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Either the Blues or the Cityzens has to give up their hopes of a double this season when the two face each other in a mouth-watering FA Cup semi-final clash at Wembley Stadium this Saturday.
The two sides have already booked their spot in the 2020/21 UEFA Champions League semi-final. Thomas Tuchel’s side eliminated FC Porto (2-1 aggregate) and face Real Madrid next round. City overcame Borussia Dortmund (4-2 aggregate) – will play PSG in the other last four fixture.
The Citizens, however, already have a final waiting for them, against Tottenham in the Carabao League Cup final next weekend and are almost on the cusp of lifting the Premier League trophy. So, for them, this is an excellent opportunity to stage a dress rehearsal for all the upcoming tournament deciders.
Earlier this week, Riyad Mahrez and Phil Foden saved City from yet another miserable quarter-final loss, with the latter repeating his first-leg heroics with an absolute belter from outside the area. Even though Pep Guardiola has shot down the dreams of a quadruple, his players will be eyeing to win everything they possibly can with confidence sky-high. An insurmountable lead in the Premier League table with 11-points and just six games left to play, the charismatic Catalan coach would love to reach another final, increasing their chances to add another trophy.
As for the Blues, they can spoil City’s party with a sweet chance of reaching the finals twice in a row. Since joining the Londoners, Tuchel has changed the tide in favour of his team and might help Chelsea win silverware after a rocky mid-season performance. The German is already famous among the Chelsea faithful with his free-flowing attacking football along with a solid defensive unit. Still, there’s work to be done in the league, with the club sitting at the fifth spot, one point behind a rejuvenated West Ham United.
A victory against Man City will help them reach their fourth final in five seasons in the world’s oldest cup competition.
Christian Pulisic: The American’s season started in a frustrating manner mainly due to injuries, but in recent weeks, he has started to prove his presence in the starting eleven. And with some man of the match performances in the last few games, the 22-year-old is now one of Tuchel’s first choice attackers. The partnership between him, Kai Havertz and Mason Mount promised glimpses of a quality attacking threat brewing at the Bridge. Since the international break, the former Dortmund winger netted three times from eight shots, averaging 2.88 shots per ninety minutes. So, there’s no reason Chelsea should overlook his contribution for the remainder of the season.
When Tuchel was named as Lampard’s replacement in January, Chelsea fans were worried about Mason Mount’s future, given his regular role under Lampard. But like great players, Mount rose to the challenge and has become further productive in the final third under his new boss. The Englishman is involved in frequent final passes has increased his expected goals ratio from 0.43 to 0.65 per 90 minutes. With Pulisic and Havertz upfront, Mount has been establishing himself as one of the gamechanger for his side.
Phil Foden is enjoying his best form for his childhood club after two vital goals against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League quarter-final. Hailed by his boss as one of the generational talents of English football, Foden had to wait long enough for opportunities before exploding into the scene this season. The 20-year-old has been one of the juggernauts for his side, playing every single game in the FA Cup so far, with three starts in four games. He also played 90 minutes in three of four League Cup games, while in the Champions League, Foden has started all but one of Man City’s fixtures. Thus, Guardiola will be hoping that he carries on performing consistently beyond the FA Cup semis.
In the last few seasons, Kevin De Bruyne has been sensational in City’s success. Although the Belgian scored just five times this season, assisting 11 more, his importance at the Etihad is undoubtedly significant on his team’s quadruple adventure. It’s simple – City dominate when De Bruyne performs well. And the 29-year-old will continue to do so for a while after signing a new four-year contract, which made him the highest-paid player in the Premier League.
Even though Chelsea have booked a place in the semis, both in the FA Cup and the Champions League, their dogged defence has been questioned with two straight home defeats (WBA and Porto) and just one clean sheet in four games. It might not be a panicking situation currently, but Tuchel must organize his defence before facing City’s formidable attacking threats.
Manchester City enjoyed easy victories over Birmingham City, Cheltenham Town, Swansea City and Everton, on their way to the semis – scoring at least twice in all four of those games. Hence, Guardiola’s men are favourites to qualify for the final on Saturday.
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