Chelsea will take on Manchester City in the first semi-final of the FA Cup 2021 at the Wembley Stadium on Saturday night.
Chelsea will take on Manchester City in an FA Cup semi-final clash at Wembley Stadium on Saturday. Both teams are coming to Wembley after tasting success in their respective Champions League quarterfinals. Chelsea beat Porto 2-1 on aggregate to book a spot in the Champions League semi-finals. Meanwhile, City came from behind to beat Borussia Dortmund 2-1 in the second leg of the quarterfinals. However, both teams have injury issues. Chelsea will be without two dependable performers in Mateo Kovacic and Andreas Christensen. On the other hand, City have confirmed that Sergio Aguero is not available for selection.
In terms of league form, the two teams are chalk and cheese. Man City are well on top of the Premier League points table with 74 points. Chelsea are twenty points behind them in the fifth position.
Blues boss Thomas Tuchel was full of praise for his Spanish counterpart ahead of the FA Cup semi-final clash. Tuchel is looking for his first managerial win against Pep Guardiola.
“He had a huge influence on me because when he was coach at Barcelona, I didn’t have the chance to know him personally, but I was watching almost every game,” Tuchel said.
“I was very impressed by the way they made success happen, by the style they were playing, all the academy guys, the offensive ball possession. What was maybe most impressive about this team was the mentality and how they defended when they lost the ball.
“I learned a lot watching the games, in understanding more of the game, how adventurous and how brave you can approach this game. So it was a big, big lesson. At this time, I was coaching the academy then becoming a coach at Mainz.
“So almost every match was a lesson in these days, and then later we had the opportunity to play against him, it was not always a pleasure. When you arrive on a certain level, it is, of course is a pleasure to play against him and to meet him at the highest level.
The German coach admits that there is a gap between his team and the opposition. He is looking to win his first title with Chelsea after taking charge of the team in the mid-season.
“We have to accept that there is a gap between Manchester City and us. If you look at the fixture in the Premier League and the fixtures in the last years, we have to accept this. It’s important that we accept this without making ourselves too small.
“So from next year on, from day one of next season, we will hunt them, we will try to close the gap between us. This is the benchmark. For me, in Europe, two teams are the benchmark and that’s Bayern Munich and Manchester City.”
Tuchel and Pep Guardiola have faced-off against each other on a number of occasions in the Bundesliga. Pep was at Bayern Munich at the time, and Tuchel at Borussia Dortmund.
Both the managers have admitted that the players are bit tired after their mid-week Champions League games.
N’Golo Kante has made it to the squad after he was doubtful because of his excess workload in the mid-week fixture against Porto. Kante played 90minutes to take his team through.
Man City have all the players available for selection except Sergio Aguero.
Chelsea will be looking to make into their 15th FA Cup final.