Chelsea vs Manchester City 18/4/21 – Full Match Report

Blues crush City’s quadruple dream, firing themselves into another FA Cup final.


Pre-game:

After a phenomenal start to life in London, Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel found himself with a chance to earn his side a fourth FA Cup final in five years – taking on Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City at Wembley.


The league leaders still had dreams of completing the quadruple, as they remained in all four competitions with a Carabao Cup final next week against Spurs. It looked to be a close affair at Wembley, with everything set to be played for between the two sides.


After a heroic week in Europe for the Citizens, Guardiola made eight changes to his Manchester City side – which included Zack Steffen replacing Ederson in between the sticks.


Chelsea’s ‘cup’ goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga also returned to the Blues starting eleven, having kept three clean sheets in his four appearances in the competition thus far. Tuchel also made two additional changes, with Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner replacing Christian Pulisic and Kai Havertz.

Despite being declared fully fit to play, Chelsea’s top scorer Tammy Abraham was left out of the squad. The Blues were also without Andreas Christensen and Mateo Kovačić – who were both absent due to injury.


First half:

As mentioned, it looked to be a cagey affair in North London. There was everything at stake in Saturday evenings blockbuster showdown, with Manchester City expected to leave victorious.


However, it was Tuchel’s side that started the brightest, and they even had the ball in the back of the net within the opening 5 minutes.


In what was an encouraging Chelsea move, Hakim Ziyech was on que to convert from close range following a breakaway led by Timo Werner. However, the Blues were disheartened to see the goal chalked off after Werner was penalised for being offside.


On the 10th minute, Manchester City had their first shot on target as Gabriel Jesus tested Kepa from range. However, it was an easy stop for the Spaniard, who looked to impress on his return to the Chelsea eleven.


Despite the attempt on goal, it was still Chelsea who looked the sharpest of the two teams. The Blues had another chance to break the deadlock as Reece James found his fellow fullback Ben Chilwell at the back post. The England international however didn’t make clean contact with the ball, with his effort falling just wide of Steffen’s post.


On the 32nd minute, Werner was involved again as he switched it up a gear and used his pace to lead another Blues attack. The German looked to move into a dangerous position before switching the play to Mason Mount – but Aymeric Laporte recovered brilliantly, leaving Chelsea to settle for just a corner.


Although Chelsea looked in control for the majority of the first half, Guardiola’s Manchester City were growing into the game minutes before the half time whistle. A glancing header by City skipper Fernandinho was perhaps the closest that the league leaders came to breaking the deadlock.


Second half:

Just minutes into the second half, City were crushed by an injury to Kevin De Bruyne – leaving the Belgian to be replaced by Phil Foden.


Guardiola’s side were definitely affected by the injury, which only allowed for Chelsea to fancy their chances. On the 55th minute, the Blues broke down City to draw first blood at Wembley.

In what was almost an exact replica of the offside goal earlier in the game, Timo Werner used his pace to break forward before finding Hakim Ziyech to convert into an almost empty net. A huge goal for Chelsea that put them in the driver’s seat with just over half an hour left to play in the game.


Just minutes later, there was a chance for the Moroccan to double Chelsea’s lead. Ziyech latched onto a long ball that was poorly dealt with by the City defence – but the midfielder failed to get the better of Steffen in a 1-on-1 situation.


Now trailing in the game, the pressure was on the Citizens to respond. Guardiola’s side were pressing well and worked their way back into the game.


On the 70th minute, Chelsea was affected by an injury of their own as Mason Mount was replaced by Christian Pulisic. Tuchel will be hoping the injury to the England international is nothing major, with Mount playing an integral part to the Blues success so far this season.


With City smothering Chelsea when in possession, the game almost looked like it was swinging in favour of the Manchester side. Tuchel’s lead looked threatened, although Chelsea was defending well and hanging on to their precious goal advantage.


In the dying minutes of the game, Chelsea had the ball in the net once again. However, for the second time in the game, the Blues were penalised for being offside as Pulisic’s cool finish was disallowed.


Although City continued to push, their dreams of winning all four trophies was shattered – as Chelsea left Wembley victorious with yet another FA Cup final to now look forward to next month.

After the whistle:

In typical Chelsea style, the Blues were able to fight against the odds and pick up another monumental victory under new boss Thomas Tuchel. Chelsea did extremely well to hold on to their lead and fight off an incredibly talented Manchester City side.


Next up for the Blues is a league game against Brighton at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.


Their opponents however looked to have finally run out of steam. City have been brilliant all season long, but on Saturday evening Guardiola’s side looked tired – as they crashed out of the semi-finals of the FA Cup for the second consecutive season.


City will however return to Wembley next weekend, as they face Tottenham in the Carabao Cup final.


Final score:

Chelsea 1-0 Manchester City.

- Ziyech (55’).


BBC Sports player of the match:

Hakim Ziyech (Chelsea).


Line-ups:

Chelsea (3-4-2-1): Arrizabalga; Azpilicueta ©, Silva, Rüdiger; James, Jorginho, Kanté, Chilwell; Mount, Ziyech; Werner.

- Subs: Pulisic (70’), Emerson (79’), Havertz (79’), Zouma (88’).


Manchester City (4-2-3-1): Steffen; Cancelo, Dias, Laporte, Mendy; Fernandinho ©, Rodri; Torres (64’), De Bruyne (48’), Sterling; Jesus.

- Subs: Foden (48’), Gündogan (64’).


Referee:

Mike Dean.


Possession:

Chelsea (45%) vs Manchester City (55%).


Shots:

Chelsea (5) vs Manchester City (11).

Shots on target:

Chelsea (3) vs Manchester City (3).

Corners:

Chelsea (3) vs Manchester City (6).

Fouls:

Chelsea (8) vs Manchester City (12).

- (credit | BBC Sport).


Match highlights:

- (credit | The Emirates FA Cup).

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Written by Ryan Bellenie (@BellenieSport).


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