Premier League leaders Chelsea traveled to an in-form Shrewsbury side after an intriguing 90 minutes at Old Trafford on Sunday, The Blues bidding to keep their dream of four trophies this season alive.
Jose Mourinho though bemoaned a lack of playing resources at his disposal against the League two side. Gary Cahill, Oscar, Filipe Luis and Didier Drogba were the four players starting in the Capital One Cup tie, just 48 hours after the one all draw against the Red Devils. Mourinho thus gave youngsters Andreas Christensen, Nathan Ake and Kurt Zouma a chance to showcase their talents.
It was an Electric atmosphere at the Greenhous Meadow with roars of encouragement and approval from the home supporters. Shrewsbury were up against a flawless Chelsea squad, but Micky Mellon’s side made most of the difficult wet conditions. The Blues seemed lethargic in their approach and Andre Schurrle’s efforts on goal was hardly worthy of any tag, Mohammad Salah started on the right and his shooting prowess but quite poor throughout the first half.
The home side though could not get through Chelsea’s old guard Petr Cech in goal while Drogba had an effort ruled out for offside towards the end. The first half was won by Shrewsbury, which gave the undefeated leaders plenty to think about. It was an engrossing, engaging and enthralling 45 minutes despite the lack of goals.
Mourinho clearly had words of encouragement at the break as The Blues shrugged of their first half lethargy. Drogba’s presence in the box kept troubling the League two side as the Ivorian gave Chelsea the lead. But the match looked to be heading for extra time when Shrewsbury’s Andy Mangan managed to fire past keeper Cech after coming on from the bench with just 13 minutes to play.
Mourinho though responded with a couple of substitutions – Willian and Nemanja Matic and that did the trick on 81 minutes. An Own Goal by Jermaine Grandison saw Chelsea breathe a huge sigh of relief. Shrewsbury offered little thereafter, and the Blues held on for a labored victory.
Drogba 48′: Salah’s first half was littered with wasted shots, but he turned provider for Drogba for the opener with a glorious cushioned pass. A left footed shot from the center of the box to the bottom left corner, Leutwiler had no chance to save the Ivorian’s third consecutive goal in three games.
Andy Mangan 77′: Set pieces always looked like being the home side’s best chance of a goal, and that proved their route back into the match the towering Grandison won a header from a Lawrence corner, which John Obi Mikel failed to deal with and as the ball bounced, the substitute was on hand to smash home from a matter of yards. A right footed shot from very close range to the top right corner.
Grandison 81′ (OG): Willian looked lively for Chelsea since coming on and his cross was delightful, with Drogba lurking behind, Grandison attempted to clear but contrived to turn the ball into his own net to send Chelsea through.
The Blues were happy to hear the final whistle; that’s how good Micky Mellon’s side performed. Shrewsbury, fourth in League Two, had earlier knocked out Blackpool, Leicester City and Norwich City to earn the fourth-round tie. Chelsea made it to the next round, but Shrewsbury will take the plaudits, a proud night, despite the loss for the home side. It was a great effort from hosts who are 72 league places below premier league leaders Chelsea.
Edited By: Tamojit Chakraborty