Chelsea have again reached the FA Cup Final by defeating Aston Villa 3-0 in the semi final at Wembley Stadium.
Decisive goals from Didier Drogba, Florent Malouda and Frank Lampard proved to be more than ample on the day. Avram Grant’s Portsmouth will be our opposition, after they beat Tottenham 2-0 after extra time in the other semi.
Drogba was the only change from the side that beat Manchester United last weekend, returning in place of Nicolas Anelka. Hilario, the cup goalkeeper for the most part, was fit again and on the bench.
Villa, predictably, started with Gabriel Agbonlahor and John Carew up front with Ashley Young and James Milner wide. Emile Heskey was a sub.
The first flashpoint came in the fifteenth minute. Agbonlahor, despite having a handful of Mikel’s shirt, was felled by the Nigerians challenge. Howard Webb waved play on much to Martin O’Neill’s displeasure.
As it were, Villa failed to take advantage of a sloppy first half from Chelsea, and as ever, the Blues made they pay. Just beyond the hour mark, a poor clearing header reached Terry who snatched at a left foot shot. Though it was going wide, Drogba was on hand to poke it in for his 32nd goal of the season.
The second flashpoint was Webb’s decision to book Terry for a bad tackle on James Milner. O’Neill, incensed by this stage, demanded that Terry be sent off.
The second and third goals followed as Villa pushed forward. Substitute Michael Ballack hung a superb ball up at the back post for Malouda to net his 14th of the season, before Lampard expertly guided a placed shot into the bottom corner for his 22nd.
Plain sailing in the end for the Blues and a real tilt now at defending the Cup and doing their first League/Cup double. Will Avram Grant come back to haunt Chelsea?