After beating Middlesbrough and the forces of “sporting integrity”, Chelsea are into the semifinals of the FA Cup for the fifth time in the last six years. In each of those four previous occasions, we advanced to the final, dispatching Manchester City, Manchester United, Southampton, and Spurs, in order to do so.
If we are to do it again, we will have to overcome Crystal Palace, who absolutely trounced Frank Lampard’s Everton, 4-0, earlier today. (And saw Super Frank throw his team post-match not just under the bus, but then drive the bus repeatedly over them, though I digress.)
Conor Gallagher, who was again Palace’s Man of the Match, could be allowed to play — there is no hard rule against it as in the Premier League — though Palace would need special permission from Chelsea. Last time such a situation happened, we (eventually) allowed Frank Lampard’s Derby County to use both Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori when we played them in the League Cup. Sarri’s Chelsea prevailed, 3-2.
UPDATE: Apparently, the FA Cup rules have been amended recently, and loanees are now expressly prevented from playing against their parent clubs. Sorry, Conor!
In the other semifinal, Manchester City will take on the winners of Liverpool vs. Nottingham Forest, which is being played right now.
The semifinals will be played the weekend of April 16-17, at Wembley. Thomas Tuchel has never lost a semifinal.
We’ve beaten Palace nine (9) times in a row, including both games this season. The last time we played them in the FA Cup was in 1976 (they won, 3-2). The last time we meet in a cup was in the 1993 League Cup quarterfinal, which Palace won, 3-1.