Hakim Ziyech scored the only goal of the game as Chelsea defeated Manchester City 1-0 to go through to the finals of the 2020/21 FA Cup.
Chelsea made a bright start to the game against Manchester City and had the ball in the back of the net just six minutes in through Hakim Ziyech. However, the goal was chalked off as Timo Werner was offside in build-up. Ben Chilwell then had a fine chance to break the deadlock, but fired his effort wide. The Cityzens had one half-chance late in the first half from which Fernandinho headed wide.
After an underwhelming first half, things got worse for Pep Guardiola’s side as star man Kevin De Bruyne picked up an injury and had to be taken off just three minutes after the restart. And soon after, Ziyech managed to open the scoring, firing the ball into an empty net after some fine work by Werner. The Moroccan should have made it 2-0 immediately after, but fired a weak effort right at Zack Steffen.
Manchester City pushed in search of an equaliser as Ruben Dias headed over the bar from a good position while Rodri had a shot saved. Chelsea seemed to have won it in stoppage time when Christian Pulisic scored but it was ruled out for offside. Immediately after, Kepa Arrizabalaga parried away another effort from Rodri to protect his side’s lead and send them through to the finals.
With the result, Manchester City’s hopes of an unprecedented quadruple came crashing down while Chelsea fans will be dreaming of a Champions League and FA Cup double like the one they achieved in 2011/12. Here’s how we rated the performances of both sets of players on Saturday at Wembley.
Kepa Arrizabalaga: 6/10
Had very little to do on the evening, but was alert when needed to be, stopping Gabriel Jesus in the first period then making an important stop to deny Rodri in stoppage time. Showed good command inside his box.
Cesar Azpilicueta: 7/10
An early mistake which led to the chance for Jesus aside, the Chelsea captain was absolutely rock-solid, never letting Jesus or Raheem Sterling get a sniff at the goal. Finished with six clearances, one interception and three tackles won.
Thiago Silva: 8/10
A colossal display from the veteran Brazilian despite seemingly playing with a back issue. Solid positioning, kept things tight and organised at the back and was calm and composed on the ball, completing all of his 44 attempted passes. Made a joint game-high two interceptions and seven clearances – the most by any player on the evening. Thomas Tuchel will be hoping his late injury is nothing serious.
Thiago Silva's game by numbers vs. Man City:
100% aerials won
100% passing accuracy
44/44 passes completed
6 clearances (most)
1 clean sheet
Thiago '100%' Silva. pic.twitter.com/3Wq0zvUWR9
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) April 17, 2021
Antonio Rudiger: 7/10
Does not always get credit for the way he has turn things around, but it was another steady and solid display from Rudiger, who shut down whatever attack came down his side with relative ease. Maintained good positional discipline and used the ball well too.
Reece James: 7/10
A lively start to the game saw James create a fine goalscoring chance for Chilwell, which he spurned. Continued to provide a good attacking outlet. More reserved as the game wore on and did a largely solid job defensively to help Chelsea protect their narrow lead.
N’Golo Kante: 7.5/10
Seems to be getting fitter by the day as he covered every blade of grass at Wembley, pressing the City players, denying them spaces and cutting out attacks. Also made a few penetrative driving runs forward which helped relieve pressure. Needed to be more accurate with his distribution, though, (74% pass success-rate). Nevertheless, an energetic display in which he also played one key pass.
Jorginho vs. Man City
92% Pass accuracy
2/4 Accurate long passes
10/16 Duels won
On days like today, when possession must be clever and the ball must be used correctly, when the margins for error are tiny, safety first ball conductors like Jorginho stand out. pic.twitter.com/hoYMrWBHP4
— The Tactical Times (@Tactical_Times) April 17, 2021
Building on his impressive performance against Porto earlier in the week, the Italian not only offered quality on the ball but was not afraid to get stuck in and get his hands dirty in the middle of the park. Attempted (6) and completed (4) the joint-highest number of tackles, misplaced just five of his 65 passes. Always showed up to receive the ball from his teammates.
Ben Chilwell: 7.5/10
Should have done better with an early chance after being found by James. Continued to take up good positions on the left flank at the same time being responsible defensively. Fine pass to create a chance for Ziyech which he missed. Made two key passes and three dribbles.
Hakim Ziyech: 8/10
A surprise starter, given the form that Christian Pulisic had been in of late. But, Ziyech looked in the mood from the get-go, scoring just six minutes in, although the goal was ruled out. Was involved in the build-up to Chilwell’s chance soon after and played some piercing forward passes. Broke the deadlock ten minutes after the break but should have done better with a chance soon after. Nevertheless, a match-winning display by the 28-year-old.
Hakim Ziyech has now scored in each of his last two #FACup games for Chelsea:
⚽️ vs. Sheffield United
⚽️ vs. Man City
Advantage Chelsea. pic.twitter.com/ydfbDMFuv3
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) April 17, 2021
Mason Mount: 7.5/10
Caused Fernandinho so many problems with his quick feet and movement throughout his time on the pitch. Played a good ball in the build-up to the only goal of the game. Taken off with twenty minutes left.
Timo Werner: 7.5/10
Looked a threat each time he tried to run in behind the City defence. Good move to set Ziyech up early in the game but had strayed offside. Was not able to influence the game much in the rest of the first half, but made another fine run before squaring the ball for Ziyech to open the scoring. Should have made it 2-0 but sent a tame effort right at the goalkeeper just before he was taken off. Has 12 assists for the season now.
Christian Pulisic: 6/10
Replaced Mount for the final twenty minutes. Looked bright, scored a brilliant goal only to see it get chalked off for offside.
Kai Havertz: N/A
On for Werner in the 79th minute.
Emerson Palmieri: N/A
Replaced Ziyech for the last ten minutes or so as Tuchel looked to add more bodies at the back.
Kurt Zouma: N/A
Late substitute for the injured Silva.
Zack Steffen: 5/10
Zack Steffen remains far from convincing for me as a lock down #1 starter for 🇺🇸. I hope there is still a competition for that role.pic.twitter.com/HgrQu0wQ3J
— Maximiliano Bretos (@MaxBretosSports) April 17, 2021
At fault for the goal as he initially rushed off his line then tracked back only to get caught in no man’s land. Did make a good save to deny Ziyech soon after but the damage was done.
Joao Cancelo: 5/10
Nowhere near his form from the first half of the season. Offered little in attack as he failed to create a single chance. Was suspect defensively as well, leaving spaces open for the likes of Chilwell and Werner to make the most of.
Ruben Dias: 5/10
An uncharacteristically sloppy display from Manchester City’s rock at the back. Caught out of position for the goal then misjudged a pass from Chilwell allowing Ziyech to get in on goal, although the Moroccan missed. Could have equalised but headed over the bar from a promising position.
Aymeric Laporte: 6/10
Getting the nod ahead of John Stones for the big game, the Frenchman was solid for the most part, shutting down whatever attacks came down his side. Not at fault for the goal either.
Benjamin Mendy: 5/10
Tried to get forward but did not offer anything in terms of quality deliver. His forays also meant that there were vacant spaces that James tried to exploit regularly, leaving Laporte to do more heavy-lifting at the back.
Tried hard to make things happen when on the ball, playing some good-looking, progressive passes. Steady as always in his defensive duties. Offered a great threat in set-piece situations and drew a couple of saves from Kepa in the second half. Finished with two key passes, three tackles and three dribbles won.
Did Fernandinho get away with one here? 👀 pic.twitter.com/kzB0l85ouu
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) April 17, 2021
Surprise starter on the evening, the Brazilian found it hard to cope with the sharp movement of Mount and ended up fouling him on quite a few occasions. In a game where City were always going to need creativity and guile to open up a Chelsea stubborn defence, he was never the right man to start. Booked. Lucky to have stayed on the pitch.
Ferran Torres: 4/10
Has fizzled off quite a bit after his bright start to life with Manchester City. Hardly involved in anything dangerous in and around the Chelsea penalty box. Made way for Ilkay Gundogan.
Kevin De Bruyne: 5/10
Played a couple of key passes but was a largely quiet presence in the first period. Had to be withdrawn early in the second period with an injury. With so many important games coming up Guardiola will be hoping that it is nothing too serious.
Kevin De Bruyne leaves the FA Cup semifinal with an injury. pic.twitter.com/GlRMnMPb1N
— B/R Football (@brfootball) April 17, 2021
Raheem Sterling: 4/10
A stinker from the England international. Nothing he tried came off on the evening as he failed to carry any sort of attacking threat. Missed a fine chance late in the game. Poor.
Gabriel Jesus: 5/10
Drew a save from Kepa early in the game but that was as good as it got for him. Still, worked hard at the top but to no avail. Highlights why Manchester City need a proper, prolific goalscorer to replace Sergio Aguero.
Phil Foden: 6.5/10
Replaced the injured De Bruyne early in the second half. Looked bright and created a couple of chances.
Ilkay Gundogan: 6/10
On for Ferran Torres in the 64th minute. Tried to up the ante after coming on but couldn’t force a comeback.