Chelsea sealed their passage to the FA Cup fourth round with an emphatic 5-0 win over Watford at Stamford Bridge.
Two goals from Daniel Sturridge, plus goals from Florent Malouda, Frank Lampard and an own goal from John Eustace were more than enough for victory.
As predicted, the side was a mix of youth and experience, with Hilario, Belletti, Sturridge and the underutilised Zhirkov included, as well as Matic, Kakuta and Borini on the subs bench.
Sturridge opened the scoring early with his first Chelsea goal. John Terry volleyed a Lampard corner goalwards from an Alex knockdown, however Sturridge was on hand to prod it in at the back post.
The second goal was the result of calamitious defending by Watford. Malouda’s cross was volleyed back across the face of goal by Joe Cole before deflecting off a Watford defender and Frank Lampard, before John Eustace eventually put the ball through his own net in desperation.
The tie was all over before the half hour mark as rampant Chelsea quickly netted a third. Zhirkov’s attempt from range deflected off Malouda, the touch wrong footing the unlucky Watford goalkeeper Scott Loach, who could only watch helplessly as the ball rolled past him and into the net.
Watford did manage to create one chance, a free header from Jay De Merit, headed straight at the previously untested Hilario from a rare corner.
In the second half, Frank Lampard’s sumptuous long range effort made it 4-0 before Sturridge completed the rout, beautifully controlling a cross before slotting past Loach.
Matic, Kakuta and Borini all made appearances from the bench as Chelsea cruised to full time.
Preston North End away is the assingment for the fouth round, as Chelsea continue their defence of the FA Cup.