It was a tense affair at the home of football as in form heavyweights Manchester City and Chelsea battled for a place in the FA Cup Final. Despite City running away in the league this season, Chelsea have been a different side since Thomas Tuchel arrived in January, and they proved that at Wembley.
From the off it was Chelsea who looked better, their strategy to use the space in behind, left City vulnerable and a first half chance from Ben Chilwell was a clear sign of what was coming.
Early in the second half, Hakim Ziyech netted what would turn out to be the winner with an easy tap into an open net after a cutback from Timo Werner.
While the Citizens attempted to get back one back, it wasn’t to be, and last seasons runner ups ended City’s chance of a quadruple.
One game too far
Despite the depth that City possess there’s no doubt that the gruelling schedule of three games per week has taken its toll. Whilst Chelsea also battled it out in Europe, City had a much harder challenge on their hands having to overcome a strong Borussia Dortmund side in mid-week.
Pep Guardiola had no choice but to rotate, and when teams were announced they had the weaker of the two starting elevens. Their performance lacked energy with Raheem Sterling yet again failing to hit top form, coupled with an injury to star man Kevin De Bruyne.
It’s a semifinal that City fans will want to forget, and they will hope that when returning to Wembley next weekend to face Tottenham Hotspur in the League Cup final the outcome will be much better.
Despite the defeat, they still have a great chance at winning three trophies which just shows how successful their campaign has been. The big one is the Champions League and only winning that will put this season ahead of those recently where they have achieved greater domestic success.
On the other hand, Chelsea are a team that have been transformed by their new manager. Eyebrows were raised when Frank Lampard was sacked earlier in the season, but given how well they have performed since then, it seems like it was the right decision.
It was always going to be a huge week for the club and progression in both the Champions League and the FA Cup has left them in a great position to win silverware.
They showed much more determination from the first whistle and the organisation of the defence allowed them to hold on to win 1-0.
The irony of their record at the back was shown when Tuchel told BBC Sport how they have only spent around 10 percent of their time training defensively due to his attacking philosophy.
If they have a good summer, then it’s likely they will be a side challenging next season.
The Citizens continue their league campaign against Aston Villa on Wednesday with 11 points needed at this stage to secure the title. This then leads into the cup final next Sunday against Spurs.
Chelsea also play in midweek, facing Brighton on Tuesday with victory sending them into the top four. They may have one eye on the Champions League semi final in just over a week but securing their qualification for next seasons edition of the competition will be the priority.
Both sides face each other again in the Premier League next month, but the prospect of an all-English Champions League final is what people are really hoping for.