Batshuayi, Pedro lead rotated Chelsea past Peterborough in the FA Cup
Chelsea returned to winning ways with a 4-1 win over Peterborough United in the FA Cup third round.
After surviving an early scare when Lee Angol fired straight at Asmir Begovic from close range, the hosts took the lead after 18 minutes when Pedro Rodriguez coolly found the top corner. It was 2-0 just before half-time when an excellent counterattack and an unselfish layoff from Ruben Loftus-Cheek allowed Michy Batshuayi to double Chelsea's advantage.
A trademark cut inside and shot from Willian seemed to put the game out of the reach of the League One side but John Terry's straight red card for a professional foul on Angol threatened to shake things up. An unlikely comeback was given some credence when Tom Nichols turned in a cross with 20 minutes remaining only for Pedro to slam the door shut with his second five minutes later.
Despite an array of changes, the team knitted together well in the now familiar 3-4-3. The sending off and Peterborough goal within three minutes could have caused anxiety but the team kept its composure and killed the game off.
he back three started shakily and didn't improve all that much, with some positional errors occasionally creating undue pressure. Terry's red card on his return to the side was symptomatic of a difficult season for the club legend.
Manager rating out of 10
8 -- Having made nine changes, the team still functioned well, retaining similar qualities to the side which recently won 13 consecutive Premier League matches. Antonio Conte's inclusion of three academy graduates over the course of the game was encouraging.
Player ratings (1-10, 10=best; players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Asmir Begovic, 7 -- An ill-judged early pass to Gary Cahill put his teammate under pressure though he made up for it immediately afterwards with an excellent point blank save to keep the score at 0-0.
DF Kurt Zouma, 6 -- Making his first start since incurring a serious knee injury last February, the Frenchman was understandably rusty. Made a few neat interceptions, though it was his misjudgement that resulted in Terry being dismissed
DF John Terry, 5 -- A poor defensive header might have given Peterborough the chance to open the scoring but for Gary Cahill's timely intervention. Slipped while making the challenge that saw him sent off, a decision that was harsh but probably fair
DF Gary Cahill, 7 -- Bailed out his fellow centre-backs on a few occasions to ensure there was no embarrassment for Chelsea. Was withdrawn at 3-0 for some deserved rest.
MF Pedro, 8 -- Played largely at wing-back but was mainly found in and around the opposition box where he was menacing all afternoon. Scored two goals and somehow missed another by striking the bar with the goal gaping.
MF Branislav Ivanovic, 7 -- Was beaten too easily on the touchline in the opening minutes but recovered to have a fairly comfortable afternoon, even getting forward and playing a key role in Batshuayi's goal.
MF Nathaniel Chalobah, 7 -- Had a particularly impressive game on the ball with his distribution playing a pivotal role in each of the first two goals.
MF Cesc Fabregas, 7 -- Kept the game ticking over in his usual languid style. No assists or goals but conducted the orchestra well.
FW Willian, 7 -- Buzzed around effectively and kept the Peterborough defence guessing. Took his goal nicely, curling the ball low into the bottom corner.
FW Ruben Loftus-Cheek, 7 -- Showed some indecision in the early stages before gathering his sharpness to impose himself on the game with some powerful driving runs and some excellent link-up play. Deserved a goal but fired one good chance just wide of the post.
FW Michy Batshuayi, 7-- Was guilty of trying too hard in the opening half an hour, although he settled down after finding the back of the net. After that he played the target man role very effectively to suggest he could be a genuine stand-in for Diego Costa.
DF Ola Aina, 7 -- Played both wing-back and full-back in his 36 minutes on the pitch and was reasonably comfortable in both roles.
DF, Cesar Azpilicueta NR -- Peterborough scored almost as soon as he came on but was otherwise untroubled, even firing a shot wide late on.
MF, N'Golo Kante NR -- Introduced late to add some bite in midfield, which he did ably.
Phil is one of ESPN's Chelsea bloggers. You can follow him on Twitter @PhilLythell.