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Transfer Rater: Morata to Juventus

Football Whispers
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 By Mark Worrall

Bakayoko continues his struggles in return to Chelsea XI at Leicester

Alvaro Morata's first goal in 14 games and Pedro's header in extra time helped Chelsea overcome Leicester and book a spot in the FA Cup semifinals.
Shaka Hislop and Alexis Nunes assess the performances of Chelsea and Southampton, who'll square off in the FA Cup semifinals alongside Man United and Tottenham.

Chelsea deservedly beat Leicester City 2-1 in an enthralling FA Cup quarterfinal tie at the King Power Stadium. Alvaro Morata, restored to the side, scored his first goal since Boxing Day to give the Blues the lead just before half-time, however the Foxes wouldn't lie down and Jamie Vardy scrambled home an equaliser after the break.

The match went into extra time and during the first period substitute Pedro capitalised on a mistake by Leicester keeper Kasper Schmeichel to head home Chelsea's winner from man-of-the-match N'Golo Kante's lofted cross.

There was more good news for the London club after the final whistle when they avoided Manchester United and Tottenham in the semifinal draw, being paired with Southampton. Chelsea supporters chuckled at the fact the draw had been made by Blues legends Gianfranco Zola and Petr Cech. Wembley beckons!

Positives

After the disappointment of the humbling Champions League exit to Barcelona, Chelsea needed to bounce back and prove that they still have the stomach for a fight and the desire to go the distance. Antonio Conte's side did just that and never looked dispirited in what was a hard-fought contest against determined opponents.

Negatives

Once again, Tiemoue Bakayoko proved to be a liability in midfield. Equally worrying is Chelsea's over-reliance on Kante; without the France international on the pitch, the Blues would have been overrun and quite probably beaten.

Manager rating out of 10

8 -- Answered questions that had been asked about his motivation to get Chelsea back on track as the Blues put in a gutsy performance to beat Leicester. The decisions to start Morata and later replace Willian with Pedro looked inspired as both players obliged with goals.

Player ratings (1-10, 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Willy Caballero, 7 -- Proved himself to be more than a capable deputy for the apparently injured Thibaut Courtois. Competent stopping shots and clearing his lines, there were plenty of Chelsea supporters watching the game who commented that Caballero should be given a run in the first team by Conte.

DF Cesar Azpilicueta, 7 -- Put in a solid shift covering plenty of ground to help contain Riyad Mahrez, Marc Albrighton and Vardy. Made some important blocks and had sufficient energy reserves to keep going through extra time.

DF Andreas Christensen, 6 -- Had the measure of Vardy and Kelechi Iheanacho in the first half, but found substitute Shinji Okazaki more troublesome to contain after the break.

DF Antonio Rudiger, 7 -- Always involved in the cut-and-thrust defending that was required to contain Leicester. Used mobility and physicality to good effect throughout the game.

Timoue Bakayoko and Riyad Mahrez
Tiemoue Bakayoko, left, made his first start for Chelsea in more than six weeks, but only lasted 45 minutes before being substituted.

MF Victor Moses, 6 -- Struggled defensively to contain Albrighton and was eventually booked for elbowing the Leicester man. Made some enterprising forward runs, but was unable to deliver any quality balls into the box.

MF N'Golo Kante, 10 -- An effortless display of controlled midfield play against his former club made Kante Chelsea's standout player in the first half. It was more of the same after the break and in extra time. Picked out Pedro with a perfectly flighted cross for the Blues winner and might have scored but for a brilliant Albrighton block. Genuinely looked like he could have carried on playing with the same intensity until midnight.

MF Tiemoue Bakayoko, 3 -- Failed to take advantage of the opportunity of a start afforded him by Conte and looked the weak link in Chelsea's lineup during the first half when he was constantly caught in possession. Hooked at the break.

MF Marcos Alonso, 6 -- As Moses found Albrighton hard work on the right, so Alonso had problems containing Mahrez on the left and was beaten by the Leicester winger in the buildup to the Foxes' equaliser.

FW Willian, 8 -- Chelsea's form player of the moment didn't disappoint with another effervescent display against Leicester. Created the opening goal with a buccaneering run on the ball and a superb slide-rule pass to Morata, whose finish was the icing on the cake. Looked tired as the game progressed and was replaced by Pedro shortly after the start of extra time.

FW Eden Hazard, 6 -- Jaded perhaps from Chelsea's midweek game with Barcelona, Hazard looked off the pace for much of the game. But he lasted the distance including extra time, when he got involved in tracking back.

FW Alvaro Morata, 7 -- Trusted with a start by Conte, Morata's fresh legs were an asset to Chelsea, although the Spaniard still appeared to lack confidence on the ball pretty much right up to the 42nd minute when he put the Blues in front with a well-taken strike. Self-assurance returned, he posed a threat thereafter.

Substitutes:

MF Cesc Fabregas, 7 -- An improvement on Bakayoko, whom he replaced at halftime -- which wasn't hard. Added creativity to Chelsea's midfield play and was a stable foil for Kante.

FW Pedro, NR -- Replaced Willian in what turned out to be an inspired substitution by Conte. Full of running, was in the right place at the right time, rising highest to head home Chelsea's winner.

DF Gary Cahill, NR -- Replaced Christensen in the first period of extra time and looked solid enough as Leicester pressed for an equaliser.

FW Olivier Giroud, NR -- Replaced Morata in the first period of extra time and added fresh legs to help hold up play when Chelsea went in front.

Mark Worrall is one of ESPN FC's Chelsea bloggers. You can follow him on Twitter: @gate17marco

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