Ray Wilkins takes temporary charge for this FA Cup clash and its a pretty strange line up, even for a game against Watford. Not so much he choice of Drogba and Anelka up front (with Kalou) but its a back 4 that introduces Mancienne at left back (the boy's a centre half) with Alex and Ivanovich as the central two. At least Cech is back between the sticks and there's Quersma is on the bench.
Inside 20secs Mancienne breaks forward and releases the Drog and his cross is just ahead of the on rushing Kalou. On 7mins, Lamps feeds the Drog this time and he rifles a shot that is palmed away for a corner. Its a bight start with lots of neat possession anmd 5mins later another free kick this time reaches Kalou completely unmarked as the Watford defence fail to get out as a unit but he heads behind both Ballack and the Drog. Half way through the half another Lamps free kick is palmed away by Loach in the Watford goal but thus far its all been set pieces or long range shots - there's no real penetration or anyone capable of getting round the back. As the half progresses Watford continue to grow in confidence and threaten a few times but it ends 0-0. Over to Ray to make some changes ? Doubt it
So no changes (and probably no plan B) as we start the second half. A superb long ball from Ivanovich finds the Drog on 48mins but his shot is well saved by Loach and 2mins later Lamps hits a swerving 25yrd shot just wide. An hour gone and a skewed cross from Kalou is headed back across the goal by Anelka only for Ballack to miss from 3 yrds out in even worse fashion that JT last week - pathetic. On 68mins the inevitable happens, everyone's up for our 13th corner and with people only trotting back, a lofted ball reaches Thomas Priskin who looks well offside but he runs on to chip over the advancing Cech. Wilkins' response is to take off Mikel and introduce Stoch - looks like its 4-4-2 but is it too little too late. Fortunately not, because its two Anelka goals in 80seconds; the first from from our 15th corner with and overhead kick from 5yrds out and the second being a nudged header from am Ashley Cole cross. With 8mins to go Belletti comes on to replace the hapless Ballack. On 90mins its almost all undone as Jobi McAnuff almost steers on past Cech but the Blues got straight up the other end for Anleka to squeeze home his hatrick.
Trailing with 15mins to go, it was quite an effort to turn this one around. Its Villa next week so come on U Blues !!