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Chelsea 2-0 Crystal Palace: 5 talking points as Blues sail into the final | 2021-22 FA Cup

Chelsea overcame a poor first-half performance to beat Crystal Palace 2-0 in the semi-finals of this year’s FA Cup at Wembley Stadium on Sunday (17 April). Goals from Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Mason Mount helped the Blues book a meeting with Liverpool for the summit clash on 14 May.

It wasn’t a vintage display from Thomas Tuchel’s side, though, as they were frustrated by Patrick Viera’s Crystal Palace for long stretches of the game. The Blues’ lackluster showing wasn’t a surprise considering they played 120 minutes in their UEFA Champions League clash against Real Madrid just five days ago.

A clinical second half display from Chelsea helped them break down a stubborn Crystal Palace side

The first half was a dull affair as Chelsea struggled to cope with Crystal Palace’s size and strength. There were no goals to speak of in the first 45 minutes but Tuchel’s men upped the ante in the second half and scored twice in just over ten minutes. Loftus-Cheek returned to haunt his former side with a well-taken strike before Mount doubled Chelsea’s advantage.

The Blues were the better team on the night and finished with 67 percent of possession and 12 attempts, while Palace could only put two of their six shots on target.

On that note, here are five talking points from Sunday afternoon’s game at Wembley.


#5 Crystal Palace’s physicality caused Chelsea all sorts of trouble in the first-half

Jean-Philippe Mateta (C) vies with Reece James (yellow)
Jean-Philippe Mateta (C) vies with Reece James (yellow)

Despite dominating possession in the opening 45 minutes, the Blues faced all sorts of trouble at both ends of the pitch thanks to Crystal Palace’s tough approach. In the absence of a traditional centre-forward, Mount, Kai Havertz and Timo Werner struggled against Cheikou Kouyate, Jeffrey Schlupp, Marc Guehi and Joachim Andersen.

Jean-Philippe Mateta and Wilfried Zaha kept Chelsea‘s defenders busy with their runs, while James McArthur snapped into tackles in the middle of the park. Crystal Palace would have been the happier side heading into the interval.


#4 Ruben Loftus-Cheek ensured Mateo Kovacic’s injury did not hurt the Blues

Ruben Loftus-Cheek opened the scoring with an excellent goal
Ruben Loftus-Cheek opened the scoring with an excellent goal

Croatian star Mateo Kovacic, who has been one of Chelsea‘s best players this season, was forced off in the 26th minute with what looked to be an ankle issue. He was replaced by English midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who spent the 2017-18 season on loan at Crystal Palace, making 25 appearances.

Loftus-Cheek has long been accused of lacking the work ethic and mentality needed to make full use of his excellent physical traits and on-ball ability. However, he stepped up when his boyhood club needed him, scoring the opener in the 65th minute with a terrific strike.

Kai Havertz drove into the box before having his cut-back blocked, which resulted in the ball falling to Loftus-Cheek just inside the box. The Englishman met it on the bounce to score a sweetly struck half-volley.


#3 Timo Werner continues his good run of form

Timo Werner (R) celebrates with Reece James (L)
Timo Werner (R) celebrates with Reece James (L)

Timo Werner has endured a difficult time in London since his £48 million move from RB Leipzig two years ago. However, the German forward is currently enjoying his best spell in a Chelsea shirt and was named ‘Man of the Match’ against Crystal Palace on Sunday.

After netting against Southampton and Real Madrid while also registering an assist, he was involved in a goal for the third straight game. Werner assisted Mason Mount’s fine strike in 76th minute as the Blues doubled their lead.

Timo Werner created more chances (4) and more big chances (2) than any other player against Crystal Palace. He also provided the assist for Mason Mount. 🅰️#EmiratesFACup https://t.co/xS17wadqYf

While Havertz was poor, Werner never stopped running and looked lively while drifting across the front line. He should have had another assist late in the game after putting it on the plate for Romelu Lukaku, but the Belgian could only hit the post from a few yards out.


#2 Patrick Viera and Crystal Palace’s change in tactics after the half-time break was baffling

Crystal Palace boss Patrick Viera applauds the fans at full-time
Crystal Palace boss Patrick Viera applauds the fans at full-time

Arsenal legend Patrick Viera has undoubtedly done a stunning job since taking over from Roy Hodgson as Crystal Palace boss at the start of the season. Under his tutelage, the Eagles have done well against the division’s top sides, registering wins over Manchester City and Arsenal.

Viera got his tactics spot on in the opening 45 minutes, yet curiously decided to change his team’s approach after the interval. Palace appeared content to sit deep in the second half and allowed Chelsea to come at them. This was in stark contrast to the opening half, where the Eagles were full of runs and launched attacks of their own.

As the Blues pushed Palace deeper into their own box, a goal seemed inevitable and it wasn’t a surprise when Loftus-Cheek broke the deadlock in the 65th minute.


#1 Mason Mount scored in a third consecutive game for the first time in his Chelsea career

Mason Mount continued his excellent run of form
Mason Mount continued his excellent run of form

England midfielder Mason Mount is having a sensational season for the Blues and was in the thick of things yet again on Sunday. His strike against Crystal Palace was Mount’s sixth goal involvement in three games. The goal also meant that the Cobham graduate found the net in a third straight fixture for the first time in his Blues tenure.

Mason Mount this season:- 26 goals + assists- Goal in FA Cup semi-final- Assist in League Cup semi-final- 3 G+A in CL knockouts- 4 G+A vs the current top 7 in the PLAmazing season. https://t.co/5JeAUwYn6Z

The 23-year-old has now had over 25 goal involvements this season (12 goals and 14 assists) and has cemented his status as Chelsea‘s primary attacking threat.




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