Chelsea v Crystal Palace: FA Cup semi-final – live! | FA Cup


11 minutes Kovacic runs dangerously to the edge of the D but then briefs. Chelsea are starting to dominate possession.


10 minutes Mount’s cross-shot from the left bounces awkwardly in front of Butland, who nevertheless holds on comfortably.


9 minutes Patrick Vieira will be pleased with this start. Palace have looked comfortable, with no sign of any big-match nerves.


7 minutes Zaha turns James near the halfway line and reverses a good pass towards Mateta, who almost gets the wrong side of the last man Christensen. In the end Christensen recovers to poke the ball back to Mendy.


5 minutes Actually, Chelsea are playing with Reece James as the right-sided centre-back and Azpilicueta at wing-back. That might be because Wilfried Zaha is playing up front for Palace; James has always done well against him.


4 minutes A bitty start to the game, including a brief break in play while some balloons are cleared from the pitch.

Crystal Palace's Eberechi Eze in action with Chelsea's Mateo Kovacic.
Crystal Palace’s Eberechi Eze in action with Chelsea’s Mateo Kovacic. Photograph: David Klein/Reuters


2 minutes Palace’s formation is 3-3-2-2, as below. Chelsea are playing 3-4-1-2, as expected.

Crystal Palace Butland; Kouyate, Andersen, Guehi; Ward, McArthur, Mitchell; Eze, Schlupp; Zaha, Mateta.


1 minute peep peep! Palace, wearing their red and blue home strip, kick off from left to right. Chelsea are in their stylish yellow away kit. And it does indeed look like a back three for Palace.


The players walk out of the tunnel into the Wembley sunshine. It’s a gorgeous day in north west London.

Chelsea Manager Thomas Tuchel, embraces Patrick Vieira, Manager of Crystal Palace.
Chelsea Manager Thomas Tuchel, embraces Patrick Vieira, Manager of Crystal Palace. Photograph: Michael Regan/The FA/Getty Images


A question for Palace fans

Can you recommend a book about the club’s glory years under Steve Coppell and Alan Smith? And, if not, could one of you please write it?


A reminder of the teams

There is some speculation that Palace will also play a back three, with Cheikhou Kouyate dropping into the defence. We’ll find out soon.

Chelsea (possible 3-4-1-2) mendy; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger; James, Jorginho, Kovacic, Alonso; mount; Havertz, Werner.
Substitutes: Arrizabalaga, Thiago Silva, Sarr, Kante, Loftus-Cheek, Saul, Pulisic, Ziyech, Lukaku.

Crystal Palace (possible 4-3-3) Butland; Ward, Andersen, Guehi, Mitchell; McArthur, Kouyate, Schlupp; Zaha, Mateta, Eze.
Substitutes: Guaita, Clyne, Kelly, Tomkins, Milivojevic, Olise, Ayew, Edouard, Benteke.

Referee Anthony Taylor.


“I thought Palace had done well to keep it at 0-0,” says Ian Copestake, “but then realized it hadn’t started yet.”


Thomas Tuchel’s pre-match thoughts

“It’s good [to have another big game straight after the Real Madrid defeat], as it automatically sharpens your mind and your focus. Being here at Wembley is the right occasion to turn things round. [Romelu Lukaku] is not fit enough to play 90 minutes, he’s not fit enough for the intensity of our game. He’s had an injury so his match fitness is not there; otherwise there was a big chance he would have started today.

“We’re in good shape. We’ve had two very good performances in our last two games. They’re a very energetic team, nice to watch, with a lot of individual quality and speed up front. It’s a difficult team and a big occasion.”


Patrick Vieira’s pre-match thoughts

“It’s wonderful to be here. It’s a big day for the football club – the fans, the players, the staff – and we want to enjoy it. The best way to do that is to perform as well as we can. I was really happy with the way [Eze] played against Leicester. He may not give us the runs that Conor does but he’s really good on the ball; he can create chances, he can dribble. I expect him to do well today.

“It’s about performing as a team. We know how good they are but we have the tools to make it difficult for them. We need to enjoy the occasion.”


This is a really interesting piece on the guy behind the guy at Palace


Team news

Three changes from Chelsea from their 3-2 victory/5-4 defeat in Madrid. Cesar Azpilicueta, Jorginho and Andreas Christensen replace Ruben Loftus-Cheek, N’Golo Kante and Thiago Silva.

Patrick Vieira makes four changes to the Palace team that lost 2-1 at Leicester last weekend. Jack Butland, Joel Ward, James McArthur and Eberechi Eze come in for Vicente Guaita, Nathaniel Clyne, the ineligible Conor Gallagher and Jordan Ayew. McArthur also captains the side.



Hello and welcome to live coverage of the FA Cup semi-final between Chelsea and Crystal Palace at Wembley. There are two ways this can go – the familiar tale or the fairytale. Chelsea are hoping to reach their 11th FA Cup final since the turn of the century; Palace are aiming for the third FA Cup final in their entire history.

Palace will be without the infectious Conor Gallagher, whose parent won’t let him out to play tonight. Oh and they’ve lost their last nine games against Chelsea. But for all my frankly inappropriate doom and gloom, Palace will fancy their chances of an upset. They are in good form, have troubled a number of big clubs this season and have an outside chance of their highest league finish since the glorious 1990-91 campaign. An FA Cup final appearance would cap a superb first season under Patrick Vieira.

Chelsea want a repeat of the Carabao Cup final against Liverpool, ideally without Kepa spanking the decisive penalty halfway to Harlesden. They can still do a treble of sorts – the Club World Cup, the Super Cup and the FA Cup would be a decent return, especially given their off-field problems.

Palace will hope that Chelsea’s emotional Champions League defeat to Real Madrid has taken a lot out of them. We’ll find out soon enough.

kick off 4.30pm BST.

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