MX23RW : Monday, May 10 23:16:24| >> :120:17173:17173:
Apr 17, 2021 at 5.30pm UK at Wembley Stadium
ChelseaChelsea
1-0
Man CityManchester City
Ziyech (55')
James (34'), Azpilicueta (90')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Fernandinho (63'), Laporte (90+2'), Dias (90+5')

Preview: Chelsea vs. Manchester City - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's FA Cup clash between Chelsea and Manchester City, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Dreams of a continental and domestic double will end for Chelsea or Manchester City this weekend, as the two sides lock horns in Saturday's FA Cup semi-final at Wembley Stadium.

Both clubs booked their spots in the semi-finals of the Champions League in midweek, as Thomas Tuchel's men overcame Porto 2-1 on aggregate while Pep Guardiola's quarter-final hoodoo ended with a dominant 4-2 success over two legs against Borussia Dortmund.

Chelsea are aiming to go one better in the FA Cup after losing to Arsenal in last season's final, while Man City were knocked out at this stage by the Gunners in the 2019-20 tournament.


Match preview

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel pictured on April 10, 2021© Reuters

Porto's Mehdi Taremi entered his nomination for the greatest inconsequential goal ever scored in his side's Champions League quarter-final second leg with Chelsea in Seville, but as aesthetically pleasing as his injury-time overhead kick was, it was too little too late for the Portuguese giants.

Chelsea's 2-0 triumph in the first leg - courtesy of goals from Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell - ultimately proved to be the difference as Thomas Tuchel steered the Blues to a Champions League semi-final, where they will now meet serial winners Real Madrid following their elimination of Liverpool.

Tuchel has already endeared himself to the Chelsea faithful with his side's free-flowing attacking sequences and dogged defensive unit since replacing Frank Lampard at the helm, and another European crown would be the perfect way for the former Paris Saint-Germain manager to prove his worth to the club's notoriously trigger-happy hierarchy, although he may have to get one over his old club in the final should Chelsea get there.

The Blues are far from guaranteed a spot in Europe's elite competition via their league position, though, as they sit one point adrift of fourth-placed West Ham United following their humbling at the hands of West Bromwich Albion, although they did at least manage to put Crystal Palace to the sword last time out domestically.

Chelsea's Kurt Zouma celebrates scoring their third goal against Crystal Palace in the Premier League on April 10, 2021© Reuters

A 3-1 win over Luton Town in the fourth round of the FA Cup signalled the end of Lampard's tenure in the Stamford Bridge hotseat, and Tuchel has, unsurprisingly, navigated tests against Barnsley and Sheffield United without seeing his defence breached in the previous two rounds.

Should the Blues manage to get one over perennial cup winners Man City, it will mark the fourth time in five seasons that they have reached the showpiece event in England's premier cup competition - with a fifth-round defeat to Manchester United in 2018-19 being the only exception - and a 15th final would put them third on the all-time list behind Arsenal (21) and Man United (20).

Tuchel's first two defeats in the Stamford Bridge hotseat hardly requires the panic button to be pressed, and the fatigued Blues' goal-shy showing in midweek did not matter whatsoever as they booked their place in the Champions League semis, but the normally-resilient Chelsea defence now boasts just one clean sheet in four games.

Even though an FA Cup triumph would not be enough to secure a spot in next season's Champions League, a first piece of silverware would go a long way to securing Tuchel's future in the Blues' dugout, as whoever comes up trumps in this tie will certainly be favourites to overcome Leicester City or Southampton on May 15.

Manchester City's Phil Foden celebrates scoring against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League on April 14, 2021© Reuters

Often hailed as generational talents, Erling Braut Haaland, Jude Bellingham and Phil Foden were all presented with the chance to strut their stuff on the Westfalenstadion turf in midweek, and it was the English duo who took the bull by the horns in a pulsating quarter-final second leg.

Seventeen-year-old Bellingham was controversially denied his first Champions League goal for the club at the Etihad for a perceived foul on Ederson - with replays suggesting that the decision was harsh - but the ex-Birmingham City starlet took just 15 minutes to score a perfectly good goal in the second leg as City's number one could not keep his top-corner-bound effort out.

A 1-0 scoreline would have been enough for Dortmund to prolong Guardiola's quarter-final misery, but Riyad Mahrez restored parity from the spot after a handball by Emre Can, and the effervescent Foden repeated his first-leg heroics with a stunning strike from outside the area to seal City's progress into the final four.

Foden's ever-improving performances spell optimism for both City and England, but more importantly, a spot in the semi-finals of the Champions League means that the quadruple dream is still on for Guardiola, no matter how much he wants to downplay it.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola pictured in February 2021© Reuters

With an 11-point lead at the top and six games left to play in the Premier League, City are cruising to another top-flight crown, and Guardiola's dominance of the EFL Cup scene could continue against Tottenham Hotspur in next weekend's final, but the charismatic Catalan coach has not always been able to stamp his authority on the FA Cup.

Indeed, the Manchester giants have only ever reached the final once in the last eight seasons - thrashing Watford 6-0 in the 2018-19 showpiece event - and Guardiola was outdone by his former student Mikel Arteta at this stage last season, as City lost 2-0 to Arsenal in the final four.

However, with an astonishing 28 wins to boast from their last 30 across all competitions - notwithstanding their shock defeat to Leeds United last time out in the Premier League - City's players will undoubtedly march to Wembley with thoughts of an unprecedented quadruple racing through their minds, although they must extinguish such fantasies for at least 90 minutes on Saturday.

Guardiola's men have overcome Birmingham City, Cheltenham Town, Swansea City and Everton to book their spot in the semi-finals - scoring at least twice in all four of those games - and if their stints in Germany are anything to go by, Guardiola certainly enjoys coming up against teams coached by Tuchel.

The former Bayern Munich manager did not taste defeat in any of his five meetings with Tuchel between 2013 and 2016 - winning three and drawing two against his counterpart - but the German's Chelsea outfit command plenty of respect.

One of these English powerhouses will see their dreams of FA Cup glory dashed this weekend, but if Chelsea and City continue to produce the goods in Europe, an all-English Champions League final between the two teams in blue is not beyond the realm of possibility.

Chelsea FA Cup form:
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

Chelsea form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • L

Manchester City FA Cup form:
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

Manchester City form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W



Team News

Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero pictured in February 2021© Reuters

Tuchel dedicated his side's quarter-final win over Porto to Mateo Kovacic, who suffered a hamstring problem during a training session and has already been ruled out of the semi-final alongside Andreas Christensen, who has failed to recover from a muscular issue.

However, the tireless work of N'Golo Kante and Jorginho was a shining light for the Blues in Seville despite their second-leg defeat, and Tuchel will need his midfield lynchpins on top form at Wembley this weekend.

Despite his affinity for rotation, Tuchel has seemingly placed his faith in Mason Mount, Christian Pulisic and Kai Havertz as his three first-choice attackers, although Timo Werner may be considered for a start over Pulisic - who played the full 90 in midweek - given his previous fitness concerns.

Tammy Abraham's four strikes sees him sit atop the goalscoring charts in this season's FA Cup, but the Englishman has fallen out of favour alongside Olivier Giroud, and both strikers may only be considered for spots on the bench.

Thiago Silva and his 36-year-old legs lasted the entire game against Porto on Tuesday, but with caution being urged over the former Paris Saint-Germain stalwart due to recent injuries and suspensions, Kurt Zouma is a candidate to start in defence, while Kepa could feature in goal.

City's all-time top goalscorer and soon-to-be free agent Sergio Aguero enjoys playing Chelsea more than any other team, but the Argentine will not get the chance to build on the 15 goals he boasts against the Blues due to his latest muscular problem.

However, Aguero is the sole occupant of City's treatment room after Aymeric Laporte was fit enough for a spot on the bench against Dortmund, and the Frenchman could once again switch places with John Stones in Guardiola's back four.

Joao Cancelo will almost certainly return to the rearguard after being rested in midweek, with Oleksandr Zinchenko expected to make way on the left-hand side. Alternatively, Benjamin Mendy could be recalled and Cancelo could feature on the right if Kyle Walker is dropped, but the Englishman will surely start a game of this magnitude.

Kevin De Bruyne boasts nine goal contributions from his side's last eight FA Cup matches and is set to man the engine room with Rodri and Ilkay Gundogan once more, but the final third is where the real dilemmas lie for Guardiola.

Raheem Sterling has been benched more often than not in recent weeks, and Foden does not deserve to be demoted, but Gabriel Jesus will hope to be trusted from the off having already netted twice in this season's tournament.

Guardiola has also confirmed that Zack Steffen will feature in goal ahead of Ederson.

Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Kepa; Azpilicueta, Silva, Rudiger; James, Jorginho, Kante, Alonso; Mount, Werner; Havertz

Manchester City possible starting lineup:
Steffen; Walker, Dias, Laporte, Cancelo; Rodri, Gundogan, De Bruyne; Mahrez, Jesus, Foden


Head To Head

Saturday's semi-final represents the 167th meeting between Chelsea and Man City in all competitions, with the capital outfit boasting 68 wins compared to City's 59.

However, Guardiola's side have won seven of their last nine against Chelsea in all competitions, including a dominant 3-1 win at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League back in January.

The two sides last met in the FA Cup during the 2015-16 season, where Chelsea eased to a 5-1 win in the fifth round, but they have tried and failed three times to beat Man City at the new Wembley Stadium since 2013 - most recently losing on penalties in the 2019 EFL Cup final.


SM words green background

We say: Chelsea 1-2 Manchester City (a.e.t)

Guardiola will surely have to admit that his side are realistically capable of claiming a quartet of trophies if they advance to the FA Cup final for only the second time in eight seasons, but they will not face many tougher tests than Tuchel's Chelsea, who cannot envisage a season without silverware given the German's immediate impact at the club.

The Manchester giants have asserted their dominance over Chelsea in recent years and will be regarded as slight favourites to continue that trend here, as both sides look to utilise their fearsome squad depth at Wembley. This tie may not be decided over the course of 90 minutes, but we are ultimately backing City to progress to next month's final after a hotly-contested battle.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data


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How you voted: Chelsea vs Man City

Chelsea
43.5%
Draw
9.8%
Manchester City
46.7%
347
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Chelsea's N'Golo Kante in action with FC Porto's Mateus Uribe in the Champions League on April 13, 2021
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rhs 2.0
Todays Game Header Right
Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City35255572264680
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd342010467363170
3Chelsea351810755322364
4Leicester CityLeicester351961063432063
5West Ham UnitedWest Ham351771155451058
6Liverpool34169957391857
7Tottenham HotspurSpurs351681161412056
8Everton34167114642455
9Arsenal351571349381152
10Leeds UnitedLeeds35155155353050
11Aston Villa34146144941848
12Wolverhampton WanderersWolves35129143547-1245
13Crystal Palace34118153656-2041
14Burnley35109163347-1439
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle35109164058-1839
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton35813143641-537
17Southampton34107174161-2037
18Fulham35512182547-2227
19West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom35511193268-3626
RSheffield UnitedSheff Utd3552281862-4417

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