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Walsall vs. Chelsea: Score and Reaction from 2015 Capital One Cup

Published by Bleacher Report on Thu, 24 Sep 2015

Chelsea opened their Capital One Cup title defense with a 4-1 victory over League One side Walsall at Bescot Stadium on Wednesday.Ramires opened the scoring for the Blues in the 10th minute, and they never looked back. Although it was a mostly patchwork lineup for the Premier League club, they remained in control of the possession battle and played smart football in the second half to avoid a comeback bid.Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho talked ahead of the match about taking the tournament seriously, downplaying any discussion about not giving 100 percent with a busy campaign ahead. He stated it's important to respect opponents and chase the title, per Rupert Cane of the club's official site. "I don't see reasons to throw away any competition," Mourinho said. "A cup is a cup. A trophy is a trophy. If you lose, you lose but you don't need to throw it away."His players heeded those remarks in the early going as they came out with an aggressive attacking mindset. Just 10 minutes in they found the scoreboard.Kenedy ran onto a loose ball on the edge of the box and delivered a perfect floating cross into the area. Ramires timed his run well, easily heading it by Walsall goalkeeper Neil Etheridge for the goal.Squawka Football highlighted the accomplishment for the 19-year-old playmaker:Chelsea increased the lead to 2-0 in the 41st minute.Ramires served as the distributor this time around as he made a nice read to see Loic Remy making a run on the outside. The veteran striker picked up the through ball and slotted it calmly just under the crossbar as Etheridge went down to a knee, seemingly expecting a low drive.Nick Mashiter of the Press Association thought that could mark the end for the underdogs:Walsall wasn't prepared to go down without a fight, though. The Saddlers got a goal back shortly before the half-time whistle courtesy of James O'Connor.Milan Lalkovic unleashed a heavy, twisting free-kick that Asmir Begovic could only knock down. O'Connor raced to the rebound, and even though he didn't get much power on his effort, it managed to dribble across the line to cut the lead down to one.At that point, the drama returned just as it looked Chelsea were going to cruise to the final line, as Paul Walker of Football League Tonight noted:The Blues regained control less than 10 minutes after half-time.Kenedy continued to shine as he collected a terrific off-balance, one-touch pass from Ruben Loftus-Cheek, took a quick touch and then slotted it past Etheridge.It's too soon to make any final assessments, but the early returns on the Brazilian youth international are highly encouraging, as explained by Chelsea HQ:The Blues took their foot off the gas a bit after that goal. The last thing they wanted to see was another Walsall goal to make it a competitive match again. So they slowed the pace and made sure to keep the Saddlers from generating any consistent attacking pressure.Pedro, a second-half substitute, put a cap on the performance with a goal in stoppage time. The Spanish forward weaved through multiple members of the Saddlers defense before ripping a shot by Etheridge, who could only get a slight touch.SuperSport Blitz confirmed the result:Walsall deserve credit for putting up a fight. They could have given up after the Blues made it 2-0 but battled back and forced the top-flight club to work for the win. The talent differential was too much in the end, but they can take some confidence away from the fixture despite the loss.Chelsea can only take so much from a win over a League One side. It's not something that Mourinho will point back to as a turning point in the season. But it does mark their third straight victory across all competitions, which is a sign things are turning around after a sluggish start.Now they have to start the process of climbing up the Premier League table from 15th place.Post-Match ReactionTo follow.Read more World Football news on BleacherReport.com
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