Three things we learned from Chelsea - Man City as quadruple dream dies
The quadruple dream has ended for Manchester City, as Hakim Ziyech’s second-half goal boosted Chelsea into an FA Cup Final and gave Thomas Tuchel his first win over a Pep Guardiola-led side.
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Timo Werner cued up Ziyech’s 55th-minute goal and Kepa Arrizabalaga only needed two saves in an Impressive win for the Blues, who will tangle with the winner of Sunday’s semifinal between Southampton and Leicester City.
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Christian Pulisic came off the bench after two-straight starts and had a late insurance shot past USMNT teammate Steffen denied by the assistant referee’s flag.
Three things we learned from Chelsea - Man City
1. City slump, at least as far as City slumps, ends quadruple hopes: Man City’s last couple of weeks hasn’t been nearly as rough as its early-season slump, but it’s been pretty clear that the presumptive Premier League champions aren’t firing on all cylinders. Pep Guardiola opted for plenty of changes and the game had plenty of calcio to it, as Chelsea was content to wait for its chances.
City wasn’t great in either 2-1 wins over Borussia Dortmund and they fell 2-1 to 10-man Leeds United. That said, Guardiola clearly prioritized outlasting Dortmund rather than beating Chelsea to reach a final, and he’d probably make the same choice 100 times out of 100 and hope that the quality of Ferran Torres, Fernandinho, and Gabriel Jesus is enough to get the job done.
2. Mendy not at the races: In a game of who would blink first, Benjamin Mendy blinked twice. His first error helped Hakim Ziyech put a ball in the goal but either the Moroccan national teamer or Timo Werner was offside. Then came the goal that stood. Mason Mount slipped Werner down the left with a pass that Dias couldn’t divert, drawing Aymeric Laporte to the German. USMNT keeper Zack Steffen charged off his line to meet Werner and that meant Ziyech was alone because Mendy either slowed up or flat out couldn’t keep up with the winger.
3. De Bruyne injury further threatens City dreams: Maybe the quadruple never was the goal given City’s lineup on Saturday, but an apparent ankle injury threatens two of the other three trophies that City wants for its cabinet. KDB could miss next week’s League Cup Final versus Tottenham and the Champions League semifinal versus PSG begins in 11 days. All that said, City is 14-1-1 when De Bruyne does not play this season, including wins over Liverpool, Arsenal (x2), Tottenham, Marseille, Porto, and Borussia Monchengladbach.
Man of the Match: Mason Mount
It’s between Mount and Werner, and we’ll go with the midfielder who barely put a foot wrong in passing or duels, drawing three fouls and playing an instrumental role by beating Ruben Dias with a delightful pass.
Chelsea - Man City recap
Chelsea had the ball in the goal early through a City error and Timo Werner to Hakim Ziyech interplay, but the assistant referee’s flag went up as the ball went home.
Gabriel Jesus then stung a shot toward Kepa Arrizabalaga in the 10th minute.
An ongoing dispute between Fernandinho and Mason Mount came to a literal head when the Brazilian appeared to tread on the Chelsea man’s face.
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Chances were there, and Reece James raced past an unware Benjamin Mendy to set up a huge cross that Ben Chilwell flubbed at the back post.
Steffen won’t like his work on Chelsea’s goal, but he’d limit the damage shortly after City went down 1-0.
A dangerous chance for Man City in the 84th was sent screaming over the goal and into the upper reaches of Wembley by Raheem Sterling as Rodri strode toward the loose ball from a more promising position.