Chelsea are in the hat for round four of the FA Cup after overcoming Preston North End at Stamford Bridge.
Mauricio Pochettino’s men were made to work for their goals and had quite a physical battle on their hands in the first half, but they rallied in the second and tore their visitors apart to book their spot in the next round.
Academy graduate Alfie Gilchrist was named in the Chelsea starting lineup for the first time, coming in at right-back and proving to be the standout performer of the first half.
Cole Palmer spurned the Blues’ best chance of the opening 45, dinking over Freddie Woodman but past the post after meeting Enzo Fernandez’s ball over the top.
Chelsea played with more purpose at the start of the second half and took the lead through Armando Broja. Mykhailo Mudryk regained possession in the final third and passed the ball back to Malo Gusto to cross for the Albanian.
Minutes later, Chelsea scored a second, with Thiago Silva nodding in a corner from Cole Palmer.
It got better for Chelsea by the 70th minute when Raheem Sterling scored a stunning free-kick to all but end the contest.
There was still time for Chelsea to score a fourth, with Fernandez bundling the ball in from close range. He was initially denied by an offside flag, but the goal was allowed to stand after a long VAR check.
With the clock winding down, Pochettino threw on 17-year-old Michael Golding for his senior debut to round off a fine day for Chelsea.
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