Hull City 1-2 Chelsea: Blues edge Tigers to reach FA Cup fifth round
Fikayo Tomori and michy Batshuayi scored in half as Chelsea beat Championship side Hull to achieve the FA Cup fifth round.
The Blues took an early lead if the strike of Batshuayi deflected off Hull’s Ryan Tafazolli and the ball flew beyond goalkeeper George Long.
Chelsea dominated the rest of the half with Long required to earn a run of good saves, but after the break that the Championship side enjoyed a spell of domination in which the equaliser threatened.
Herbie Kane failed to make the most of a free-kick while Jarrod Bowen needed the Chelsea defence scrambling using a piercing series but put his shot over the bar.
The hosts’ hopes were staged, however, when Chelsea added another from a free-kick as Tomori, who had a loan at Hull two decades ago, nodded in Ross Barkley’s delivery because of his second target for the side of Frank Lampard.
Chelsea two went close to adding a third prior to cutting on an effort over the goalkeeper just for the ball to land at the side-netting through Pedro, who placed an attempt just wide of the far post.
It was Hull who believed to set up a tense finale as Kamil Grosicki’s free-kick by the edge of the box took a wicked deflection to land in the rear of the web.
However, make sure their place and Chelsea held to advantage victory.
With Tammy Abraham out wounded and ahead of the transfer window closes on Friday, Chelsea rumoured to be thinking about striker options , this game represented a major chance to establish that he could have a role to play.
The striker has struggled to push his way into the reckoning since his #33m move from Marseille in 2016, starting only four Premier League games since then.
Most of the 26-year-old’s time at Stamford Bridge was spent away on loan however his attack rate at the Blues is still striking, averaging a goal every 92 minutes.
It took him just six minutes to get on the scoresheet against Hull, and while there was a major slice of fortune about the target – his shot deflecting wickedly away Tafazolli – Batshuayi had put himself well from the build-up, drifting away from his enemies to give him ample space to get the shot off.
But Batshuayi failed to build on this and was quiet for the remainder of the match with his most significant contribution a to cut a Hull free-kick that was harmful.
If Chelsea are considering bolstering their attacking options, this functionality from Batshuayi is not likely to dissuade Lampard from dipping.
Hull confronted a undertaking of causing an upset. They hadn’t beaten Chelsea in any competition since 1988 and have been thumped 4-0 by the Blues in the FA Cup.
The Tigers also went to this game on the rear of two league defeats – failing to score a goal in either of these games – but still gave a great account of themselves.
Top scorer Bowen, joined with a transfer into the top flight this season, was the busiest participant at the first half and managed four shots on goal – greater than every other player on the pitch although none of them actually troubled Willy Caballero at the Chelsea goal.
The moment came in the second half when he took on three players by himself before compiling a shot just over the bar.
From then on his influence and Hull’s spark dulled but Grosicki’s fortuitous goal in the final phases gave them hope.
In the long run, another goal was beyond them but that is a performance that Tigers fans will expect can help reignite their challenge. Hull are just seven points off the top six.
Both sides go back to league action with Hull hosting Huddersfield at the Championship on Tuesday, 28 January (19:45 GMT) while Chelsea are in Leicester in the Premier League on Saturday, 1 February (12:30).