Chelsea will play either Leicester City or Southampton in the FA Cup Final in May after squeezing past Manchester City in the 1st semi-final. In a tight and tense affair, it ended Chelsea 1-0 Manchester City.
Hakim Ziyech scored the only goal of a quiet game ten minutes after half time, converting into an empty net after a brilliant run and lay off by Timo Werner.
The underdogs in the tie, Chelsea only came under real pressure from City late on as Guardiola’s side threw everything at them in desperate hope of keeping their quadruple dreams alive.
The remaining Chelsea changes were in attack as Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner replaced Kai Havertz and Christian Pulisic.
On the other hand, Manchester City and Pep Guardiola demonstrated their strength in depth by making eight changes to the team that knocked Borussia Dortmund out of the Champions League in midweek.
FA Cup goalkeeper Zack Steffen, as well as Fernandinho, Joao Cancelo, Gabriel Jesus, Aymeric Laporte, Benjamin Mendy, Raheem Sterling and Ferran Torres all came into the team; with the likes of Phil Foden, Riyad Mahrez, Ilkay Gundogan, John Stones and Ederson are among those replaced.
Chelsea started well and after just six minutes they had the ball in the back of the net. Chelsea 1-0 Manchester City?
It was a goal that had a striking resemblance to Ziyech’s opener in the second leg against Atletíco Madrid, as the Moroccan found himself in space at the back post to tuck home Werner’s ball in. Unfortunately for Chelsea fans, a short VAR review revealed that Werner had strayed just offside before receiving the ball and the goal was ruled out.
Tuchel’s side had been sharp from the outset and were passing with intent, keeping the ball well and having over 65% possession in the first 15 minutes.
Coming up against a rotated City XI, it was important for Chelsea to make the most of the early pressure before Guardiola called on reinforcements, and they did manage to convert the pressure into a massive chance after 20 minutes.
Perhaps it was a case of it falling to the wrong player though, as full back Chilwell fluffed his lines by snatching at the chance when he had much more time. Ziyech’s ball out to the right found James in space, before the right back demonstrated his excellent crossing ability as he whipped one into Chilwell at the back post. Chilwell tried the first time volley, unaware of how much time he had to bring it down and set himself before firing towards goal.
After so much anticipation in the build up, the first half had been a quiet affair, with Chelsea on top overall but struggling to find that cutting edge to take the lead.
HT: Chelsea 0-0 Manchester City
Ten minutes into the second half, the spark that the game had been waiting for finally arrived.
It was a moment of deja vu for Chelsea fans, as Werner found himself charging down the left flank and in behind the City defence, into space. Bursting into the middle in support was that man Ziyech again, who was found perfectly by Werner before touching it home past Steffen to make it Chelsea 1-0 Manchester City. This time, no flag would halt celebrations.
City would now have to come out and play, as they suddenly found themselves half an hour away from going out of the FA Cup at the semi-final stage – and any hopes of a famous quadruple were fading fast.
Ziyech had been the biggest threat going forward and had a huge chance to all but secure Chelsea’s place in the final, just minutes after giving his side the lead.
A poor clearance from Ruben Días fell kindly for Chelsea and all of a sudden Ziyech was through on goal again. This time round he couldn’t beat Steffen in the City goal though as the American keeper beat away the effort. It was the sort of chance that would be a massive regret for Chelsea if they didn’t secure the victory.
Manchester City’s best chance of the game so far came after 70 minutes. They needed a set piece to create it, with a corner from the right delivered in deep before being headed back across goal towards Días, who managed to head over from about six yards out – let off.
Tuchel made a total change to his front line before the 80th minute, bringing on Pulisic, Havertz and Emerson in place of Mount, Werner and Ziyech.
As the game approached the final few minutes, City finally started to throw everything at the tie as Chelsea’s defence started to come under real pressure.
Kurt Zouma came on with less than five minutes remaining, in place of Thiago Silva who had spent the last ten minutes or so struggling with a back injury.
Chelsea had the ball in the net again in extra time, as Pulisic thought he had grabbed his second Wembley goal in style. The American attacker collected a flick on from Havertz before running round two City defenders and beating the keeper convincingly, however the flag went up for offside again. It remained Chelsea 1-0 Manchester City with minutes to go.
However, City failed to really test Kepa in the Chelsea goal in the final moments, as Chelsea reached the FA Cup Final for the second time in a row.
Full Time: Chelsea 1-0 Manchester City
Final Thoughts: Chelsea 1-0 Manchester City
We’re in the FA Cup Final!
A massive win, with everyone playing their part. Chilwell, Rudiger, James, Azpilicueta and Silva were all magnificent. Kepa controlled his box well and we looked sharp and controlled on the break.
Tuchel deserves huge credit for his selection choices as they paid off completely today and we’re going back to Wembley again next month for another huge match.
Altogether now: Que Sera Sera…
Written by Dom Domaingue (@dmdsport)
Edited by Rob Pratley
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