Defending Champions Chelsea kicked off their FA Cup campaign with a comfortable 2-0 home win against second-tier Nottingham Forest.
Manager Maurizio Sarri fielded his bench players and handed the captaincy to Cesc Fabregas, with the Spaniard likely playing his final game for the Blues ahead of his proposed move to Ligue 1 strugglers AS Monaco.
Fabregas had the ideal opportunity to sign off his Chelsea stint with a goal but was denied by Forest goalkeeper Luke Steele, as the Englishman saved his spot-kick in the first half. However, Sarri’s side broke the deadlock immediately after the halftime break as Alvaro Morata found the net in the 49th minute.
Morata inked his name on the scoresheet once again 10 minutes later as he leapt above Claudio Yacob and headed in a Callum Hudson-Odoi cross to wrap up the win. Similarly, Hudson-Odoi also maximized on his starting role and delivered with two assists.
21 – Chelsea have progressed from the FA Cup third round in each of the last 21 seasons since losing to Manchester United in 1997-98. Routine. pic.twitter.com/2VKITQ26Rk
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 5, 2019
Finally, Fabregas was substituted in the 85th minute on his 500th appearance in English football and exited to resounding applause from the Chelsea faithful. The midfielder represented the Blues 198 times during his four and a half year spell, racking up 22 goals and 57 assists along with two Premier League titles.
The focus now shifts towards another Cup tie for Chelsea, as they square off against London rivals Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley Stadium in the first leg of the semi-final in the Carabao Cup this Tuesday night on January 8.