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2 - 0
R. Loftus-Cheek (65)
M. Mount (76)
Chelsea v Crystal Palace Live Commentary,
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Shots Off Target
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That concludes our commentary of the FA Cup semi-final match between Chelsea and Crystal Palace! We hope you’ve enjoyed it!
Chelsea will look to continue their positive run of results in the Premier League on April 20, when they host Arsenal. Crystal Palace are in action again on the same day, when they travel to face Newcastle.
A relatively comfortably evening, on the whole, sees Chelsea through to the FA Cup final against Liverpool after goals from Loftus-Cheek and Mount powered the Blues past Crystal Palace at Wembley. A cagey first half was met by similar scenes in the second half, with both sides finding difficulty creating space in the opponent’s organised defence. It was Tuchel’s side who would take their half-chances however, with Loftus-Cheek’s volley coming five minutes after the hour - and 40 minutes after his first-half introduction for an injured Kovacic. Mount would add insurance with a quarter-hour left in the match; a situation which was irredeemable from that point for Palace. Vieira’s side failed to trouble Mendy on a frequent enough basis as they fall at the semi-final stage while a show-piece event awaits Tuchel’s Blues.
90' + 3'
FULL-TIME: CHELSEA 2-0 CRYSTAL PALACE.
90' + 1'
The fourth official indicates three minutes will be added to the end of the 90 for stoppages.
LUKAKU OFF THE POST! Werner bursts into the penalty area after latching onto the loose ball 20 yards from goal and centres a pass to Lukaku, whose first-time effort is swept againt the base of the post!
Crystal Palace manager Vieira was last involved in an FA Cup semi-final in 2010-11, when at Man City, he came on as a late substitute in a 1-0 win over Man Utd at Wembley. As a player, he faced Chelsea in five different matches without ever losing in the competition (W4 D1), including the 2002 final, which turned out to be the second of his five trophies.
Milivojevic comes on for Kouyate in the closing stages of the match.
It’s come down to the final five minutes for Crystal Palace, who need to find two goals from somewhere in order to give themselves a chance to go to extra time. It just hasn’t happened for them today despite the number of attacking talents on the pitch.
Christensen comes off for Silva as Chelsea use their final change to shore up the defence.
Ziyech cuts inside from the right and fires on his favoured left foot but it’s a tame effort that Butland sees the whole way through.
Mount makes way immediately after scoring, with Ziyech given a chance to stretch his legs.
Tuchel sends Kante on in order to preserve the lead - with Jorginho making way.
Havertz has made way for Lukaku.
Werner gets on the score sheet with an assist after a clever and unselfish pass for Mount.
CHELSA’S LEAD CONTINUES TO MOUNT! 2-0! Werner receives the ball on the corner of the penalty area, holding up play to attack defenders towards him before playing a square pass towards the middle of the park for Mount. The forward’s first touch bursts him by the last defender before he tucks a neat finish into the bottom corner!
Olise has had a direct hand in 50% of Crystal Palace’s 10 FA Cup goals this season (2 goals, 3 assists), with no player registering more direct goal involvements in the competition this campaign than the Eagles winger (same as Riyad Mahrez).
Vieira also introduces more creativity into his midfield with Olise coming on for McArthur.
Schlupp is replaced by Benteke in an attacking change for Palace with 20 minutes remaining.
Loftus-Cheek’s sliding tackle wins the ball but he’s also deemed to have used too much force as Crystal Palace are awarded a free-kick just inside their own half.
Jorginho’s switch of play finds Azpilicueta on the right wing but his first touch lets him down before a cynical foul on Guehi ends the move and allows the Eagles to clear their lines from a free-kick.
It’s all on Crystal Palace now. With just over 30 minutes remaining Vieira’s side will have to muster more than the one shot on target they’ve had thus far if they want to beat Mendy and keep themselves in the tie. There’s no point in holding back now - with attacking changes in the offing likely.
CHELSEA HAVE THEIR BREAKTHROUGH! 1-0! Mitchell gives possession away just outside his own penalty area, which allows Havertz to charge forward towards the byline before cutting the ball back to the penalty spot. Loftus-Cheek is ready and waiting for the service, lashing a volley that takes a deflection on its way past Butland!
It’s a match of half-chances where you feel the first side to take their opportunity - no matter how slim the chances - will be the one to progress to the final. Both Chelsea and Crystal Palace have remained very conservative in their attacking moves; worrying more about not conceding as a springboard to see what they can do at the other end.
CHANCE FOR PALACE! Eze takes Crystal Palace’s first corner of the match, sending it towards the penalty spot for a leaping Kouyate. The Senegal international makes great contact with his header but he disappointingly puts it on the wrong side of the post!
Schlupp is a step too late in closing down James, catching the defender on the top of the foot with an unintentional but painful stomp. It’s a free-kick for Chelsea, which they use to restart play quickly.
Crystal Palace and Chelsea have both progressed from two of the four previous FA Cup ties between the sides, with this their first clash in the competition since round five in 1975-76, when the Eagles won 3-2.
The first Crystal Palace change of the game comes in attack, where Mateta is replaced by Ayew.
Loftus-Cheek is again the impetus of the Chelsea attack, driving forward ahead of McArthur before playing the same type of pass with the outside of his boot into the penalty area. Guehi is alert to the danger this time however and nips in ahead of Werner before winning a free-kick.
A real Chance for Chelsea comes to nothing after Loftus-Cheek’s incisive pass - played with the outside of his foot - splits the defenders for the run of Werner. Butland comes off his line to meet the ball but mishandles it. The ball bobbles around momentarily but it’s eventually cleared before the out-of-position goalkeeper is punished.
A ball hit forward for Eze looks to give Christensen a problem after an awkward clearance but James comes across to intercept a pass towards Zaha - allowing Chelsea to reorganise and play their way out of the back.
Chelsea get forward down the right flank via James but a lack of movement ahead of him forces the centre-back to turn and play it towards his own defence. It’s been that type of game for the Blues, who have been unable to link up meaningfully in the attacking third.
Chelsea get the match restarted from the kick-off!
Having been forced into a change in the first half, Tuchel will be slightly hampered in the second half should he need to make tactical alterations. No doubt Pulisic and or Ziyech will be considered to add some life into the attack - with the latter more than capable of unpicking a compact defence. Lukaku would also be a natural entrant in the second should the coach feel he’s both physically and mentally prepared. Palace will be happy the longer it remains 0-0, with the likes of Olise and Edouard to bring off the bench to stretch the game in the late stages.
Both sides seemed to recognise what was at stake in the first half, with Chelsea and Crystal Palace playing out a tight and testy 0-0 draw. Chances were at a premium in the opening period, with just one shot on target between the two sides; a tame effort from distance that Butland was more than capable of dealing with. It seems as though both Tuchel and Vieira were content to let 45 minutes and possibly extra time settle the tie - which Palace sitting back and waiting to hit on the counter-attack. It’s put the oneness on Chelsea to attack, which has left them frustrated against two solid defensive banks.
45' + 2'
HALF-TIME: CHELSEA 0-0 CRYSTAL PALACE.
45' + 1'
It doesn't look as though either side will find the breakthrough in the first half, with Tuchel and Vieira holding their cards relatively close to their chest - ensuring that it's still there to be won in the second.
The fourth official indicates two minutes will be added to the end of the half for stoppages.
Zaha’s nifty footwork gets him free of Christensen inside the centre-circle, which prompts the centre-back to bring down his opponent - allowing Chelsea to regain their shape while Crystal Palace wait to restart play from a free-kick.
Chelsea have won each of their last nine fixtures with Crystal Palace, all coming in the Premier League. In the club’s history, they’ve enjoyed five separate instances of 10+ successive wins against an opponent, most recently a run of 11 versus Brighton between 1967 and 2019.
Anthony Taylor is forced into his first real decision of the match after Havertz goes over right on the edge of the penalty area after Guehi’s outstretched leg appeared to send the forward over. After taking a second to think, the referee deems that there was no contact between the two players and shows the Chelsea forward a yellow for simulation!
A FIRST REAL CHANCE FOR PALACE GOES BEGGGING! Eze’s free-kick from the left is hoisted into the penalty area where it’s cleared by Alonso - only as far as the edge of the 18-yard box. Kouyate whacks a volley towards goal which forces Mendy into a diving parry, only pushing the ball as far as Anderson six yards out. The centre-back lines up and takes a crack but he sends his shot cannoning off the base of the crossbar! It remains 0-0!
Alonso’s cross from the left is only cleared away as far as Jorginho, who manages to volley a pass across the face of goal to Mount, whose rushed shot with his in-step curls high and wide of the target.
All 10 of Chelsea’s outfield players are camped in Crystal Palace’s half but they’re unable to break down the defence as Vieira’s highly organised squad is causing no shortage of headaches for Mount and Jorginho.
James whips another Chelsea corner into the six-yard box but it’s scrambled away at the last possible moment. The clearance provides Palace a chance to strike on the counter-attack but Ward’s final ball for Zaha is not of the required quality - allowing Mendy to break up the move.
Eze is brought down by Mount in midfield, which gives the winger a chance to send the ball into the penalty area from a set-piece. Eze himself takes the free-kick and chips it into the 18-yard box for Andersen, who is beaten to the delivery by an alert Mendy.
Confirmation of the enforced change that comes four minutes before the half-hour mark - as Loftus-Cheek comes in to replace the injured Kovacic.
Rudiger steps into the role of play-maker, curling a cross into the penalty area from his position in the centre of defence for the head of Havertz. The Germany international manages to get his head to it but the forward can only pop it straight up in the air for an easy Butland catch.
There appears to be some movement on the Chelsea touchline, with Loftus-Cheek seemingly preparing himself to get warmed up. Kovacic looks to be struggling in the middle of the park as Tuchel prepares for an enforced change.
Jorginho clips a cross into the penalty area looking for the run of Azpilicueta at the far post but the captain is unable to get onto the end of the delivery despite a full-stretch lunge, with the ball rolling behind for a goal-kick.
A Chelsea attacking move comes to an end in disappointing fashion for the Blues as Havertz’s overzealous tackle to win the ball near the Crystal Palace corner flag lands him in trouble with the referee; giving the Eagles a free-kick to clear their lines.
The opening 15 minutes have been tight and cagey, with both sides looking to feel out their opponent and get a steady footing in the match. Balls played back instead of forward seem to be the norm with both sides looking to keep possession cycling rather than play the risky pass that may unlock the opposing defence.
James fired a Chelsea corner from the left into the six-yard box by a rising McArthur manages to clear the danger with his head.
Crystal Palace win back possession in midfield through Kouyate, who promptly turns and gives the ball back to his goalkeeper. Werner’s press forces Butland to get rid of it quickly but the result is a rushed heave that ends up behind Mendy’s goal.
Mount cuts inside from the left and curls an effort towards goal that fails to trouble Butland, who scoops the ball up after letting it bounce once.
Crystal Palace look to have switched formations in the opening stages, changing from their stated 4-3-3 to more of a 3-5-2 in order to match their opponents. Kouyate and Guehi play either side of Andersen in defence while Mitchell and Ward operate more as wing-backs.
A tight spell of passing just outside Crystal Palace’s penalty area looks to get Chelsea through into the penalty area but a clinical interception from Guehi wins back possession before a high launched pass for Mateta allows him to give chase; only for Azpilicueta to clean up the danger.
A lack of movement down the Chelsea right almost gets James into trouble, but Azpilicueta manages to get on the end of the pass out to the flank before maintaining possession and getting it back to Mendy to restart the attack.
After a prolonged passing spell in front of their own penalty area in order to invite the press, Crystal Palace launch it long down the right looking for Ward, who manages to win a throw-in high up the pitch.
Crystal Palace get the match underway from the kick-off!
Patrick Vieira makes three change from the line-up that beat Everton 4-0 to advance to this part of the competition. Ward replaces Clyne at right-back while Schlupp takes the place of Gallagher - whose on-loan status from Chelsea means he is not allowed to feature tonight and McArthur is in for Olise, allowing Eze to push up into attack.
Thomas Tuchel makes six changes from the XI that beat Middlesbrough 2-0 to reach the semi-final stage. Alonso replaces Sarr at left-back, while Christensen is in for Silva at centre-back. Jorginho is preferred to Loftus-Cheek in midfield and two changes in attack see Havertz and Werner play ahead of Lukaku and Ziyech respectively.
CRYSTAL PALACE SUBS: Martin Kelly, Michael Olise, Nathaniel Clyne, Luka Milivojevic, James Tomkins, Odsonne Edouard, Christian Benteke, Jordan Ayew, Vicente Guaita.
CRYSTAL PALACE XI (4-3-3): Jack Butland; Joel Ward, Joachim Andersen, Marc Guehi, Tyrick Mitchell; Jeffrey Schlupp, Cheikhou Kouyate, James McArthur; Eberechi Eze, Jean-Philippe Mateta, Wilfried Zaha.
CHELSEA SUBS: Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Saul Niguez, Malang Sarr, N’Golo Kante, Thiago Silva, Romelu Lukaku, Christian Pulisic, Hakim Ziyech, Kepa Arrizabalaga.
CHELSEA XI (5-2-3): Edouard Mendy; Marcos Alonso. Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen, Cesar Azpilicueta, Reece James; Mateo Kovacic, Jorginho; Mason Mount, Kai Havertz, Timo Werner.
With 15 minutes to go before kick-off, let's take a look at how the two sides are lining up - starting with our hosts!
Crystal Palace earned their place in the penultimate round of the cup by thrashing Everton 4-0 just under one month ago. A loss to Leicester City two weeks ago arrested a run of seven straight games without defeat in all competitions but righting the ship today is made that little bit harder - with Chelsea preventing Crystal Palace from using on-loan midfielder and key man Conor Gallagher.
A rather routine 2-0 victory over Middlesbrough in mid-March set Chelsea up for their all-London semi-final, where they will meet their first Premier League opposition of the cup run. Technically coming off the back of two straight victories over Southampton and Real Madrid in the Champions League - their elimination from the latter tournament will no doubt serve as extra motivation at Wembley today.
Hello and welcome to our commentary of the FA Cup semi-final fixture between Chelsea and Crystal Palace!