Chelsea’s season is now basically over after they crashed out of the FA Cup at Goodison Park. Romelu Lukaku scored twice for the Toffees as the Blues’ last hope of silverware disappeared. Diego Costa saw red when he went head to head with Gareth Barry, which capped off an awful night for Guus Hiddink.
Hiddink made quite a few changes to the line-up which lost to PSG in the Champions League in midweek. Nemanja Matic came back into midfield, Eden Hazard dropped out of the team and the squad after his midweek injury. John Terry returned to the squad, but he was only fit enough for a place on the bench. That saw Branislav Ivanovic retain the captain’s armband.
Coming in to this game, the pressure was on Hiddink to continue the club’s push for silverware. Thibaut Courtois had said the team needed to push for a final, and that wasn’t happening in the Champions League. Their 4-2 aggregate defeat to PSG saw them outthought and outclassed, and this game was a very tough follow up.
It was a crucial game for both clubs, as Everton were also looking at the FA Cup as a way to save their season. The two sides were pretty closed up in the first half, which led to a cagey affair. It wasn’t the best viewing, but at half time you would have called it a good 45 minutes for Chelsea.
Costa missed a decent chance in the second half, as he rounded the goalkeeper and then saw his chance roll past the far post from a tight angle. Chelsea again weren’t anywhere near their best from last season, but they were in this game. They pushed forward but couldn’t find the killer ball to open up this defence.
Lukaku twisted, turned and shrugged off half the Chelsea team in the build up to the opener. The goal was compared to that famous Ricky Villa strike, and it certainly deserved it. The Belgian made his former club play, as he broke the deadlock with 13 minutes left on the clock.
The Belgian found himself in again just five minutes later. He stood on the last man of the Chelsea defence, and found himself in plenty of space. He was put in at a tight angle, but he slid the ball under Courtois, booking Everton a place at Wembley. After that, Costa ended all of Chelsea’s hopes by stupidly getting himself sent off in an altercation with Gareth Barry.
As for Chelsea, they now have nothing to play for this season. Sixth seems beyond them, and the club hardly want to return to the Europa League in July. This season is going to be written off, so hopefully we see a few youngsters get their chance in the remaining games.
These two displays this week show how far the club has fallen. The dip hasn’t just been in quality, but in ambition. After the game the manager of the Premier League champions said that making a cup final would have been good, but he’s happy the club are out of relegation danger. That alone should make Blues fans angry. Even worse, it may be a while before those standards are raised.