Chelsea survive Plymouth FA Cup scare - and here's how the players fared
Chelsea booked themselves a place in the fifth round of the FA Cup. Just.
They needed extra-time and a penalty save from Kepa to finally get the better of the gutsy League One outfit, having fallen behind early on.
The Blues, who were missing a Covid-convalescing Thomas Tuchel, head to the World Club finals glad to have survived a tricky afternoon.
Here is how the players rated:
Kepa Arrizabalaga 7
Saved sub Ryan Hardie’s penalty in extra-time as the Blues squeaked home. Left looking statuesque by the opener from Macauley Gillesphey. Had to clean out a few corners and be alert to snaffle another half-chance for Hardie with a good smother. Also got behind a Ryan Broom effort.
Cesar Azpilucueta 9
Spent a lot of time in the attacking third and his urgency transmitted to the players. Sent in one rasping low drive which Mike Cooper got down to very well, then got on the end of Mount’s low cross to make it 1-1. Kept appearing in area you’d expect Lukaku to occupy.
Andreas Christensen 6
Did not have an awful lot to do, as Argyle’s first-half attacks were few and far between. Made way for Alonso at the break as the Blues tried to inject an even greater attacking threat.
Antonio Rudiger 6
Flicked header at a corner went narrowly past the far post. Was a spectator for a lot of the game as he watched team-mates apply pressure on the Argyle defence.
Malang Sarr 5
Gave away a penalty in extra-time after fouling Ryan Hardie after gifting the striker the ball. Was grateful Kepa saved the subsequent kick. Linked up reasonably well with Hudson-Odoi before the break but took up a more central position in defence after the interval. Lashed one chance well over following a corner.
Mason Mount 7
An assist for Azpiluceta’s 42nd minute equaliser and popped up to help create several more openings. Almost put away a lay-off from Lukaku – Cooper pulling off a great save to deny him. Just wide with low drive at the start of extra time.
Carded for a foul on Luke Jephcott which broke up an Argyle counter-attack. Flashed a shot just wide as Chelsea built momentum after drawing level. A modest contribution.
Mateo Kovacic 8
Was unlucky. Thumped a great chance against the crossbar moments after Argyle took the lead and later in the first half sent a low shot against the inside of a post.
Hakim Ziyech 7
Often looked the man most likely to get Chelsea back on an even keel. Hit one shot straight at the Argyle keeper and a chip picked out Hudson-Odoi for a chance which should have been put away. Brilliant one-two with Mount almost gave Lukaku a goal.
Romelu Lukaku 6
Underwhelming. Beaten at the far post when Argyle scored their shock opener. Inches away from sliding in a low cross from Ziyech, but was often a static presence which could be contained.
Callum Hudson-Odoi 6
Some menacing work cutting in from the left early on and saw plenty of the ball. Headed a Ziyech chip onto the bar from close range.
Marcos Alonso 7
Came off the bench at half-time for Christensen and was soon engaging in some typically rampaging sorties down the left and a few wild shots at goal. But as he often does, he got into the box to steer home a Havertz pass to put the Blues ahead at last.
Kai Havertz 6
Came on for Hudson-Odoi after 64 minutes and had a chance almost immediately in a breakaway, which was blocked by skipper Joe Edwards. An assist for the winner.
Others subs: Timo Werner Came on for Kovacic 10 minutes from the end.
Saul On for Mount in the first period of extr- time
Trevoh Chalobah Given last 10 minutes of extra-time in place of star man and skipper Azpulicueta.