Netting a goal and assist apiece, Brazilian midfielders Ramires and Kenedy served as Chelsea’s attacking orchestrators during their 4-1 victory over Walsall in Capital One Cup action Wednesday at Bescot Stadium.
Powering a breathtaking header into the back of the Walsall net, Ramires put Chelsea on top 1-0 within the first 10 minutes of the third-round match, and slipped a well-timed through ball to Loic Remy on the wing a half hour later to sew up the Blues third consecutive win across all competitions.
Ramires’ goal started with excellent defense, something that’s sorely been lacking during the early stages of Chelsea’s new campaign. Kenedy swiped the ball cleanly away from Saddlers defender Paul Downing just outside the penalty area then swooped to the goal line for a chip cross to the right side of the net.
Ramires did the rest, climbing above Walsall’s backline for the simple header and lead. It also marked the first goal for Ramires, and Kenedy’s first assist in any match this season.
In the 41st minute, Ramires flashed his considerable control and form by dancing into Walsall’s area and flicking a simple ball to a charging Remy, who one-timed his right foot strike into the top right corner of the net.
Kenedy, who made his fourth appearance since arriving from Fluminense this summer, got on the board seven minutes into the second half. Midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek found Kenedy wide open on the right side of Walsall’s penalty area. He converted the assist into a right-footed strike and a 3-1 advantage to squash any talk of a comeback.
Former Barcelona star Pedro would continue the onslaught two minutes into added time, slinking past three defenders to squeeze off a right-footed shot from outside the box to bottom left corner of the net to make it 4-1.
League One’s second-place table-holder Walsall though did not go down quietly to the defending Premier League champions.
One minute into added time before the close of the first half, defender James O’Connor earned his first goal of the season by rebounding and parrying keeper Asmir Begovic’s save of Milan Lalkovic’s free attempt into the bottom right corner.