LONDON - Chelsea avoided becoming the latest victims of the FA Cup's spate of giant-killings as the holders eased into the fifth round with a 4-0 win over League One minnows Brentford yesteday.
Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool are among a host of Premier League clubs to have been embarrassed by lower league opposition this season, but Chelsea overcame a slow start to their fourth round replay to eventually cruise through thanks to second half goals from Juan Mata, Oscar, Frank Lampard and John Terry at Stamford Bridge.
It is still too soon to declare Rafael Benitez's team back on track after an inconsistent campaign, but at least there was no humiliation here. Chelsea, who have won the Cup four times in the last six seasons, will travel to Championship side Middlesbrough for their delayed fifth round tie on February 27.
Blues captain Terry, fit after a knee injury, was part of a strong Chelsea line-up that reflected Benitez's respect for Brentford after the underdogs came within seven minutes of a stunning victory over their west London neighbours in the first meeting last month.
Just as in the 2-2 draw at Griffin Park, Uwe Rosler's team showed no signs of being overawed by their more illustrious opponents and midfielder Adam Forshaw fizzed an early shot just wide of Petr Cech's far post.
The Blues were struggling to out of first gear and Branislav Ivanovic was off-target with a looping header from Mata's corner, then Lampard miscued a good opportunity and when the loose ball ran to Oscar, the Brazilian's close-range shot was well blocked by Bees defender Harlee Dean.
Oscar should have lifted the mood when Mata's pass left him one on one with Brentford goalkeeper Simon Moore, but the midfielder didn't make a clean connection and held his head in frustration as the shot cannoned away off a post.