Chelsea have a chance to play a fourth (!) final this year after the Super Cup, the Club World Cup, and the League Cup finals, but in order to do so (and take on Liverpool again), we have to get past Crystal Palace, who may be the underdogs but that just means they have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Anything can happen in a single-elimination match.
Last time it took us 89 minutes to break the deadlock and score the winner against them, and that was without having to digest the emotional and physical toll of an ultimately most disappointing Champions League elimination.
We’ve made four of the last five FA Cup finals (though have won just one, shockingly). Also on the line is Thomas Tuchel’s perfect record in semifinals: 9 for 9. Eventually he will lose one, probably, let that not be this one.
Date / Time: Sunday, April 17, 2022, 16.30 BST; 11:30am EDT; 9pm IST
Venue: Wembley Stadium, London, England
Referee: Anthony Taylor (on pitch); John Brooks (VAR)
Forecast: Sunny, warm, bit breezy
On TV: ITV 1 (UK); none (USA); Sony TEN 2 (India); SuperSport MaXimo 1 (NGA); elsewhere
Streaming: ITV Hub (UK); ESPN+ (USA); Sony LIV (India); DStv Now (NGA)
Chelsea team news: Romelu Lukaku and Ross Barkley have returned to training after missing a few days with injury and illness, respectively. Lukaku has not seen much action in the Premier League or the Champions League, but he’s been a steady presence in the team and on the scoresheet, too, in cup games. Similarly, Kepa Arrizabalaga might get the call in goal having not played since his failed, for once, turn as a super-sub against Liverpool in the League Cup final shootout.
Callum Hudson-Odoi (Achilles) remains out, as does Ben Chilwell (ACL rehab).
We’ve won back to back games away after losing back-to-back games in shocking fashion at home. In fact, with eight in a row away wins, we’ve set a new club record. Wembley however counts almost as a home stadium for us — or at least it used to — so it’s time to set that record straight.
Crystal Palace team news: Palace are vying to reach the FA Cup final for just the third time in their history, though a second since 2016. With their position in midtable long assured, this is the one game left on their schedule at the moment that carries any sort of tangible weight. They’ve beaten Millwall, Hartlepool, Stoke City, and Frank Lampard’s Everton to get to this point.
Conor Gallagher is ineligible, which is certainly a blow for them (and him), and he could be joined in his watching brief by left back Tyrick Mitchell and winger Michael Olise, who are both facing late fitness tests. All three players have played key roles for Patrick Vieira’s side, despite their combined age of just 64.
Previously: Chelsea have done the league double over Palace this season, 3-0 and 1-0 — for the fourth straight season in fact. We haven’t lost to them since October 2017, ten games ago. We haven’t met in the FA Cup since 1976 (Chelsea losing 3-2 in the 5th round) and any sort of knockout match since 1993 (Chelsea losing 3-1 in the League Cup quarterfinals). As mentioned above, our last match against them wasn’t decided until the penultimate minute, thanks to some wizarding magic.