Chelsea ended Manchester City’s quadruple bid as Hakim Ziyech’s goal secured a 1-0 win at Wembley to send Thomas Tuchel’s side through to the FA Cup final.
Ziyech converted Timo Werner’s squared pass after Chelsea sprang the Manchester City offside trap 10 minutes into the second half and the goal proved decisive in a game of few chances.
City could yet face Chelsea again in the Champions League final after both sides advanced in Europe earlier this week, but they were well below par at Wembley and their problems were compounded by an injury to Kevin De Bruyne.
The Belgian was forced off early in the second half, making him a doubt for next weekend’s Carabao Cup final against Tottenham, and Pep Guardiola’s side were unable to muster a response after Ziyech’s strike despite dominating possession.
Gabriel Jesus fired wastefully over from close range with their best chance, while Rodri was denied by Kepa Arrizabalaga from a City corner in stoppage time.
Chelsea defended resolutely, clinching their 14th clean sheet in 19 games under Tuchel, and thought they had scored a late second before substitute Christian Pulisic’s strike was ruled out for offside.
The Blues will be favourites to go on and lift the trophy when they face either Leicester or Southampton in next month’s final.
Chelsea: Kepa (7), Azpilicueta (7), Thiago Silva (8), Rudiger (7), James (7), Jorginho (7), Kante (7), Chilwell (7), Mount (7), Ziyech (8), Werner (7).
Subs: Pulisic (6), Havertz (6), Emerson (6), Zouma (n/a).
Man City: Steffen (6), Cancelo (6), Dias (6), Laporte (6), Mendy (6), Rodri (7), Fernandinho (6), De Bruyne (6), Torres (5), Sterling (6), Jesus (5).
Subs: Foden (6), Gundogan (6)
Man of the match: Hakim Ziyech.
How Chelsea claimed deserved win
Guardiola freshened up his Manchester City side following the midweek win over Borussia Dortmund, making eight changes to Chelsea’s three, but it was Tuchel’s team who started brightest.
Most of their attacks were directed down the flanks, with wing-backs Ben Chilwell and Reece James bombing forward at every opportunity and finding plenty of space to run into.
There was an early warning for City when Ziyech put the ball in the net from a Werner cross following a break, but the goal was ruled out for offside.
Chelsea’s wing-backs then combined for the best chance of the first half, with James latching onto a Ziyech pass and launching a deep cross to the far post, where the unmarked Chilwell screwed his volley wide of Zack Steffen’s right-hand post.
Chelsea were dominating possession at that point, a rarity for any side against Manchester City, and they went close again when James flashed a first-time shot a few yards wide from 25 yards out following a corner.
City grew into the game as the half wore on but lacked their usual incisiveness in possession and could only muster a couple of half-chances.
Jesus curled their only shot on target of the half straight into the arms of Kepa, who got the nod in goal for Chelsea ahead of usual first-choice Edouard Mendy, while Fernandinho headed wide from a Raheem Sterling delivery.
Chelsea were proving difficult to break down and City’s task became harder when De Bruyne limped off just three minutes after the break, the Belgian’s fitness immediately becoming a major worry for Guardiola ahead of the Carabao Cup final.
Phil Foden was the chosen replacement and almost made an immediate impact when his deep cross was headed dangerously across goal by Jesus, but Chelsea’s breakthrough arrived just a few minutes later.
Werner had been threatening to exploit City’s high line all afternoon and he finally sprang the offside trap to collect Chilwell’s through-ball and square for Ziyech to finish into the empty net.
It was a carbon copy of the goal they had disallowed in the early stages of the game and Chelsea were in again a few minutes later, with Steffen denying Ziyech a second after Ruben Dias had failed to cut out a long pass.
Dias did recover in time to block Werner’s effort from the follow-up but City continued to lack a cutting edge at the other end of the pitch.
Dias nodded over after Rodri had headed a corner back across goal, and Chelsea continued to threaten on the break, with Pulisic getting in behind again, only to shoot tamely at Steffen.
City then finally created a clear opportunity but Guardiola had his head in his hands when Jesus, starting in place of the injured Sergio Aguero, blazed over after the ball had fallen kindly to him eight yards out.
Pulisic seemed to have made the game safe when he fired across Steffen and into the corner in the third minute of stoppage time, but the assistant raised his flag again, giving City one last chance to equalise when Rodri’s header was pushed around the post by Kepa.
Tuchel’s decision to play Kepa ahead of Mendy was viewed as a gamble ahead of kick-off, but it is Guardiola who may rue his changes. City’s quadruple hopes are over but they must pick themselves up quickly. A return to Wembley is only eight days away.
WHAT THE MANAGERS SAID:
Thomas Tuchel: “I am very, very happy and proud with the performance of our team because we played with a lot of courage, we were very self-confident and played very brave with the ball and against the ball.”
“If you play against Pep you know that you play against the highest level of Europe because wherever he was at the sideline – Barcelona, Bayern (Munich) and now Man City – for years he was the benchmark with his teams.
“And he is again. You can see that with the Premier League. Our target was to close the gap for the 90 minutes because it’s possible in football, if you arrive in good momentum, to make this happen.”
Pep Guardiola: “We played a good last 15 minutes. We had struggled to find our place in the pockets but congratulations to Chelsea in a tight game.
“We arrived sometimes in that position but after that we didn’t create. We conceded the goal but after we reacted well, especially after Phil Foden and Ilkay Gundogan came on.
“The team that defends with eight players in the final third it is not easy. This type of game the margin is so tight. In general we controlled well. We didn’t create many clear-cut chances but we arrived more than them.”
Opta stats – Chelsea’s defensive prowess
- Chelsea have reached the FA Cup final in four of the last five seasons – only Arsenal (21) and Manchester United (20) have reached the competition’s showcase on more occasions than Chelsea (15).
- Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has become the first ever German manager to reach the English FA Cup final.
- Manchester City have now been eliminated at the semi-final stage in three of their five seasons under Pep Guardiola, with the team knocking them out the other two times going on to win the competition (Arsenal in both 2017 and 2020).
- Since Thomas Tuchel’s first game in charge of Chelsea in January, the Blues have kept more clean sheets in all competitions than any other side in the top five European leagues (14).
- Chelsea have kept 14 clean sheets in 19 games in all competitions under Thomas Tuchel, one more than they did under Frank Lampard in 29 matches this season.
- Four of Hakim Ziyech’s five goals for Chelsea have come in cup competition, while three of his five strikes for the Blues have been assisted by Timo Werner.
- Timo Werner has been involved in 19 goals in all competitions this season (10 goals, 9 assists), at least three more than any other Chelsea player.
- In his 11th appearance for Man City in all competitions, this was the first time goalkeeper Zack Steffen has ended on the losing side, having won each of his first 10 games for the club.
Both sides resume their Premier League campaigns in midweek. Chelsea host Brighton live on Sky Sports Premier League from 7.30pm on Tuesday, with kick-off at 8pm, while Manchester City are away to Aston Villa on Wednesday, with the game live on Sky Sports Premier League from 8pm ahead of the 8.15pm kick-off.
Chelsea will find out who they face in the FA Cup final when Leicester and Southampton go head to head in the other semi-final on Sunday.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
- 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).
- 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.
- Arsenal have won three consecutive away Premier League matches without conceding for the first time since May 2013 under Arsène Wenger.
- 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.
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.
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