Chelsea reached the FA Cup fifth round with a hard-fought 2-1 win at the KCOM stadium.
Frank Lampard’s side took the lead six minutes in thanks to Michy Batshuayi‘s deflected shot and should have added to their lead before half-time, only for wayward finishing to let them down.
The second goal finally came after 64 minutes, via Fikayo Tomori‘s header. Kamil Grosicki‘s deflected free kick almost inspired a Hull fight-back, but Chelsea stood firm in the closing minutes for a deserved win.
Chelsea appear to have a ready-made Jorginho understudy in the form of Mateo Kovacic. The 25-year-old was superb from a deep-lying midfield position, while the advancing Ross Barkley and Mason Mount also enjoyed themselves, operating centrally with a greater degree of attacking licence. A goal for Batshuayi — following a barren run of form — will also please Lampard.
The away side missed a number of gilt-edged chances that would have put the result beyond doubt in the first half. Against better opposition, they might have been more severely punished for their profligacy.
Manager rating out of 10
7 — Lampard got his selection and tactics spot-on, despite making wholesale changes. Kovacic played superbly in the holding role, while Pedro and Marcos Alonso performed well after long spells out of the lineup. Substitutions were also effective, with Willian especially vital on the counterattack.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Willy Caballero, 6 — A solid display in which he only had one save to make, with the only mark against being for his handling of crosses, where he looked panicked at times.
DF Cesar Azpilicueta, 7 — The veteran full-back was energetic, providing width when overlapping Callum Hudson-Odoi. It was Azpilicueta’s searching run forward that eventually led to Batshuayi’s opener.
DF Kurt Zouma, 7 — Looked shaky early when playing several wayward passes out of defence, but grew into the game and played a key role in suppressing the aerial threat of Hull striker Tom Eaves.
DF Fikayo Tomori, 8 — Looked assured, with smart positioning and accurate distribution. The 22-year-old capped a fine performance by netting a header for Chelsea’s winning goal.
DF Marcos Alonso, 6 — Posed an attacking threat down the left side, but defensive issues continue to harm his case to be first-choice left-back.
MF Ross Barkley, 8 — The creative midfielder had some fine passes and hopeful long-range shots and played the back-post free kick that picked out Tomori for the away side’s second goal.
MF Mateo Kovacic, 7 — Operating in Jorginho’s deep-lying playmaker position, Kovacic deputised with distinction, opening Hull up repeatedly. It was his deflection that sent Grosicki’s free kick into the Chelsea net.
MF Mason Mount, 7 — Drove forward well in transition and saw an early one-on-one effort saved by Hull City keeper George Long.
FW Pedro, 7 — In his first start since the third round, Pedro was effective from the left-wing position and could have had a goal of his own but for some wayward finishing.
FW Michy Batshuayi, 8 — Got on the score sheet early when his shot was redirected into the net after a sharp counter. In terms of link-up play, he was effective in linking with the advancing Mount.
FW Callum Hudson-Odoi, 7 — Was exciting down the right side, beating Hull left-back Eric Lichaj with ease on a number of occasions. The 19-year-old’s end product could have been more clinical.
MF Willian, 7 — Looked dangerous on the break after coming on for Mount with just over 20 minutes remaining.
MF Billy Gilmour, 6 — The youngster was positionally disciplined after being tasked with defensive duties.
DF Tariq Lamptey, NR — Replaced Pedro in stoppage time.