Birmingham City 0-2 Chelsea: Player ratings
Birmingham City 0-2 Chelsea: Player ratings
Life after Andre Villas-Boas got off to a steady start as Chelsea made their Premier League experience count against Championship counterparts Birmingham City in the FA Cup.
Roberto Di Matteo opted to make a few changes to the Blues' starting line-up, with Fernando Torres restored to the attack. However, the Spanish striker had another frustrating evening at St Andrews, as the visitors ran out 2-0 winners.
Juan Mata and Raul Meireles scored the goals to book Chelsea's place in the sixth round, with a home clash against Leicester City to look forward to before the end of the month.
GK: Colin Doyle - 6/10
A solid first-half performance, but Doyle should have done better to prevent Mata's opener. The Birmingham stopper redeemed himself with a penalty save, and was powerless to stop Meireles' strike.
RB: Jonathan Spector - 7/10
The full-back provided a strong attacking threat down the right-flank, without ignoring his defensive responsibility. A solid performance from the American.
CB: Curtis Davies - 4/10
Responsibility must fall on Davies' shoulders for Mata's opening goal, leaving the Spaniard too much space to break the deadlock.
CB: Guirane N'Daw - 5/10
An assured performance, but N'Daw was guilty of conceding the penalty (missed by Mata) after a clumsy foul on Torres in the box.
LB: Pablo Ibanez - 6/10
Defensively sound for the majority of the game, making one vital block to stop Mata early in the second-half.
RM: Adam Rooney - 6/10
Worked well down the right with Spector and provided plenty of service to Nikola Zigic, before being subbed in the second half.
CM: Jordan Mutch - 6/10
A solid game in the middle of the park - his only real blemish was a missed opportunity in the closing stages after breaking through one-on-one.
CM: Morgaro Gomis - 6/10
Successfully broke up play in midfield, passing the ball well with a consistent supply line to Birmingham's forwards.
CM: Wade Elliott - 6/10
Lively in the middle of the park, providing plenty of support for Zigic up front. Kept the ball moving forward, dragging defenders out and creating space for his teammates.
LM: Nathan Redmond - 5/10
A quiet game for the promising teenager, who struggled to make an impact on the game. Gave Chelsea right-back Branislav Ivanovic little to worry about.
ST: Nikola Zigic - 6/10
Caused plenty of problems for David Luiz and Gary Cahill, providing a constant aerial threat in attack. Faded in the second-half.
Chris Burke - n/a
Marlon King - 5/10
GK: Petr Cech - 7/10
Kept the hosts at bay on numerous occasions with vital saves, including one particularly acrobatic effort to deny Zigic. Commanded his area well, and deserved his clean sheet.
RB: Branislav Ivanovic - 6/10
Little was asked of Ivanovic defensively, but he did provide some service when attacking down the right.
CB: David Luiz - 6/10
Struggled to cope with the aerial presence of Zigic, but improved after the break with better communication with central defensive partner Cahill.
CB: Gary Cahill - 6/10
Like Luiz, struggled in the air, but was more assured on the ground and successfully marshalled the rest of the defence.
LB: Ryan Bertrand - 5/10
The 22-year-old was exposed down the left flank, and struggled to cope with the combined threat of Spector and Rooney.
CM: Ramires - 7/10
Provided an assist for Mata's opener, and buzzed around midfield all evening. An impressive all-round display.
CM: John Obi Mikel - 7/10
Solid in the holding midfield role, breaking up play well and providing a number of key passes to start Chelsea's attacks.
CM: Raul Meireles - 6/10
Had a quiet evening until Chelsea gained the lead, and after that came into the game, finishing strongly with an impressive strike from outside the box.
RW: Salomon Kalou - 5/10
Quiet game for the Ivorian who was perhaps seen as the surprise inclusion in Di Matteo's starting XI - picked ahead of the in-form Daniel Sturridge.
LW: Juan Mata - 8/10
Creative influence involved in almost every Chelsea attack. Mata opened the scoring, and despite later missing a penalty he remained bright throughout. His energy and determination inspiring his teammates to victory.
ST: Fernando Torres - 5/10
Several more missed chances to add to the out-of-sorts striker's collection. Won the penalty but turned down the opportunity to take it, after missing one guilt-edged chance from close-range.
Frank Lampard - n/a
Came on to shore up the midfield and see the game out.
Michael Essien - n/a
Arrived late in the game, with little time to really make an impact.
Daniel Sturridge - 5/10
Missed a good opportunity to add to Chelsea's lead, after stumbling over Torres back-post cross.