Chelsea made light work of Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium as they picked up a 2-0 away win in the Capital One Cup fourth round match on Tuesday night.
The game got off to a rather timid start, with both sides looking to try and control possession without really committing too many numbers forward.
Chance creation and danger in either penalty area wasn't really helped by two out-of-favour and out-of-form strikers being picked in Samuel Eto'o and Nicklas Bendtner.
Despite the quality of the two squads, it was somewhat representative of the game that the first real chance to score was the result of a defensive error; Carl Jenkinson had a horror show in failing to deal with a bouncing ball before sending his header back to his goalkeeper—except it never had anywhere close to enough power, allowing Cesar Azpilicueta to nip in and poke home inside the far corner.
Nacho Monreal went close to an equaliser moments later when he shot just past the far post, but in truth it was a deserved lead at the break for the away team.
After a similar start to the second half, where Chelsea held possession well but neither side really tested the goalkeepers, Arsenal had the odd chance to get shots away to level up the scores.
Firstly Aaron Ramsey scuffed an effort wide, then Bendtner failed to shoot at all when in space in the area. That proved costly as Juan Mata ran onto a loose ball just after the hour mark and launched an unstoppable shot past Lukasz Fabianski to make it 2-0 to Chelsea.
Arsenal still had time to pull it back and, to that end, brought on Olivier Giroud and Mesut Ozil, but Mark Schwarzer barely had a save of note to make and Chelsea ran out comfortable winners.
Key Player Grades
Samuel Eto'o: D+
Genuinely poor performance from the Chelsea striker, who looked sluggish, lacking in effort to link up with his midfielders and took a few shots from range which were so off target they didn't even run out for goal kicks. Showed intelligent movement, true, but not the kind of performance which is going to win him back his place in the league.
Jack Wilshere: C+
Wilshere was restored to his preferred central midfield role but failed to shine. He was often on the ball and looked to pick up the tempo of Arsenal's play, to his credit, but too often the final decision was either lacking in execution or the wrong choice. Long range efforts never worried Schwarzer.
Juan Mata: B+
An impressive showing from the Chelsea attacker, who could have done little more to impress manager Jose Mourinho. Mata worked hard, tracked back off the ball, made good runs in the final third and scored a terrific strike. Quiet in spells when Arsenal were trying to get back into the game, but overall, a pleasing display.
|Arsenal Player Grades|
|Chelsea Player Ratings|
Into the hat for the quarter final go Chelsea, while Arsenal are knocked out of the competition before the last eight for the first time in more than 10 years. Another chance for Arsene Wenger to end his long trophyless run disappears with it.