Fikayo Tomori scored the winner for Chelsea, who crept into the fifth round of the FA Cup but should have been out of sight by half time.
Chelsea silenced a full KCOM Stadium inside the sixth minute when Michy Batshuayi, one of eight changes made to the Chelsea team by coach Frank Lampard, forced the ball home from close range via a deflection.
For a while it seemed like Chelsea would turn on the style against a Hull side who were caught in the headlights in the first half, but the Londoners were incredibly wasteful. Ross Barkley and Mason Mount were the key culprits, missing one-on-ones with Hull keeper George Long, who pulled off some vital stops.
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Hull turned the game on its head after the break but they also struggled couldn’t convert their possession and dominance into goals and Tomori’s winning goal, a header from Barkley’s pinpoint free-kick to the far post, came at the perfect time for Lampard’s side.
The hosts kept pushing and got a deserved goal courtesy of substitute Kamil Grosicki, whose free-kick deflected off Mateo Kovacic, leaving the helpless Willy Caballero stranded in the Chelsea goal. That gave way to a strong healthy finish, but Chelsea held firm to ensure their name is in the hat for the draw for the fifth round on Monday.
Were Chelsea wasteful? Yes, they made this much harder for themselves than it should have been given their dominance, particularly in the first half. Ross Barkley and Mason Mount were guilty of the biggest misses, but there were a host of half chances that came and went. Chelsea were deserved winners in the end, but a lack of ruthlessness is the key factor in stopping Frank Lampard’s side taking the next step in their development.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Fiyako Tomori (Chelsea): Was one of eight players reinstated to the starting line-up by Lampard and was the one player who made the strongest case to keep his place. Dealt well with the physicality of Hull’s centre forward Eaves, and popped up with what proved to be the winning goal. The centre back could even have grabbed another.
Hull City: Long 8, McKenzie 7, Burke 7, Tafazolli 6, Lichaj 4, Da Silva 5, Kane 6, Honeyman 5, Bowen 8, Wilks 6, Eaves 4. Subs: Grosicki 8, Magennis 7, Samuelsen 6.
Chelsea: Caballero 7, Azpilicueta 7, Zouma 7, Tomori 9, Alonso 7, Barkley 7, Kovacic 7, Mount 7, Pedro 6, Batshuayi 6, Hudson-Odoi 7. Subs: Willian 7, Gilmour 7, Lamptey n/a.
6’ GOAL! Hull 0-1 Chelsea - Batshuayi scores! One chance, one goal for Chelsea. Azpilicueta's cross towards Hudson-Odoi is overhit but finds Mount, whose shot is blocked, but Batshuayi follows up and forces the ball in via a deflection.
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16’ Barkley chance! Huge chance for Chelsea as Mount sends Barkley clean through, but Barkley's finish is unconvincing, as Long comes out to make a key stop. Good save, but bigger miss.
29’ Mount chance! It's another big chance for Chelsea to double their lead, but that man Long keeps Hull in it. Mount goes through and picks out the bottom corner, but Long makes a vital stop from point blank range.
59’ Bowen chance! Almost the equalizer as Bowen receives the ball in midfield and drives forward and fires narrowly over the top. The closest Hull have come so far and the chance falls to their most dangerous player.
64’ GOAL! Hull 0-2 Chelsea - Tomori makes it two! Hull are undone by the simplest of goals. Barkley whips a free-kick towards the back post and Tomori motors in at the far post to nod past Long.
78’ GOAL! Hull 1-2 Chelsea - Grosicki scores! The comeback is on as substitute Grosicki thumps a free-kick at goal and the ball takes a massive deflection off Kovacic and wrongfoots Caballero.
- Chelsea have not lost any of the last 28 games that they've led at half-time (W22, D6). That record stretches back to December 2018 when they lost 2-1 to Wolves.
- Chelsea have kept just seven clean sheets in 35 games this season.
- Frank Lampard has been on the winning side in each of his last six meetings with Hull as a player or manager. Two as a player with Chelsea and Man City, four as a manager with Chelsea and Derby.
- Fiyako Fhas scored as manay goals in 21 appearances for Chelsea this season (two) as he netted in 55 games for Derby last season.
- Michy Batshuayi has been directly involved in 18 goals in his 18 domestic cup starts for Chelsea and Crystal Palace combined, scoring 15 and assisting three.
- Hull are yet to win any of their 11 FA Cup meetings with Chelsea, drawing three and losing eight.
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