Match report as Tammy Abraham’s hat-trick sees Chelsea ease past Luton Town 3-1 to progress to the FA Cup fifth round; misfiring Chelsea striker Timo Werner misses a late penalty for the home side
By Richard Morgan
Tammy Abraham’s hat-trick helped Chelsea beat Luton Town 3-1 in the FA Cup fourth round to help ease the pressure on under-fire manager Frank Lampard.
Abraham had appeared to put the hosts in total control of the tie with two early goals, only for Jordan Clark’s strike on the half-hour mark, with the aid of another Kepa Arrizabalaga error, to give Luton hope of a shock at Stamford Bridge.
However, Abraham was on hand to ease any home nerves with a close-range finish 16 minutes from time and despite Timo Werner missing a late penalty, Chelsea still set up a fifth-round clash at Barnsley.
Chelsea: Arrizabalaga (5), James (6), Christensen (6), Zouma (6), Emerson (6), Mount (7), Gilmour (6), Ziyech (8), Pulisic (7), Abrahamm (9), Werner (6)
Subs: Kovacic (7), Giroud (6), Hudson-Odoi (8), Havertz (6)
Luton: Sluga (7), Bree (8), Lockyer (7), Rea (7), Bradley (7), Mpanzu (6), Clark (7), Tunnicliffe (6), Dewsbury-Hall (6), Naismith (7), Cornick (6)
Subs: Potts (7), Berry (6), Moncur (6), Collins (6), LuaLua (6)
Man of the match: Tammy Abraham
How Abraham eased the pressure on Lampard
The home team headed into the tie in need of a morale-boosting display after losing 2-0 at Leicester in midweek, with Lampard fielding a strong-looking line-up against opponents from League Two.
And in snowy conditions in west London, Chelsea soon raced into a two-goal lead thanks to some opportunism from Abraham, albeit with controversy surrounding their 11th-minute opener as there were two balls on the pitch in the lead-up to the goal.
However, referee David Coote decided that had not affected Luton’s players as Hakim Ziyech’s quick throw appeared to catch the visitors napping, before Werner’s pull back from the right-hand byline was guided into the bottom corner of the net by Abraham.
The forward doubled his team’s lead six minutes later after some build-up play down the right involving the impressive Ziyech again and Reece James, whose cross caught Luton ‘keeper Simon Sluga hesitating, allowing Abraham to loop a header into the unguarded net.
Mason Mount captained Chelsea for the first time as Frank Lampard made seven changes. Billy Gilmour started in midfield as the Blues boss fielded a strong side as expected. Kepa Arrizabalaga was handed a rare start in goal, while Timo Werner partnered Christian Pulisic and Tammy Abraham in a front three.
Full-back Kal Naismith made his first start for Luton.
But if Chelsea thought the job was done, they were mistaken as Luton hit back after their own eye-catching move as James Bree got free to the right-hand byline, before finding Clark in the box and his half-volley – their first shot on target in the game – somehow found its way past a fumbling Kepa at his near post.
After a lengthy half-time delay reportedly caused by a faulty bell in the visitors’ makeshift changing room located outside the stadium, the Premier League side stepped it up in the second half in search of the third goal to kill off the tie.
However, it was Luton who came closest to grabbing the next goal, only for Kepa to come to his team’s rescue this time with a vital block to keep out Chelsea fan Harry Cornick on the hour-mark.
And that was that as far as Luton were concerned, with Chelsea moving up a gear again after Callum Hudson-Odoi’s introduction, with the sub playing a key role in Abraham’s third, capping off a wonderful team move with his and his side’s decisive third goal.
It could have been even better for Lampard had his misfiring frontman Werner converted a penalty four minutes from the end, given after Clark had hauled down the German when through on goal, only for Sluga to guess right as Chelsea made it into round five for the 23rd time in the last 26 attempts.
No place like home for the Blues – Opta stats
- Chelsea have won 18 of their last 21 FA Cup games at Stamford Bridge (D1 L2), including all four home matches in the competition since the start of last season.
- Luton have been eliminated from each of their last six domestic cup ties against Premier League opposition (League Cup and FA Cup).
- Since Roman Abramovich took over the club in 2003, Chelsea have won more FA Cup games than any other club (65).
- Tammy Abraham was the first player to score an FA Cup hat-trick for Chelsea since Oscar v MK Dons in January 2016, and first Englishman to do so since now-manager Frank Lampard v Macclesfield in January 2007.
- Abraham scored the third hat-trick of his professional career in all competitions, with each coming in a different competition (Championship v Nottingham Forest in 2018, Premier League v Wolves in 2019, FA Cup v Luton today).
Man of the Match – Tammy Abraham
The England international once again reminded Lampard of his fox-in-the-box qualities with some real poacher’s strikes on Sunday lunchtime.
All three finishes may have appeared routine to the eye, but they still required the frontman to be in the right place, at the right time to take advantage of good approach play from his team-mates.
And that means the 23-year-old has scored six goals in 13 appearances at Stamford Bridge this season, as many as he had in 21 home games across all competitions last season.
Chelsea take on Wolves at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League on Wednesday at 6pm, while Luton travel to Blackburn Rovers on Saturday, with the Championship clash getting underway at 3pm.
FA Cup 2020/21 – key dates and draw
The FA Cup schedule has been confirmed, with the final set to take place at Wembley on Saturday May 15.
There will be no replays this season to help ease fixture congestion.
- Fourth round: January 22-25
- Fifth round: Wednesday February 10
- Quarter-finals: Saturday March 20
- Semi-finals: Saturday April 17
- Final: Saturday May 15