A huge game lies ahead for Chelsea as Thomas Tuchel’s side head to Wembley to take on Pep Guardiola and Manchester City in the semi-finals of the FA Cup. Having already progressed through to the Champions League last four in midweek by seeing off Porto, attention turns to the world’s oldest cup competition as the Blues aim for a ninth FA Cup.
Chelsea are now just one win away from reaching the final, where they will be looking to go one better in this competition having lost out to Arsenal 2-1 in last year’s final. However, a tough test beckons against a Manchester City side hunting down a potential quadruple but nonetheless, the Blues will up for the challenge. It’s Chelsea vs Manchester City on Saturday night for a chance to reach the FA Cup Final.
Chelsea vs Manchester City: Recent Form
The Blues head into this game off the back of a 1-0 defeat to Porto in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final which was in truth a poor match. Having won the first leg 2-0, seeing out the job was the main objective for Thomas Tuchel, which was achieved. Chelsea did return to winning ways in the Premier League last Saturday with an excellent 4-1 victory over Crystal Palace that would have certainly boost some of the attacking players’ confidence such as Kai Havertz and Christian Pulisic. The surprise lost to West Brom put a slight dent in the Blues’ top four chase but that win over the Eagles will surely make a big difference heading into a crucial part of the campaign.
As for Manchester City, they too were in European action in midweek but played a day later than Chelsea. Nonetheless, the Citizens secured their passage through to semi finals by winning 2-1 away at Borussia Dortmund on the night and 4-2 on aggregate. Meanwhile, in the league, Pep Guardiola’s side look on course to win the title but suffered a shock defeat at the hands of Leeds United prior to the Dortmund second leg after Stuart Dallas netted a late winner for the Yorkshire side. The Leeds defeat ended of run of three straight wins in the league for City having lost to rivals Man United at the beginning of March.
How did both sides fare in the Quarter-Finals?
In the quarter-finals, both sides took down fellow Premier League opposition to have the chance of playing at Wembley. Chelsea faced bottom-of-the-table Sheffield United and despite a spirit performance from the Blades, the Blues won the game 2-0. An own goal from Ollie Norwood in the first half put the home side ahead before in the closing stages of the match, Hakim Ziyech sealed the victory despite Sheffield United having a number of chance to equalise.
As for Manchester City, Pep Guardiola’s team faced a more tougher opponent in the form of Everton away at Goodison Park but came away with the same scoreline as Chelsea in 2-0. It took them a while to score but with six minutes left, City made the breakthrough as Phil Foden’s effort crashing off the bar with Ilkay Gündogan there to head home the rebound. Not too long after, Pep Guardiola’s men wrapped up the tie as Rodri played through Kevin de Bruyne as the Belgian fired home to send City to the semi-finals.
Players to Watch
Chelsea: Timo Werner
Timo Werner has had a tricky start to life at Chelsea but the German forward has still shown his worth at times in the Premier League. Werner hasn’t featured in the past two matches for the Blues against Crystal Palace and Porto but some time out of the starting line-up may have benefited him and could come back into the team at Wembley. This could be a fresh start for Werner and he may have an opportunity to shine in what will be an entertaining match for sure. If Werner manages to get on the scoresheet, providing he plays, it could be a start of something big for the German international as he is determined to rediscover his goalscoring touch in a Chelsea shirt.
Manchester City: Kevin De Bruyne
One players to certainly watch out for in the City team in Belgian playmaker Kevin De Bruyne. The former Chelsea man has played a huge part in City’s charge towards potentially winning the quadruple this season. He’s isn’t the only one to play a big part. Ilkay Gündogan, Ruben Dias and John Stones to name a few have all excelled but the Belgian should be the one to look out for in this match. De Bruyne has 16 goal contributions in the Premier League along with six in Europe. As well as this, he scored in the last round of the FA Cup against Everton and performs well against the so-called ‘big six.’ He particularly seems to do very well against the Blues, scoring in his last three league appearances, will he score another against his former club?
Chelsea vs Manchester City: Team News and Predicted Line-Ups
Heading into this game, Thomas Tuchel has confirmed that he will be without two key players for the trip to Wembley. The first absentee is Mateo Kovacic as the Croatian remains sidelined with a hamstring problem that kept him out of the Porto game whilst defender Andreas Christensen misses out too. However, on a more positive note, N’Golo Kante is set to be fit to feature yet again and there is a chance Billy Gilmour could play the semi-final as well.
Goalkeeper Kepa has played in every single match so far in the FA Cup this season but the run could come to an end as Edouard Mendy looked destined to play in what is a big match. As for the back-three, Cesar Azpilicueta will most likely captain the team along with Antonio Rüdiger while Kurt Zouma could also start ahead of Thiago Silva. The wing-backs are likely to remain the same too with Ben Chilwell and Reece James performing well in recent weeks but it wouldn’t be a surprise if either Marcos Alonso and Callum Hudson-Odoi come in.
As for the midfield, Jorginho and Kante should retain their places after starting against Porto though one of the two could potentially drop out, leaving Gilmour with a chance to shine on the big stage. Finally in attack, star man Mason Mount should most certainly start and there could be a return to the starting line-up for Timo Werner, who has been dropped recently and may replace Pulisic. If selected, the German will likely start on the left with fellow countryman Havertz starting up front.
Predicted Chelsea XI (3-4-3): Mendy (GK); Azpilicueta (c), Zouma, Rüdiger; James, Kante, Jorginho, Chilwell; Mount, Werner, Havertz
Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City side had the opportunity to rest a few players against Borussia Dortmund in midweek with those rested expected to come back in. There is just the one injury concern in the City camp which is striker Sergio Aguero due to a muscular problem. The Argentine loves playing against the Blues, boasting 15 goals but won’t have the opportunity to add to that on Saturday. Meanwhile, Aymeric Laporte has been injured recently but was on the bench for the Dortmund match and could start in defence in this game.
As expected, Ederson will no doubt start in between the sticks with changes potentially being made in the back four. Joao Cancelo was rested on Wednesday but should be in contention to start at Wembley wether that be on the right or left hand side. It’s unlikely Kyle Walker gets dropped for a game of this kind so the Portuguese international Cancelo will play at left-back. Ruben Dias and John Stones have both performed exceptionally well at centre-back this season though one of them could make way for Laporte, who is of course another strong option in defence.
Moving onto the midfield and Ilkay Gündogan and Rodri should keep their places but Bernardo Silva may drop out with Kevin De Bruyne possibly dropping into the midfield three. Meanwhile, in the front three, Phil Foden will no doubt start and is too good to drop out the starting eleven. In midweek, City started with no recognised striker but Gabriel Jesus is likely to spearhead the attack whilst Riyad Mahrez should start on right-side having got on the scoresheet in the Dortmund game.
Predicted Manchester City XI (4-3-3): Ederson (GK); Walker, Dias, Laporte, Cancelo; Rodri, Gundogan; De Bruyne; Mahrez, Jesus, Foden
There is no doubt that this will be one of Thomas Tuchel’s toughest test‘s since being appointed Chelsea manager but the German will certainly not be fearing this game. Man City are doing very well in all competitions this season and Guardiola has the ability to change around the team each game.
Form wise, you’d expect City to come away with the win here and advance to the final but this isn’t an ordinary league match, it’s the FA Cup semi-finals and it’s anyone’s to win. Visiting Wembley is always a rare occasion for any team and it’s all about who turns up on the day. I have a feeling City will edge this one but I will back the Blues all the way and I’m going to say we’ll win the game in extra time. Regardless of the result though, this will be a thrilling contest between two very good sides.
Prediction: Chelsea 2-1 Manchester City (AET)
Chelsea vs Manchester City: Match Details
Venue: Wembley, London
Kick-Off: 5:30pm BST
Match Officials: Referee: Mike Dean, Assistant Referees: Ian Hussin and Daniel Robathan, Fourth Official: Andre Marriner, VAR: Peter Bankes
Written by Matt North (@MattNorth_)
Edited by Tom Coley (@tomcoley49)
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