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5 Talking Points, As Chelsea Beat Man City To FA Cup Finals



Chelsea will be in the FA Cup final for the second successive season after wrecking Manchester City’s quadruple hopes.

Hakim Ziyech scored the only goal of the game as Thomas Tuchel’s Blues produced a pragmatic performance to keep Pep Guardiola’s men at arm’s length throughout and book a fourth final in five years.

Chelsea started well, and Ziyech tapped the ball into the net just five minutes in, but the effort was immediately ruled out due to an offside against Werner.

But the first half was a largely tentative affair with City inching back into the contest – but creating little of note.

Kevin De Bruyne went off with an ankle injury early in the second period, before Ziyech broke the deadlock after 54 minutes, tapping in after Werner had broken down the left.

City would dominate possession from then on, but did little to really test Kepa Arrizabalaga on a frustrating day for Guardiola’s champions-elect.

Kevin De Bruyne hobbled out of the match in the second half’s opening exchanges with an apparent right ankle injury.

The Belgium playmaker’s loss was a blow for City, who had to bring Phil Foden off the bench.

De Bruyne’s exit came about innocuously enough; he had possession, was being chased by a scampering N’Golo Kante, and seemingly felt a reaction as he planted his foot on the Wembley turf. Immediately he knew something was wrong.

For City’s sake in the coming weeks, you hope it’s nothing too serious. But the way it happened, and the fact replays showed nothing apparently serious that could have caused it, is a cause for worry.

Hakim Ziyech has spoken recently about his difficult debut season in English football, following his £38million switch from Ajax.

And certainly, the Moroccan hasn’t shown what he’s truly capable of since arriving at Stamford Bridge.

But there have been moments throughout. A pass here, a freekick there, moments where his genuine quality – especially with his left-foot – have stood out.

“I have a lot to work on, but I’m working in a good way,” he admitted at full time.

His goal was pretty simple – tapping in after Timo Werner had done the hard work. An earlier similar effort had been ruled out.

Now the man who had never even been to Wembley before this can plan for a second trip.

When did you last see Manchester City create so little?

Because, pure and simple, there wasn’t much forthcoming from Guardiola’s side in attack here.

Phil Foden was a bright spark when he came on, there were a couple of smart bursts from Raheem Sterling too.

But largely, they were smothered extremely effectively by Chelsea, who then used Werner’s pace smartly on the break.

He’s 36 now, but Thiago Silva remains an outstanding big-game defender.

There’s a reason Tuchel wasn’t best pleased that PSG let him go last summer when the German wanted to keep him.

And that’s because, even at his current age, he’s a fantastic leader, whose positioning is exemplary and who reads the game as good as anyone out there.

Throw in that he’s playing at the heart of a back three right now – which protects him, no question (we’ll ignore the West Brom nightmare) – and his ability to organise his teammates really shines through and is a key reason for their much improved defence under Tuchel.

That he played with a back problem for the most part made it all the more remarkable.

Abraham’s omission

Chelsea could name nine substitutes at Wembley, along with their starting XI, but still Tuchel could find no space for Tammy Abraham.

That’s despite the England striker having four goals to his name in the competition thus far and still being the Blues’ leading goalscorer in all competitions.

Some teammates were said to be shocked by the 23-year-old’s absence, while his long-term future appears to be in question.

Certainly it seems he’s only fourth choice right now in the central striking role, behind the rotating cast of Kai Havertz, Olivier Giroud and Werner.

“There isn’t much on Tammy but he’s lost a little bit of confidence recently and we’ve taken the hard decision to leave him out today,” said Tuchel.

“It was a tough decision but we decided to go with Timo, and with Kai and Oli Giroud from the bench. We have other injured players missing today, which would mean even more hard decisions.”

It’ll be interesting to see how – and even if – Abraham will be used in the coming weeks.

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Latest Chelsea News

Just In: UEFA Changed Champions League Final Venue, See New Venue & Date



The Champions League final between Chelsea and Manchester City will be moved to Porto’s Estadio do Dragao from Istanbul, UEFA is set to announce.

UEFA had wanted to move the final to Wembley and was in talks with the UK government, but there was a considerable sticking point over waiving quarantine rules for the 2,000 staff, sponsors, VIPs and foreign media.

The fixture was due to take place at the Ataturk Stadium on May 29, but pressure mounted for the venue to be changed after the UK government placed Turkey on its ‘red’ list of at-risk countries and urged fans not to travel for the fixture. UK citizens returning from red-list countries are required to quarantine at a government-approved hotel for 10 days.

The capacity at the Estadio do Dragao is 50,000 and UEFA is in talks with the Portuguese government to allow 20,000 to attend the final. That would mean up to 6,000 tickets for fans of each club.

Fans have not been allowed to attend games in Portugal this season but the Portuguese league announced on Wednesday that they would be able to watch the final round of league games next Wednesday with stadium capacities capped at 10 per cent.

Portugal is on the government green list so UK visitors will be able to travel there from Sunday. They will not need to quarantine but they will have to take Covid-19 tests before and after they travel.

It would have been cheaper and easier for UEFA to host the game at Wembley – which already has the infrastructure set up to be a UEFA European Championship venue next month – but the governing body felt it could not do so without the guarantee of government waivers.

As far as UEFA is concerned, fans would not be able to attend at all if the final had remained in Istanbul so it believes it has tried to do the best in difficult circumstances.

As far as Chelsea and City supporters are concerned, the final should be at Wembley.

This will be the third final in Portugal in eight years but the first in Porto.

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Latest Chelsea News

It is on me’ – Thomas Tuchel admits he made too many mistakes to his Chelsea side against Arsenal




Thomas Tuchel has admitted making too many changes to his Chelsea side cost them the game against Arsenal.


The Blues fell to a disappointing 1-0 defeat at home to Arsenal on Wednesday night with Emile Smith Rowe scoring the game’s only goal.


Tuchel made seven changes to the side that beat Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium at the weekend with one eye firmly on Saturday’s FA Cup final against Leicester City.


Speaking after the defeat, Tuchel conceded he had made a mistake in making so many changes – also suggesting he had fears over certain players coming into the match after recent training sessions.


Tuchel told Sky Sports: ‘We could not put up the same intensity and energy as usual.


‘It is on me, I think it was too many changes from the last match and I take full responsibility for that and maybe it is the last wake up call for all of us.’


He added: ‘I felt it coming a little bit yesterday in training and I’m a bit unlucky that it has proven today on the pitch.

I regret that, but it’s like this. It’s ‘we could have, we could have, we could have’, but we didn’t and that’s what it’s all about.’


Defeat drags Chelsea firmly back into a battle for a top four finish.


Following their FA Cup meeting with Leicester, they head to the King Power Stadium for their penultimate league match of the season next Tuesday.

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Latest Arsenal News

Video Highlights, Full Match Analysis: Chelsea 0 – 1 Arsenal



Emile Smith Rowe denied Chelsea the chance to cement their top-four status as he took advantage of Jorginho’s howler to give Arsenal a 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues would have all but secured their Champions League qualification with a victory which would have taken them 10 points clear of Liverpool, who have four games left to play, but after making seven changes ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup final, struggled to create clear-cut chances.

Kai Havertz should have put them ahead 10 minutes in when he intercepted Gabriel’s loose pass for Pablo Mari and raced clean through, but then fired over Bernd Leno’s bar with only his compatriot to beat. Moments later Jorginho’s equally poor back-pass was kept out by Kepa Arrizabalaga at full stretch, but Smith Rowe was on hand to bundle home after being teed up by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Chelsea were dominant for the large majority of the remaining 75 minutes without forcing Leno into any uncomfortable saves until the final minute. They did beat him through Pulisic’s close-range header from a corner, which was swiftly denied by a VAR review, before the German produced a stunning stop to tip Kurt Zouma’s header onto the crossbar, which was then rattled by Olivier Giroud’s shot on the rebound.

Player Ratings

Chelsea: Kepa (6), James (6), Azpilicueta (6), Silva (6), Zouma (6), Chilwell (5), Jorginho (4), Gilmour (5), Pulisic (5), Mount (6), Havertz (5).

Subs: Hudson-Odoi (6), Giroud (6), Ziyech (5).

Arsenal: Leno (7), Gabriel (6), Mari (7), Holding (6), Tierney (7), Partey (6), Elneny (8), Saka (5), Odegaard (6), Smith Rowe (7), Aubameyang (5).

Subs: Bellerin (6), Lacazette (5), Chambers (6).

Man of the match: Mohamed Elneny

What the managers said…

Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel told Sky Sports: “We had three days, we are on a good run, we had a good mood. The choices were not so good today from my side for the line-up so that’s on me. We were unlucky, of course. But we did everything today to lose.

“I’m not happy with my line-up. It’s easy to say afterwards. But it was too many changes, I should not have done it like this. It’s something in particular – but I will not tell you!”


Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta told Sky Sports: “I don’t know how they’re going to try from the outside but from the inside, nothing is broken.

“They’re going to put things on me that I never said, you can see the spirit of the team from the first minute. You can never doubt their efforts and how much they try.”

Match stats

  1. Arsenal completed their first Premier League double over Chelsea since the 2003-04 season, while this was their first league win at Stamford Bridge since October 2011, ending an eight-game winless run there (D2 L6).
  2. Chelsea suffered only their third defeat in 26 matches in all competitions under Thomas Tuchel (W17 D6), with all three defeats coming at Stamford Bridge.
  3. Arsenal have won three consecutive away Premier League matches without conceding for the first time since May 2013 under Arsène Wenger.
  4. Arsenal have had a different player aged younger than 21 score in each of their last three Premier League matches against Chelsea – Gabriel Martinelli in January 2020, Bukayo Saka in December 2020 and Emile Smith Rowe tonight.

What’s next?

Chelsea are off to Wembley in the FA Cup final on Saturday, where they will face Leicester City; Kick-off at 5.15pm.

Arsenal’s penultimate game of the season is also in London, with a trip to Crystal Palace next Wednesday night; Kick-off at 7pm.

📽️ Watch The Video Highlights:

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