Chelsea FC preserved their last chance of winning the title this season as they beat a harmless Crystal Palace to progress to the FA Cup final – where Liverpool FC await
Blues coach Thomas Tuchel made three changes to his starting line-up after the 3-2 win at Real Madrid, which was not enough to progress in the Champions League: Christensen, Azpilicueta and Jorginho started for Thiago Silva, Kanté and Loftus-Cheek.
His opposite number Patrick Vieira made four changes for Crystal Palace compared to the 2-1 defeat at Leicester, with cup-tied keeper Butland coming on for Guaita, Ward and Eze replacing Clyne and Ayew. In addition, McArthur started for Gallagher, who was not allowed to play against his parent club as a Chelsea loanee due to a contractual clause.
Weak first half ends goalless
In a tough game, both teams felt each other out for a long time. Chelsea were dominant overall, but the circulation of the ball looked largely pomaded. Accordingly, the Eagles had little problem in stifling Chelsea’s slow and uninspired attacking efforts – and even created the best chance of a very weak first half through Kouyaté (36th).
The game changed little after the break. Chelsea remained superior, but completely harmless. After a second good chance for Kouyaté (61st), the favourites took the lead: After winning the ball, Havertz received a cross from the right that was perfectly deflected for Loftus-Cheek, who did not have to ask long and scored with a direct shot (65.).
Werner also sets up a goal
In the aftermath, Palace made a number of attacking changes but found themselves in even more trouble just over ten minutes later when Mount added the second goal from Werner’s pass (76th). The Eagles almost came back immediately just two minutes later, but Andersen missed the only chance to tie the game from point-blank range when completely unmarked.
With Chelsea also missing a great double chance through Lukaku and Ziyech in the final minutes (90th), it remained 2-0 and the favourites progressed to the FA Cup final against Liverpool FC on 14 May.
The Blues will face Arsenal FC on Wednesday, while Palace take on Newcastle at the same time.