Oscar's 27th minute winner set Chelsea on their way.

Oscar cemented himself as Chelsea's heir-apparent to Juan Mata by scoring the only goal to defeat Stoke City and help his side reach the FA Cup fifth round.

The Brazilian netted a glorious first half free-kick in the only goal to separate the two sides despite the hosts passing up a host of opportunities to increase their advantage and emphasise the chasim of quality between the two sides.

Match-winner Oscar and Andre Schurrle both hit the post while Ramires and Samuel Eto'o were guilty of missing from close range as Stoke toiled at the back while offering scant little in the attacking third as their latest search for a first major trophy since 1972 ended with a whimper.

The home side began life after Mata, following the confirmation of his move to Manchester United, by giving January signing Nemanja Matic his debut while Eto'o began up front ahead of Demba Ba.

Mark Hughes, who won the FA Cup with Chelsea in 1997, welcomed back Asmir Begovic after six games out with a broken finger while Marco Arnautovic, Stephen Ireland and Wilson Palacios all started as Stoke looked to repeat their December league victory over Jose Mourinho's men.

The Potters were without a win at Chelsea since 1995 and Eto'o, who scored a hat-trick against United last week, went within a whisker of putting the hosts in charge to extend that run but the Cameroon international dragged just wide.

Peter Crouch twice went off target for the away side, missed opportunities that Stoke were made to pay for after 27 minutes when Oscar curled a brilliant free kick beyond Begovic to hand Chelsea the lead.

Steven Nzonzi tested Marc Schwarzer from range as Stoke looked to draw level before half-time but at the other end Frank Lampard should have put the tie to bed but couldn't connect properly from an Eden Hazard cross.

The chances continues to flow as the game entered the dying embers of the first half, first Stephen Ireland lashed against the side-netting after Branislav Ivanovic's error before Oscar rattled the post.

Chelsea were denied by the frame of the goal again after the break as Andre Schurrle struck Begovic's right-hand post as Stoke's hopes of returning to the final for a second time in four years hung by a thread.

Arnatovic curled wide from a free kick from a rare Stoke strike at goal while Chelsea continued to control and tie and push for a decisive second goal.

Stoke could have been forgiven for thinking fate was on their side when Chelsea conspired to miss two glorious openings to double their lead when substitute Ramires failed to convert from three yards after Hazard's centre before Eto'o subsequently stabbed wide with the goal at his mercy.

David Luiz's thumping free-kick produced the best out of Begovic and though Chelsea were unable to find a late second Stoke didn't threaten as their wait for a major trophy enters a 43<sup>rd year.