Chelsea had the better of play and chances in the first 45, and even had the ball in the back of the net through Hakim Ziyech, but Timo Werner had strayed just a shoulder offside in the build-up and these days the offside flag arrives by snail mail.
Much more questionable refereeing decisions followed, with Mike Dean (and VAR) ignoring Fernandinho stepping on Mount’s face (replays very much putting claims of “accidental” into great doubt), then Dean not even giving a yellow for a studs-up tackle from Fernandinho on Mount. And then what looked like a good tackle from Reece James on that man again, Fernandinho, got the Chelsea man booked instead.
Fernandinho actually also came closest to scoring for City in the first half, flashing a set piece header wide of the post. At the other end, Chelsea created some excellent passing moves but did not really threaten the goal too much.
That all changed early in the second half, even as City started well, with Chelsea grabbing the lead in a very similar move to the one that saw a goal ruled out in the first half. Mount’s through ball found Werner, onside this time, and with the goalkeeper stranding himself in no man’s land, Ziyech was left with the simple task of putting the ball in the empty net after Werner’s square ball.
Ziyech then could’ve (should’ve) doubled Chelsea’s lead just a few minutes later as the otherwise excellent Ruben Dias missed an interception. But Ziyech’s right-footed effort 1-v-1 lacked conviction, accuracy, or any sort of quality, and the goalkeeper could redeem himself.
City brought on their in-form big-hitters like Gundogan and Foden, but Chelsea were able to stay strong at the back and hold on for the clean sheet and the win! Pulisic even had the ball in the back of the net late, but was rightly ruled out for offside (again by a late-late flag).
- Just three changes from Tuesday for Tuchel, with Ziyech and Werner coming in up top and Kepa returning in goal as he has been for all the domestic cups.
- Pulisic for Mount for the final 20 minutes, then a switch to a 3-5-2 for the final 10, with Emerson (on for Ziyech) slotting in as a third midfielder. Havertz also on for the final 10 in place of Werner.
- Hopefully Silva’s back injury isn’t anything serious. Zouma on in his stead for the final 5 minutes.
- FA Cup final to be played on May 15, against either Leicester City or Southampton. They play their semifinal tomorrow.
- Fourth FA Cup final in five years for Chelsea!
- No quadruple for City!
- Next up: Brighton in the league on Tuesday. West Ham lost earlier today to Newcastle, which means that top four is on our hands again, if we win.