Chelsea are back in Wembley as they face London rivals, Crystal Palace, in the semi-final fixture of the FA Cup. A spirited Patrick Viera’s team would love to pull out an upset against Thomas Tuchel’s blues who enter the game after their Champions League heartbreak.
WHERE AND WHEN?
Venue: Wembley Stadium.
Date: Sunday, 17th April 2022.
Time: 16:30 (BST).
Referee: Anthony Taylor.
Assistant referees: Gary Beswick and Adam Nunn.
Fourth official: David Coote.
VAR: John Brooks.
Assistant VAR: Daniel Robathan.
Chelsea enters the match after a hectic game in Madrid which lasted for 120 minutes. Tuchel might look to rest a few players but will not look to compromise the team balance. Chilwell and Odoi remain out for the clash with Lukaku having a slight possibility to start after missing the Spain trip. Kepa might start over Mendy as the Spanish keeper has been Chelsea’s go to man in the domestic cups. Also, club captain Azpilicueta will be back after missing the last two games.
Crystal Palace will be worried over the team selection as Mitchell took an injury during their weekend game against Leicester City. His injury extent is still unknown and will be a great miss as the Englishman has been one of the main players this season. This is added up to the tensions around Olise whose return will be a doubt after missing the last two matches. But the biggest blow has been the denied request by Chelsea to let Gallagher play. Gallagher has been one of the best players for Crystal Palace and is a key player for Viera but the youngster will be forced to stay out of the clash as Chelsea has denied the request for their loanee to feature against them.
Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea after a great comeback in Madrid were left heartbroken as they lost the tie in the extra time. The squad bounced back high to push Real Madrid to their limits after a not so good performance in the first leg. But the result at Bernabeau will definitely ensure that they can put their heads up and will be looking to go all out to get their hands on the silverware in form of the FA Cup. With Manchester City and Liverpool fighting for the Premier League trophy and also in contention to win the Champions League, Chelsea would love to nick off with the FA Cup and end their trophy lifting drought at Wembley.
Crystal Palace have never been crowned the Champions of FA Cup, only to lose twice in the finals, with the most recent of it being in 2016 against Manchester United. After a thrashing win against Everton in the last round, Crystal Palace enters the semi-finals against London rivals, Chelsea. Recently they got the better of another London rival in form of Arsenal as they registered a famous 3 to none victory against the Gunners. The injuries and denied request to Gallagher will be a major deciding factor in the tie but with just 2 steps away from lifting the trophy, Viera will give his best on Sunday.
In the last two matches this season, Chelsea have done the double over their rivals with both victories coming in two contrasting ways. While Chelsea were pretty convincing in the first win as they scored 3 past Palace, the second game was a well-fought game by Palace as Ziyech had to score a beautiful goal in the 89th minute to just escape a win. Palace will have a lot of goods to take from the later match, but Chelsea will fancy themselves as favourites after an aggregate of 4 to nil.
Chelsea’s very own boy was back in the headlines as he scored Chelsea’s opener in Madrid, which inspired the team to go all out and one point being the favourites to win the tie. This season, the youngster has been under scrutiny and under criticism for not living up to the expectations. But the player has been pretty underrated as the stats speak differently. The Englishman has 18 G/A in the Premier League itself, which puts him very high on the list in terms of goal contributions. A shift in position against Southampton, which allowed him to be in the favoured middle position behind two strikers has helped him to be back on the scoring sheet against Southampton and Real Madrid. The midfielder has been Chelsea’s go-to-man in big matches and to inspire a win in Wembley, the Englishman will have to be back on his toes.
The full-back has been the talk of the town in Madrid after an errorless performance against Real Madrid. Thomas Tuchel shifted the full-back as the third center-back so that he can go one on one against Vinicius Junior and the Englishman was up to the duty. He made some timely tackles and despite Vinicius having a great game, was very much neutralized by the Englishman. Praising the efforts, Benzema asked for a shirt-swap with Reece, just complimenting the performance. His absence due to injury is indeed the reason for Chelsea’s position in the league as many believe that if the full-back would have been fit, the Premier League race would have been a three-way affair. But back into reality, James can still inspire his team to lift the FA Cup. With Mitchell out, Reece James will look to rule on the right side and prove why he is one of the biggest prospects in England. Also, the last time Chelsea played Palace, Zaha was running riots on the right channel, and James will this time be available to counter the Ivory Coast attacker.
Chelsea predicted XI: Kepa; Azpilicueta, Silva, Rudiger; Reece, Jorginho, Kovacic, Alonso; Mount, Werner, Havertz.
Crystal Palace predicted XI: Guaita; Clyne, Andersen, Guehi, Ward; Kouyate, Schlupp,; Ayew, McArthur, Eze; Zaha.