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Thursday, May 26, 2022

FA Cup bully Pedro stepped up as Chelsea and Hazard struggled against Wolves

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The Blues had to battle in the FA Cup at Molineux, despite putting out a very strong team against the Championship side


Pedro again demonstrated his FA Cup prowess to send Chelsea into the quarter-finals after Eden Hazard and Diego Costa delivered below-par displays against Wolves at Molineux.

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Former Barcelona attacker Pedro finished off a wonderful move to put Chelsea in front against the Championship side and has now been involved in six of his side’s nine goals in the competition this season.

He hit a wonderful cross-field ball to Victor Moses to start the move before running the length of the pitch to finish it off with a neat header down into the ground and past Carl Ikeme. 

However, Pedro struggled all game in an unfamiliar left wing-back role and he was replaced by Cesar Azpilicueta shortly after his goal. Wolves had Helder Costa running at him all game as Pedro spent much of the match facing his own goal.   

In fairness to Pedro, he is not a left-wing back and today proved that he is better suited to one of the front three roles as he was played deeper to fill in for Marcos Alonso, who was rested. He will still have impressed his manager Antonio Conte, though, with his attitude and by taking one of his side’s few chances.

Wolves Chelsea FA Cup Diego Costa

The 29-year-old has scored seven goals in his side’s last 10 appearances but he had to sacrifice himself for his team on all too many occasions to demonstrate the importance of Alonso to Conte’s system. 

Conte made seven changes from his side’s 1-1 draw with Burnley last week, but it was still an experienced team that took the field against lower league opposition and they struggled badly as Helder Costa and his team-mates exploited the wing-back positions.

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Hazard and Diego Costa are going through a temporary dip in form, and the latter was poor throughout. However, Conte will hope that Costa’s late goal will spark another scoring run after he ended a wait of over 400 minutes since his last goal against Hull City in January.

Chelsea’s new-look defence was poorly protected by the players in front of them with N’Golo Kante limited to a late substitute’s appearance as Wolves managed more shots on goal than their Premier League rivals.

John Terry led his defence well alongside Nathan Ake and Kurt Zouma – who deserve huge credit for a clean sheet – after being put under constant pressure throughout the match. 

There are signs that Chelsea’s powerful machine is slowing down, but the players have the mettle to do what their rivals often can’t, which is win while playing badly.

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Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United will look on with envy at how ruthless Conte’s Chelsea are, but the Blues boss will want more from his side as he enters the most important months of the season. 

Pedro will be requesting a move back to one of the front three positions again for next weekend’s Swansea game – and his goals are showing that he is becoming one of the first names on the Chelsea team sheet. 

As Hazard and Costa’s form stutters, Chelsea are increasingly looking to Pedro as their goalscorer and focal point. 

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