Manchester City’s dreams of a quadruple came to an end as Chelsea claimed a 1-0 win at Wembley to reach the FA Cup final.
City have been competing on four fronts this season with many expecting them to fight for all the trophies on offer. But one of those has now been ruled out after Chelsea continued their resurgence under Thomas Tuchel to win their semi-final match-up.
Tuchel made three changes to his Chelsea lineup from the side that sealed Champions League progression in midweek. Kepa Arrizabalaga, Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner all came in.
As for City, only three players kept their places from their most recent European exploits. Only Ruben Dias, Rodri and Kevin De Bruyne remained from Pep Guardiola’s midweek selection.
Two of the players brought in by Chelsea combined to put the ball in the back of the net early on. Werner set up Ziyech, who slotted it home.
However, the goal was ruled out for offside. Even so, it would have a confidence boost for the two summer signings.
City’s first attempt was a curled effort from outside the box from Gabriel Jesus. However, it was at a comfortable range for Kepa.
Chelsea had started the strongest, and another chance came when Ziyech slid the ball to Reece James out wide. James crossed for his opposite full-back Ben Chilwell, who failed to connect cleanly on the volley.
James had a go himself when the ball fell to him on the edge of the box after a corner. However, his effort sailed wide of the post.
City ended the half with a flurry of chances, with Cesar Azpilicueta having to block a cross to concede a corner. From the resulting set piece, the ball eventually came to Fernandinho, but the City skipper headed it wide.
Chelsea take lead 10 mins into second half
In a blow to City’s chances, De Bruyne was forced off with an ankle injury early in the second half.
Not long after, Werner and Ziyech combined again to give Chelsea the lead – and this time it stood.
City keeper Zack Steffen tried to close the space as Werner drove down the wing, but he left a gap behind him. The German forward played it across for his teammate, who was left with a tap in.
— Emirates FA Cup (@EmiratesFACup) April 17, 2021
Ziyech could have doubled the lead when he got in behind Dias, but this time Steffen made himself big and kept the ball out.
City began to up the pressure and Dias headed the ball over the bar after a corner.
At this stage, Chelsea were pinned back, but were still seeking a second goal via a counter attack. For example, Werner carried the ball forward on one foray but ran out of steam.
At the other end, Rodri tried to shoot through a sea of bodies from outside the box, with little success.
Next, Raheem Sterling fired over from close range as City kept up the pressure – but with no end product.
Chelsea thought they had put daylight between themselves and City when Christian Pulisic fired home in stoppage time. But he was offside, so it didn’t count.
City tried to get it back upfield but they could not find a way to get past Kepa, meaning Chelsea will be the ones to return to Wembley for the FA Cup final. They will find out on Sunday whether they will play Leicester or Southampton in the showpiece event.