AVB under fire as Chelsea stumble again

Chelsea 1 Birmingham 1

Frustrated Chelsea fans chanted Jose Mourinho’s name during yet another dismal display by their team.

Championship side Birmingham went ahead in this FA Cup fifth-round tie through David Murphy’s 20th-minute opener and Juan Mata had a penalty saved before Daniel Sturridge equalised.

The result will do nothing to ease the pressure on Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas, whose players were booed off by some of the Stamford Bridge crowd after the final whistle.

And many of those supporters made their feelings clear amid reports that former boss Mourinho may be interested in a return to the club were owner Roman Abramovich to wield the axe.

Birmingham’s goal highlighted the defensive shortcomings that have plagued Chelsea under Villas-Boas.

Nathan Redmond’s corner was not particularly well struck and should have been cleared, but it wasn’t and after City defender Curtis Davies swung his boot at the ball and missed, Murphy netted at the far post.

Chelsea were given a chance to equalise when Ramires, back after injury, was needlessly fouled in the area by Wade Elliott.

But the resulting spot-kick by Mata was superbly kept out by keeper Colin Doyle, who dived to push the ball onto the post.

Chelsea eventually levelled shortly after the hour mark courtesy of Sturridge’s powerful header from Branislav Ivanovic’s right-wing cross.

But they were unable to find a second goal and face a tricky replay at St Andrews.

They at least showed a marked improvement in the second-half – after the hapless Fernando Torres was taken off at the interval.

It was another miserable afternoon for the Spanish striker in what was billed as a major chance for him to finally find the net.

Time could be running out for Torres, but it is Villas-Boas’ future that will be under most scrutiny following another poor result.

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