Roberto Di Matteo’s Blues will contest the FA Cup final with Liverpool on May 5, but were helped on their way by a huge slice of luck when a goal was awarded to Juan Manuel Mata that never crossed the line. Didier Drogba, Ramires, Frank Lampard and Florent Malouda all scored legitimately however, but Spurs will feel rightly feel wronged at Wembley.
Tottenham went with Rafael Van Der Vaart playing off Emmanuel Adebayor in attack and Aaron Lennon got a start on the right. Carlo Cudicini played against his former club. Chelsea skipper John Terry and Ashley Cole were both passed fit and Salomon Kalou was chosen to occupy the left flank.
Lampard had an early header go over the top at one end whilst van der Vaart shot a wide from distance up the other. Kalou needed to clear from under his own crossbar from a Spurs corner and was involved in attack moments later feeding Mata who was only a decent first touch away from a great chance to put Chelsea ahead.
Terry blocked brilliantly on the line from van der Vaart when Lennon set him up. Tottenham’s Dutchman also directed another effort onto the post, but the Blues led at the break as Drogba struck in stunning fashion just before half time. Taking a long punt up-field on his chest, the Ivorian turned and lashed the ball left-footed past a helpless Cudicini into the roof of the net.
After the interval, the Spurs keeper had to save from Mata and from the resulting corner David Luiz, but then the officials made a monumental error in front of a worldwide audience. Referee Martin Atkinson ruled that another Mata effort amidst a packed penalty area crossed the line, but replays showed the ball wasn’t even close to doing so.
This injustice aside, Spurs pulled one back through Gareth Bale. Scott Parker fed Adebayor and although Petr Cech brought to the Togo striker down, the ball broke for the Welsh winger to tap into the unguarded net. Chelsea could easily have been reduced to ten men here. Di Matteo had cause for concern regardless with Luiz stretchered off injured ahead of the Champions League semi-final meeting with Barcelona.
Harry Redknapp threw on Jermain Defoe in search of an equaliser, but instead the Blues increased their advantage through Ramires. Mata’s through-ball found the Brazilian who dinked the ball over Cudicini with aplomb. Inside the last ten minutes, Lampard struck a fine free kick beyond the Italian stopper’s despairing dive to make it 4-1.
Inside stoppage time, the Blues added a fifth thanks to substitute Malouda who latched onto Mata’s ball over the top to slot home. This followed an unseemly altercation between John Obi Mikel and Parker as Tottenham tempers frayed at the frustration of the second goal. That controversy aside, Chelsea still swept away their London rivals. Bring on Barca!
Tottenham Hotspur: 23 Carlo Cudicini, 28 Kyle Walker, 13 William Gallas, 26 Ledley King (c), 32 Benoit Assou-Ekotto, 7 Aaron Lennon, 8 Scott Parker (30 Sandro 90’+3), 14 Luka Modric, 3 Gareth Bale, 11 Rafael Van Der Vaart (18 Jermain Defoe 75’), 10 Emmanuel Adebayor 4-4-1-1
Goals: Gareth Bale 56’
Chelsea: 1 Petr Cech, 17 Jose Bosingwa, 4 David Luiz (24 Gary Cahill 59’), 26 John Terry (c), 3 Ashley Cole, 12 John Obi Mikel, 8 Frank Lampard, 7 Ramires (15 Florent Malouda 82’), 10 Juan Manuel Mata, 21 Salomon Kalou, 11 Didier Drogba (9 Fernando Torres 85’) 4-2-3-1
Goals: Didier Drogba 43’, Juan Manuel Mata 49’, Ramires 77’, Frank Lampard 81’, Florent Malouda 90’+4