Chelsea will hope to put the disappointment of losing in the quarter-finals of the Champions League to Real Madrid by overcoming Crystal Palace in the last four of the FA Cup.
Thomas Tuchel side’s only hope of a silverware this season lies in the FA Cup. They are 12 points and 11 points behind Manchester City and Liverpool respectively in the Premier League table.
They lost on penalties to Liverpool in the final of the Carabao Cup, before painfully exiting the Champions League despite a spirited display at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Attention now shift to the FA Cup and standing in their way for a final showdown with Liverpool, is fellow London club Crystal Palace who they have not beaten in the competition in 51 years.
Sunday’s semi-final between Chelsea and Palace will be their seventh meeting in the oldest cup competition in the world.
While Palace has triumphed on three occasions, Chelsea on their part have managed two victories with one game ending in a draw.
And the last time Chelsea beat Palace in the FA Cup was in the replay of the third round tie in 1971, where they sealed a 2-0 home win after the first encounter ended 2-2.
Their last meeting in the competition was in the fifth round in 1976 which saw Palace progress after a 3-2 win.
Recall Chelsea featured in last season’s final which they lost 1-0 to Leicester thanks to a Youri Tieleman’s wonder strike.
And for Palace they will hope to make a third ever appearance in the FA Cup final. Their two other appearances in 1990 and 2016 saw them lose to Manchester United on both occasions.
And on the injury front, Chelsea’s left-hand side remains slightly depleted in the absences of Ben Chilwelland Callum Hudson-Odoi – the latter of whom could now take weeks to recover from an Achilles issue – while Romelu Lukaku is dealing with pain in the same area.
Blues skipper Cesar Azpilicueta made a rapid recovery from COVID-19 to make the bench at the Bernabeu and could now force his way back into the side over Ruben Loftus-Cheek, and Timo Werner could be preferred in attack after two strong showings domestically and in Europe.
Meanwhile, Palace will not have Conor Gallagher at their disposal this weekend after the midfielder’s parent club declined a request to allow him to play in the semi-final, and his spot ought to be filled by James McArthur.
Left-back Tyrick Mitchell had to be taken off with a calf injury in the loss to Leicester but is expected to shake off the issue in time to start at Wembley, while Michael Olise has a strong chance of recovering from his foot problem in time to make the squad as well.
Should Will Hughes be able to return from a knock, Nathan Ferguson will be the Eagles’ only injury absentee for the semi-final, but Vieira may avoid risking Olise from the first whistle while a fully-fit Jordan Ayew is raring to go.
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