Man City beats Chelsea to reach FA Cup quarters
MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Manchester City powered forward with ease into the FA Cup quarterfinals on Saturday, overcoming Premier League title rival Chelsea 2-0 to maintain its quadruple chase.
Stevan Jovetic and Samir Nasri provided the goals to avenge a 1-0 league loss this month, with a formidable City in complete control and preventing Chelsea from hitting the target once.
“We can beat everyone,” Jovetic said. “We learnt something (from losing to Chelsea), you could see that on the pitch.”
Although Chelsea leads the league, City is only three points behind in third with a game in hand after its midweek game was postponed due to bad weather.
City also remains in Champions League contention, facing Barcelona at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday, and meets Sunderland in the League Cup final next month.
Sunderland also advanced in the FA Cup, with Craig Gardner clinching a 1-0 victory over Southampton.
Wigan maintained its cup defense by winning 2-1 at Cardiff, with Ben Watson, whose goal clinched the cup before the team was relegated from the topflight last May, netting the winner in south Wales.
In Sunday’s headline fixture in the fifth round, Arsenal hosts Liverpool in another meeting of Premier League title rivals.
With City hosting Barcelona in the Champions League on Tuesday, beating Chelsea showed the enviable depth of resources available at Manuel Pellegrini’s disposal.
Jovetic, who is only City’s fourth-choice striker despite being signed last year at a cost of 24 million pounds ($40 million), first came close when he struck the crossbar from the rebound after goalkeeper Petr Cech fumbled Yaya Toure’s strike.
Jovetic hit the woodwork again in the 16th minute but this time the ball went over the line as City ripped through a Chelsea defense missing captain John Terry.
David Silva played in Edin Dzeko, who sent the ball out for Jovetic to strike off the post into the bottom left. It was just Jovetic’s sixth goal of an injury-hit start to his City career.
City was far more assertive and cohesive than the side that was beaten here by Chelsea less than two weeks ago, with Dzeko also testing Cech with a curling shot.
“We wanted revenge today,” City captain Vincent Kompany said. “Twelve days ago we had a really bad game, we gave them a lot of chances.”
How different this game was. After failing to get a sight of goal in the first half, Chelsea striker Samuel Eto’o was replaced at halftime, with Mohamed Salah coming on.
The January signing didn’t help to transform Chelsea’s fortunes, and forward Fernando Torres was brought off the bench on the hour to replace Ramires, taking a central position as Salah shifted to the right.
But it was a City substitution that made a bigger impact as Nasri, in his first appearance in a month, completed an incisive move to score six minutes after coming on.
After receiving the ball from Nasri, Silva squared it back to the Frenchman, who continued his run to dart into space between defenders David Luiz and Gary Cahill, and slot the ball in from close range.
It was City’s 117th goal of a season that should end with a trophy unlike last year under Roberto Mancini.
“I had a lot of questions after Chelsea, if we’re going to change our way of playing,” Pellegrini said, referring to the 1-0 loss. “But I repeat: We will not change the way we play. Today was important to show why we continue to play in the same way.”
Chelsea can only win on two fronts — the Premier League and Champions League — and Jose Mourinho’s side has the edge over City domestically having won both league encounters.
“We were never close to scoring or being dominant, or bringing a scare to the game,” Mourinho said.
“Today there was a different freshness between the teams ... and one team had a week without professional football,” he added.