slamming home the setpiece. As it rifled through the legs of Newcastle keeper Shay Given, fans must have been expecting Chelsea dominance. 4-0? Maybe 7-0 to mirror their Merseyside rivals Liverpool in their victory over Birmingham City? Anything was possible.

But despite a solid game from striker Didier Drogba, along with some brilliant runs by Joe Cole, Chelsea was held to one goal, finishing out a lackluster match with a 1-0 win. Newcastle was overmatched and Chelsea dominated play in a relatively routine match. It wasn’t that Chelsea sat back and protected the lead. They did anything but, flooding the Newcaste penalty area with crosses and threatening to strike for the final 91 minutes of the game. Nonetheless, a goal didn’t come. It must be discouraging to this Chelsea squad who just months ago was murderlizing teams with a combination of flare and never say die attitude. A victory is a victory, however, and we’re on to the next round. Chelsea drew Liverpool for their FA Cup semifinal match, and the teams will meet for the tenth time in the last two seasons. Chelsea’s only loss? Last season’s Champion’s League heartbreaker en route to Liverpool’s victory in the competition.

Much is to be said about the alleged diving incident of Shaun Wright Phillips. My next post, after watching this weekends Manchester City tie and seeing how the players respond to the allegations of cheating, will examine this issue. Until then, lets hope the Blues triumph against Manchester City at the Bridge, driving them even closer to their Premiership and FA Cup double.

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