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Chelsea see off Sheffield Wednesday on Gonzalo Higuain debut

Premier League transfer round-up: Higuain signs for Chelsea

Callum Hudson-Odoi scored on what could be his final Chelsea appearance and Willian netted twice as the holders advanced with a 3-0 FA Cup fourth-round win over Sheffield Wednesday at Stamford Bridge.

Hudson-Odoi started despite reportedly submitting a transfer request in an effort to force through a move to Bayern Munich ahead of Thursday's transfer deadline and the 18-year-old winger netted Chelsea's second after 64 minutes.

Until that moment, an official sitting 14 miles away in Stockley Park had been the most influential person on the contest, despite the fact Gonzalo Higuain was making his Chelsea debut.

Wednesday had a penalty overturned by Video Assistant Referee Graham Scott after 22 minutes and Chelsea had a spot-kick awarded four minutes later, Willian converting from the spot, after referee Andre Marriner's decision had been confirmed by VAR.

Willian added a late third as the Blues advanced to the fifth round.

Higuain made his first appearance and Hudson-Odoi potentially his last as Chelsea made eight changes following last Thursday's win over Tottenham which saw them advance to the Carabao Cup final.

Wednesday's defence offered up a greater resistance than the England batting line-up their incoming boss Steve Bruce has witnessed in the Caribbean.

Bruce insisted on fulfilling his promise to go on a family holiday following the death of both his parents last year and watched England's 381-run first Test loss in Barbados ahead of taking up his role at Hillsborough from Friday.

Cricket's Decision Review System has largely been a success, but VAR has had its moments. On this occasion it was right, frustrating nearly 6,000 visiting fans.

When Joey Pelupessy surged through to try to meet Steven Fletcher's pass, Ethan Ampadu slid in and won the ball before being kicked by the Wednesday midfielder. Marriner's award of a penalty was swiftly overturned by VAR.

Play restarted with a dropped ball, as per the rules, which Wednesday did not contest. Soon they had conceded a spot-kick.

Blues academy graduate Sam Hutchinson trod on Cesar Azpilicueta. Marriner's decision was reviewed, but there was no doubt.

Willian appeared to offer the spot-kick to Higuain, who declined, before the Brazilian sent goalkeeper Keiren Westwood the wrong way for his 50th Chelsea goal.

The hosts celebrated in front of the Shed End, packed with visiting fans, some of whom took exception, with missiles thrown.

Higuain until that pointed had lurked menacingly. He had one half-chance after a pass from Mateo Kovacic. He turned and shot, but the ball deflected wide.

The 31-year-old striker, who had the best goalscoring season of his career under Sarri at Napoli, netting 36 times in 35 Serie A games, dropped deeper and deeper as the first half progressed in search of the ball, while Hudson-Odoi was a peripheral figure.

Chelsea, as usual under Sarri, dominated possession, but little was created with the ball in the final third, while Wednesday's best chance was a mishit cross by Adam Reach which hit the outside of a post.

The Blues' lack of killer instinct has become a familiar frustration for the Italian, one he believes Higuain can solve. He had half chances when a Willian cross was deflected away from him and heading an Ampadu cross just wide.

Chelsea scored their second when Andreas Christensen's long pass found Hudson-Odoi on the right. He checked inside, wrong-footing Morgan Fox, and struck a shot which deceived Westwood. His second Chelsea goal could be his last.

Chelsea had a third when Willian played a one-two with Olivier Giroud, on for Higuain, and passed the ball in.

A Giroud overhead kick went wide and Willian shot off target late on, missing out on a hat-trick.

PA

What time does it start?

Chelsea vs Sheffield Wednesday kicks off at 6:00pm (GMT) on Sunday 27th January.

Where can I watch it?

Chelsea vs Sheffield Wednesday will be shown live on BBC One from 5:45pm (GMT).

Highlights will be shown at 10:30pm on BBC One.

Player to watch…

Gonzalo Higuain: The former Real Madrid striker signed on-loan from Juventus until the end of the season, with an option to extend the loan for another season for £15.6 million, or buy him permanently for £31.3 million.

The 31-year-old played under Sarri at Napoli, and the Italian manager will be hoping the Argentinian hits the ground running, with Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud both struggling for form.

Gonzalo Higuain acknowledges the Chelsea fans after being unveiled

Form guide…

Chelsea: DWLWLW

Sheffield Wednesday: DDDLWW

Odds…

Chelsea to win: 2/9

Sheffield Wednesday to win: 21/2

Draw: 27/5

(Odds provided by 888 Sport)

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All the action coming right up...

Lawrence Ostlere27 January 2019 14:45
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London Calling

The fourth round of the FA Cup continues in the nation's capital for two Sunday evening contests packed with intrigue both on and off the pitch.

The Thursday night Carabao Cup combatants continue their campaigns, with Chelsea preparing to host Sheffield Wednesday later, but first it is to Selhurst Park, where Crystal Palace and Tottenham Hotspur are ready for an all-Premier League encounter.

Team news is about five minutes away...

Harry Latham-Coyle27 January 2019 14:54
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Team News

Crystal Palace pushed Liverpool all the way in a topsy-turvy 4-3 defeat last weekend. Roy Hodgson rings the changes defensively from that result, with solely Patrick Van Aanholt retaining his place in the back four. Max Meyer, Jeffrey Schlupp and Connor Wickham all came off the bench against Liverpool, and earn opportunities from the start in the cup.

Harry Latham-Coyle27 January 2019 15:01
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Team News

It is presumably a back-three for Mauricio Pochettino and Spurs. Juan Foyth and Davinson Sanchez are brought in and should form two of the defensive trio, while Kieran Trippier and Kyle Walker-Peters will provide width. Georges-Kevin Nkoudou provided a telling contribution with a magnificent cross for Harry Winks' late winner against Fulham last weekend and starts, along with another academy product in emerging midfielder Oliver Skipp.

Harry Latham-Coyle27 January 2019 15:04
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He's Bak...

Transfer news from Selhurst Park today, with the club confirming the re-signing of Bakary Sako after a disappointing spell at West Brom. 

He doesn't figure in the squad today, of course, but he should be in Roy Hodgson's thoughts for the midweek meeting with Southampton.

Harry Latham-Coyle27 January 2019 15:09
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It was a disappointing week for Spurs fans, exiting the Carabao Cup on penalties as Mauricio Pochettino's trophy drought continues.

The FA Cup could be important as Mauricio Pochettino's legacy continues to be defined, and after the Chelsea defeat, Miguel Delaney explored the nature of a club promising so much, but ultimately delivering so little.

Harry Latham-Coyle27 January 2019 15:14
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Tottenham's is a squad stretched thin, with Harry Kane's absence particularly notable. The earlier-than-expected return of Heung-Min Son from international duties will provide a boost, but could Daniel Levy and Mauricio Pochettino yet explore the transfer market ahead of Thursday's deadline?

With all the latest ins and outs, rumours and more from the Premier League and right around Europe, The Independent's transfer live blog is your one-stop shop between now and Deadline Day:

Harry Latham-Coyle27 January 2019 15:19
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The FA Cup has opened somewhat with a number of Premier League clubs falling over the first two days of fourth round action.

At least nine of the sides in the fifth round draw will be from outside of the top division, and there is scope for that number to rise to 12 with Shrewsbury and West Brom taking Wolves and Brighton to replays respectively. Sheffield Wednesday will get their chance at a cup shock under interim manager Steve Agnew at Stamford Bridge later.

That fifth round draw comes tomorrow night at around 7.20pm. 

Harry Latham-Coyle27 January 2019 15:30
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Eye on the ball...

VAR is in operation at Selhurst Park this afternoon, much to the chagrin of those who have been cost in unsupported games this weekend (Everton fans, I'm talking to you...)

It appears the FA may have brought in a specialist to oversee things, too...

Harry Latham-Coyle27 January 2019 15:38
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15 minutes until kick-off at Selhurst Park.

One of the more venerable figures in the Premier League, Roy Hodgson knows a thing or two about management. 

He doesn't understand why Mauricio Pochettino is so heavily criticised for his lack of trophies:

Harry Latham-Coyle27 January 2019 15:45

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