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Come on, you didn’t expect to find an upset here did you?
This was always going to be a question of how many?
Had Frank Lampard not been able to ease into the fourth round, against the side sitting seventh in League Two, then he really would have found himself deserving of the scrutiny he is under.
As it is, Chelsea ’s win could well be the confidence boost he and his players need – with the club ninth in the Premier League – going into the second half of the season.
For much of the first half it wasn’t pretty. Morecambe would actually have gone ahead had calamity keeper Kepa not scrambled to prevent a cross-shot from Adam Phillips from humiliating him.
In fact, a Chelsea side pushing half a billion pounds struggled at times to break down a Morecambe team full of heart after four wins in a row.
Timo Werner rediscovered his goalscoring touch
(Image: Chelsea FC via Getty Images)
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It took an 18th-minute, right-footed sizzler from Mason Mount, from outside the box, to put them in front.
Even then, Morecambe didn’t fold. It was not until a minute before the break that Timo Werner grabbed a first goal in 12 games to earn his side some breathing space.
Hakim Ziyech, the Blues’ £33million winger, crossed from deep, Kai Havertz, their £71million midfielder, headed down and £45million forward Werner tapped the ball home.
Chelsea fans will have been reassured by the strike but the overall performance at this stage really was nothing to write home about.
It improved four minutes into the second half. Ziyech floated a pass over the top for Callum Hudson-Odoi to beat the offside trap and get the nation watching on the BBC player looking elsewhere in terms of competitive games.
Mason Mount opened the scoring
(Image: Action Images via Reuters)
By the time Cesar Azpilicueta crossed for Havertz to end his 15-game goal drought, with five minutes left, Morecambe were already thinking about Leyton Orient away next Saturday.
Chelsea have progressed from this stage each season since the 1997-98 campaign when they were put out by Manchester United.
Morecambe were in only their second FA Cup tie against top-flight opposition in 20 years.
Derek Adams’ men had done well to reach the third round for a fourth time but, let’s face it, from the moment their names came out of the hat, this was always going to be a bridge too far.
They were only back in training last week after a Covid-19 shutdown, with their players self-isolating for 10 days.
Last year should have seen their 100th birthday celebrations. Instead they saw Covid wipe out their revenue streams and, even more grimly, they mourned the sudden death of 23-year-old defender Christian Mbulu.
It puts their exit here into stark perspective. Morecambe have come together as a club during their troubled period. Their home ground is being used as a vaccination centre.
Fans have decided against demanding refunds for the 2020-21 season tickets they’ve bought, even though the club’s first ten home league games have been behind closed doors.
Players, led by captain Sam Lavelle, agreed to top up the wages of some club staff who were furloughed.
On the pitch it was always going to be mission impossible. Success for Morecambe, however, was bringing their strength in adversity to a wider audience.