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Chelsea 2-1 Plymouth Argyle – FA Cup Player Ratings

Chelsea, Plymouth Argyle
Source: Chelsea Football Club

Let’s take a look at the player ratings from the fourth-round FA Cup match between Chelsea and Plymouth Argyle at Stamford Bridge.

An extra-time winner from Marcos Alonso spared Chelsea’s blushes to seal a 2-1 win over Plymouth  Argyle in a fourth-round FA Cup tie on Saturday.

Things got off to a bad start for Chelsea. First, Thomas Tuchel tested positive for coronavirus. The manager entered self-isolation, leaving his assistant Arno Michels in charge. Then, just eight minutes into the first half, the eight-time FA Cup winners fell a goal down at Stamford Bridge.

Plymouth midfielder Jordan Houghton brilliantly swung in a free-kick into the box. Defender Macaulay Gillesphey got the better of his marker, Romelu Lukaku, to head the ball past a helpless Kepa and into the far corner of the net.

It was Plymouth’s first attack of the tie, yet the League One side scored. The opener left the traveling supporters in dreamland, setting the tone for the rest of the match.

Perhaps reminded of the upset Manchester United suffered against Middlesbrough on Friday, Chelsea upped the tempo. The Blues pressed hard for an equalizer and came close a few times. Callum Hudson-Odoi and Mateo Kovacic both hit the woodwork before the home side finally scored in the 41st-minute.

During a quick attack down the right, Mason Mount rolled in a low cross into the box for Cesar Azpilicueta to flick the ball in.

Kepa’s penalty heorics spare the Blues

Buoyed by the equalizer, Chelsea continued to overwhelm their opponents in the second half. They threw everything at Plymouth. More often than not, the ball was bobbling around the visitors’ box. But somehow, someway the League One side held on to force the tie into extra-time.

It was a similar story for much of extra-time. There just wasn’t enough quality up front for Chelsea, with Lukaku and substitute Timo Werner struggling. The threat of penalties loomed ever closer, until the dying moments of the first period.

Marcos Alonso, who replaced Andreas Christensen during the break, broke Plymouth hearts by cooly putting away Kai Havertz’s back pass to hand the Blues a 2-1 lead.

Kepa then spared the home side’s blushes by saving a late penalty from Ryan Hardle after Malang Saar brought the striker down inside the box to seal Chelsea a spot in the fifth round and bring an end to a tense affair in west London.

The European champions will next face either Al-Jazira of the UAE or Al-Hilal of Saudi Arabia in the Club World Cup semi-finals on Wednesday.

Player Ratings

CHELSEA: Kepa (8); Azpilicueta (8), Christensen (4), Rudiger (6), Sarr (7); Mount (8), Jorginho (6), Kovacic (7); Ziyech (8), Lukaku (5), Hudson-Odoi (7).

Bench: Alonso (6), Werner (5), Havertz (5).

PLYMOUTH: Cooper (8); Edwards (7), Wilson (6), Scarr (8), Gillesphey (9), Grant (6); Camara (7), Houghton (8), Mayor (5); Garrick (6), Jephcott (5).

Bench: Ennis (6), Hardle (6), Randell (5).