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18 February 2012
• Stamford Bridge, London
Referee: M. Atkinson
• Attendance: 36870
D. Sturridge 62'
D. Murphy 20'
90' + 4'
And that's it! The referee blows for fulltime! It's a replay for the two sides then. Chelsea were way, way below their best, but Birmingham have to be congratulated.
90' + 3'
The ball is sent straight into the area, it bounces into Redmond's path but Cech claims first.
90' + 2'
Three minutes of added time has been allocated... and Birmingham are breaking. But no, Luiz hauls down Jervis and it's a freekick to the away side near the halfline.
90' + 1'
Yellow Card David Luiz
90' + 1'
It's Lampard... and it's straight at the wall. Went for power. Poor.
Straight up the other end and it's a freekick to Chelsea. Last chance saloon? It's right on the edge of the penalty area, dead centre, as we enter stoppage time...
Oh dear! Birmingham should have won it! Confusion in the Chelsea midfield ranks allows Jervis is flick a great ball inbetween Cahill and Luiz for Redmond to run onto. The ball runs diagonally away from goal and the youngster, off balance, tries his luck from 15 yards out, but the effort is scuffed and Cech saves with ease. More composure and that could, and perhaps should, have been the winner.
Big shout for a penalty for Chelsea as Ivanovic is hauled to the ground. The referee is having none of it, and I agree.
...but the delivery is poor. Doyle simply plucks it out of mid-air.
Well, it's a corner for Chelsea anyways as Drogba'sattempt to find Lampard inside the area is sent behind by Davies.
Is there time for Chelsea's all-time top goalscoring midfielder to grab one of his infamous deflected efforts?
Final change for Chelsea and it's that man Lampard. He comes on for Mata. While Birmingham swap Burke for Elliott. A like-for-like change.
Hesitation between Cahill and Cech nearly allows Jervis in, by the defender regains his whereabouts in the nick of time to clear the danger.
Elliott, who has scored in both rounds of the FA Cup so far this season, makes good progress down Chelsea' right flank to try and find Jervis in the centre, but Cahill heads clear. They arn't giving up, the Championship side.
Here is that man Mr Veysey again: "With 13 minutes to go, Frank Lampard pops on a pink bib and draws approval from most of Stamford Bridge by limbering up on the touchline. With relationship between player and manager said to be strained, what better than a late winner from the midfield veteran?"
Mutch takes it... and it's straight at Cech. Ah well.
Well, the away side have a great change to prompt that upset now. Ramires fells Jervis around 25 yards out. Freekick time...
Ooof, that was close. Chelsea send in a corner and it's panic in the Birmingham defence. The ball bobbles out to Meireles on the edge of the area and he has a dig. It flicks up off the diving leg of Davies and onto the roof of the net. Heart-in-mouth time for the away side then.
Stat from Opta Sports: "Sturridge has scored seven goals in six starts in the FA Cup for Chelsea."
Change for the away side, with Jervis coming on for the hard-working Rooney.
They are still defending with real determination though. Impressive.
Drogba making waves inside the Birmingham final third now aswell. You have to say that the Championship side will do well to keep the score all sqaure at the moment.
Chelsea going all out for the winner here, and are suddenly finding team-mates with far more ease. Cross after cross going into the box but Doyle is, so far, dealing with them well.
Quick as a flash, here is Way-Vey's latest update from the ground: "The tension has been lifted at the Bridge following the excellent finish from Daniel Sturridge, now popping up regularly in the centre alongside Didier Drogba. Kudos to Branislav Ivanovic, who might have been granted far too much space on the right flank, but made full use of it with a fine cross into the box."
Typical. Just when I say that Chelsea are still struggling to find a way through, they score. Some call it a gift, some a curse.
Goal Daniel Sturridge
GOAL!! 1-1! Sturridge equalises for Chelsea! It's a life-line for Villas-Boas as Ivanovic powers a fine cross into the six yard box, from near the corner flag, that the Englishman mets, unchallenged, to head home inside the left-hand post.
There hasn't been a massive change in intensity for Chelsea. They are still plugging away, still not finding a gap in Birmingham's defence.
Glimmer of a chance for the Premier League side as Mata controls a cross-field pass by Drogba first time before unleashing a snap-shot towards Doyle's goal, but it's three yards wide.
Here is Wayne Veysey again: "Half-time substitute Didier Drogba is doing his best to rev up the home fans and provide the commitment that Fernando Torres noticeably failed to deliver in the opening period. After Birmingham won a goal-kick, the Ivorian ran to pick up the ball and place it on the spot. Instantly, the crowd got behind him."
Another change for Chelsea. Mikel off for the more attack-minded Kalou.
John Obi Mikel
No. It's a interesting routine as Fahey plays to low towards Redmond just inside the area. He's got more time than he is aware of and lashes it first time towards Cech's goal, but it whistles a fair distance over the bar. The Chelsea defence were all at sea again there.
It's sent in, looking for Davies, and the Championship side win a corner... can they add to their tally?
Yellow Card Gary Cahill
Freekick to Birmingham, around 40 yards out near the touchline after Rooney shows great strength to test Cahill. The loan striker has proved a handful for the centre-back all game.
The away side are playing with confidence, and who can blame them, they know the game is here for the taking. They are taking the match to Chelsea, forcing them into rash decisions as Sturridge tries a risky through ball into Drogba's pass that Murphy intercepts with ease.
Birmingham threaten to get forward after skipping past a few half-hearted challenges by the home side, before Redmond is dispossed by Luiz.
Chelsea already going far more direct, skipping out the under-performing midfield already, as Ivanovic sends another long ball into Drogba's pass, but this time it's a poor first touch from the Ivorian that let's him down. It was a speedy pass though, hard to control.
First sight of the ball for Drogba as he tries to get on the end of Luiz's long ball, but Doyle is out quickly to get there first.
Birmingham get us back underway then. Can they hold on to reach the quarter-finals?
Fifteen minutes to go. Can Chelsea grab the winner? Can Birmingham cause an upset?
The players are back out for the second half, and there's a change for Chelsea. Didier Drogba is on for Torres. Bit harsh on the Spaniard. He didn't do much wrong. Just shows the lack of confidence his manager has in him.
Here are Mr Veysey's halftime thoughts: "The half-time whistle is greeted by a few muted jeers, plus mostly silence here. Chelsea improved as the first-half wore on, but that is only to be expected given the poverty of their play in the opening 20 minutes. Birmingham have been resilient and surprisingly confident on the ball and could take some breaking down. Expect some half-time adjustments following the abjectness of a few in blue. Messrs Drogba and Lampard on the bench could still have big roles to play today."
The main problem for Chelsea is that they are misplacing the simpliest of passes, or going for the 'Hollywood' balls over the top of the defence, that Davies and Murphy are handling with ease. The midfield has been very poor today.
45' + 2'
And the referee calls an end to the first half. More hustle, more bustle, yet no real attacking threat. Story of the game so far for Chelsea.
45' + 1'
Into stoppage time now, of which there will be just the one minute.
Way-Vey isn't lying. It has been pretty much all Chelsea since they went behind, but Birmingham still look pretty comfortable in defence. They haven't properly stretched the Championship side yet.
Here is Wayne Veysey from Stamford Bridge again: "Chelsea are throwing everything at Birmingham in a bid to gain a foot-hold in this game. In the background, Brum fans are singing the name of Jose Mourinho. At least, I think it's the visiting fans..."
They are lining up here. More good movement from Chelsea as Mata, Torres and Sturridge all combine before teeing up Mikel for an effort from 30 yards. Unsurprisingly it's dragged wide.
The home side continue to up the ante as Cahill sends a long ball forward, that Torres heads back into the pass of Sturridge. The English internation, tees himself up and hits a superb dipping volley that skims the top of Doyle's bar. Outstanding effort.
More intensity from Chelsea as halftime approaches. Ramires and Sturridge exchange passes in the centre of midfield before the latter looks up and sends a great dipping cross for Ivanovic to try and get a toe on... but he can't.
Another warning for Chelsea, in case they needed one, as Redmond skips down the left flank for Birmingham before cutting inside and shooting across Cech's body. The goalkeeper is a match to it.
Yellow Card Jordon Mutch
...Wow! So, that's why he was standing over it. The Brazilian whips in a great curling effort that is dipping just under Doyle's bar, before tipping it over.
Anywho, back to the action and Chelsea have a freekick a shade under 30 yards out, line with the right-angle of the penatly area. Centre-back Luiz, of all people, is standing over it...
Interesting little stat (that I have stolen from the main LIVE! page): Birmingham have tasted victory just once in their last 19 matches against Chelsea. The last time the club won at Stamford Bridge was 1979.
What does Mr Veysey think, you ask? Well, let's find out: "This now has all the makings of an incredibly taxing afternoon for Chelsea and Andre Villas-Boas. The defending for the Birmingham corner that led to Murphy's volleyed opening was shocking, with David Luiz and Raul Meireles the worst culprits, and then Colin Doyle brilliantly saved Juan Mata's low penalty. Chelsea have responded well to going a goal behind after a woeful start to the game but the tension will rapidly rise at already nervous Bridge should this score-line remain the same."
A breathless couple of minutes have brought this game to life. Chelsea kicking into gear but a continual lack of quality passing in the middle of the park is letting them down. Simple five yard passes are going nowhere. Very strange.
Ooof. More great wing play from Chelsea, more strong defending from Birmingham. Ramires makes headway down the right, past Pablo and sends a great low cross into the six-yard box towards Torres, only for Davies to take it off the striker's toe.
When things are not going your way, they really don't (go your way). Crazy.
SAVED!! Ramires is felled by Davies inside the area for a stone-wall penalty. Mata steps up, aims for the bottom left-hand corner but the combination of Doyle glove and the post keep the ball out.
PENALTY TO CHELSEA!!
Goal David Murphy
GOAL!! Birmingham go 1-0 up!! Their second attack of the game and just their third corner. Unbelievable. Fahey sends the ball in, Luiz doesn't deal with it and the ball drops to David Murphy to power home from the angle. Cupset anyone?
A lot of bustling, for little rewards so far from Chelsea. Birmingham, despite a lack of possession, look perfectly comfortable sitting back at the moment. Not much quality so far.
Talking of players who are getting about the pitch, Ivanovic again nips in to intercept a Birmingham pass and start an attack. He finds Sturridge, he swivels around 25 yards out and lofts it short towards Mata, but the Spaniard's first touch lets him down and the ball trickles out for a goalkick.
Rooney, no relation, is making himself busy up front, despite a lack of contact with the ball. He's causing trouble for Luiz already.
Ah, this is a blow for the away side. Captain Carr is hobbling and he won't be able to continue. He comes off, to be placed by Spector.
Fahey sends it in, directed towards Murphy, but Luiz is first to it and the Brazilian heads clear.
First attack from Birmingham results in a corner...
Fine movement from Ivanovic there as he nicks the ball off the toe of Gomis to stride forward and play in Sturridge. The striker has no support so has to go alone, but is held up brilliantly by Murphy before going out for a goalkick.
More from Wayne Veysey: "The sun is shining here at the Bridge for this lunchtime kick-off. a game that has taken on greater importance because of Chelsea's recent patchy form. The Birmingham fans, well aware of the plight of Andre Villas-Boas and Fernando Torres, have already launched into chants of 'You're getting sacked in the morning' and 'What a waste of money'. No prizes for guessing who they were directing them at."
Ok, he just sat down. In fairness, I think it was in displeasure (if that makes sense) after seeing Sturridge shank a cross straight out of play.
You lot won't be surprised to know that Villas-Boas is already bouncing up and down on the touchline. Never sits still, that man. Entertaining.
Continual pressure from the Premier League side as first Sturridge, then Meireles, try their luck down the right. A few step-overs from both, but no progress. Decent defending there;
Mata and Torres combine on the edge of the Birmingham area, but there is no way through. The former finds Bertrand some 40 yards out to send it back into the area, but Torres cannot get on the end of it. Chance gone.
First opening for Chelsea as Ivanovic gets past Carr and races to the touchline, but his touch is too heavy and the ball runs out for a goalkick.
The home side are all getting a touch on the ball in an attempt to calm any nerves. Birmingham chasing shadows.
And Chelsea get us underway!
That's 1253 minutes of club football without a goal. David Luiz prays with him before the game. We are mere seconds away now...
So, just before we get underway? What are the chances of misfiring Chelsea striker Fernando Torres grabbing a goal today? The Spaniard hasn't hit the back of the net since October. It must be said, his all-round contribution to the team hasn't been as barren.
We are under five minutes away from kick-off. The teams are lining up in the tunnel. Birmingham captain Stephen Carr is adjusting his armband. THAT'S the type of analysis you only get here at Goal.com.
Chelsea last faced Birmingham in the FA Cup seven years ago, winning 1-0. What is everyone else's prediction?
Remember the prize up for grabs for today's winner; a place in the quarter-finals. Villas-Boas will be desperate for progression, just to keep the wolves away from his door ("wolves" being Roman Abramovich).
Here is our man at the ground, Wayne Veysey, with his pre-match views: "Chelsea skipper John Terry is not involved today despite returning to training last Thursday as he steps up his recovery from a knee injury, which has kept him out of the team's last three games. Andre Villas-Boas clearly does not want to risk such a key figure ahead of Tuesday's Champions League trip to Napoli. In his programme notes today, written before the squad against Birmingham was selected, Terry says: "I've been struggling with my knee injury but hopefully I will be back in some capacity today or, if not, at Napoli on Tuesday. With Arsenal in a position that is looking hard for them to turn around, we could end up being the only English team left in the Champions League and it is really important for us to make a good start to the tie."
However, to completely undercut all that hype, if you click the 'Preview' tab just above this text then you can have a look at my... well, preview of the the game. I've gone with a 3-1 victory to the home side. But, bare in mind, I love a comfy fence.
Yes, they are in a lower division, but Birmingham are an entirely different proposition to the team who were relegated last season. Hughton has, like he did with Newcastle, galvanised his players. They currently sit comfortably in the play-off positions, unbeaten in 13 games.
So, Andre Villas-Boas' men have failed to win in their last four Premier League games and today they face tough Championship opposition. Is there any chance of a 'cupset'? You better believe it.
For Birmingham, the highly rated Nathan Redmond starts up front, in place of Marlon King. Other than that, it is a side consisting of strength and experience. Boss Chris Hughton might just fancy his chances.
So the big news is that Ramires returns for Chelsea. He joins a strong line-up as Gary Cahill features for the second time for his new club. Youngster Ryan Bertrand continues to deputise at left-back for the injured Ashley Cole.
Birmingham City (4-4-1-1): Doyle; Carr, Davies, Ibanez, Murphy; Gomis, Fahey, Rooney, Mutch; Elliott; Redmond. Subs: Butland, Burke, Caldwell, Asante, Reilly, Jervis, Spector.
Chelsea (4-3-3): Cech; Ivanovic, Luiz, Cahill, Bertrand; Ramires, Mikel, Meireles; Sturridge, Torres, Mata. Subs: Hilario, Bosingwa, Essien, Lampard, Malouda, Kalou, Drogba.
As always, the team news first. Here it comes...
Good afternoon and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE coverage of the FA Cup fifth-round tie between the Premier League's Chelsea and Championship outfit Birmingham City.
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