Sunday, December 10

Chelsea vs. Crystal Palace result, highlights and analysis: Loftus-Cheek and Mount set up Liverpool showdown

Goals from Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Mason Mount after half-time gave Chelsea a 2-0 FA Cup semi-final win over Crystal Palace.

Thomas Tuchel’s side did not make much of an impression on the Eagles’ defence in the first half at Wembley Stadium on Sunday and lost Mateo Kovacic to injury. 

But it was Kovacic’s replacement Loftus-Cheek who clattered home a fine finish after the hour to break the deadlock before Mount slotted home to set up a final showdown with quadruple-chasing Liverpool.

Chelsea probed fruitlessly during the opening quarter of the match, with their hopes of unpicking a disciplined Palace compromised by Kovacic hobbling off with a twisted ankle.

Palace went the closest of the two teams before the break, with Edouard Mendy getting down superbly to keep out a rasping Cheikhou Kouyate strike, while Kai Havertz’s booking for a fairly pathetic piece of simulation underlined Chelsea’s levels of frustration.

Kouyate missed out again after the hour when he miscued a header from Eberechi Eze’s corner. Palace would rue that moment as Tuchel’s men hit the front in emphatic fashion.

Havertz got into a threatening position down the right-hand side of the Palace box. The danger was only cleared as far as Loftus-Cheek, who lashed an excellent finish into the top corner.

If the opener was about power, the clincher from Mount was all finesse. Man-of-the-match Timo Werner fed the England forward, who smoothly touched the ball away from Joachim Andersen and slotted beyond Jack Butland.

Andersen missed a glorious chance to reduce the arrears but somehow headed over at the back post when Christian Benteke flicked on a corner from fellow substitute Michael Olise.

Tuchel rattled through his substitutions late on and Romelu Lukaku, who was not fit enough to start, should have made it 3-0 but hit the post from close range after more fine work from Werner.

READ MORE: Why can’t Conor Gallagher play in the FA Cup semi-final? What is his future for Chelsea and England?

Mase on the money again

Game by game, Mount’s doubters dwindle. In fact, if any remain now, they probably just aren’t paying attention. The game-sealing goal was a moment of understated quality and assurance from a man who is fast becoming Chelsea’s most reliable big-game performer. He was excellent against Real Madrid too and now has four goals in his past three outings. Remember Frank Lampard’s “teacher’s pet” who didn’t score or assist enough? Turns out it’s the same guy!

Nice little Werner

When Werner’s man of the match gong was announced over the Wembley speakers, the roars from the Chelsea end were heartening. The Germany international has been through the mill at times in England, seemingly finding ever-more elaborate ways of missing close-range chances. He was almost Chesea’s Madrid hero when he put them 3-0 ahead in midweek and it’s hard to escape the impression Tuchel’s side are a far more dynamic and threatening proposition when he is in it.

Werner’s teammates piled forward in the closing minutes to try and find a third but when they were up against it, he was the man who took the fight to Palace. Over the course of the 90 minutes, Werner made four key passes, with no other Chelsea player completing more than one.

Chelsea confronted by familiar hurdle

Next month’s game will be Chelsea’s fifth final appearance in six seasons, with Manchester City’s 6-0 win over Watford in 2019 the only outlier in this period. However, winning the final has tended to prove far more tricky than getting there. Antonio Conte signed off with a final win over Manchester United in 2018, but Arsenal denied his Chelsea the double 12 months earlier. The Gunners also won an all-London final in 2020 and Leicester City upset the odds last time around.

Chelsea vs. Crystal Palace live score

  1H 2H Final
CHE 0 2 2
PAL 0 0 0


Chelsea: Loftus-Cheek — 65th min.

Chelsea: Mount (Werner)  — 76th min.

Chelsea vs. Crystal live updates, highlights from the FA Cup semi-final

Full-time: That’s that, Chelsea are back in the FA Cup final after goals from Loftus-Cheek and Mount set up a repeat of this season’s Carabao Cup final against quadruple-chasing Liverpool. Palace made them work very hard for that indeed, but the class of Thomas Tuchel’s men told in the end — a perfect tonic to their midweek heartache in Madrid.

91st minute: Rudiger apparently feels better as he romps down the left and latches on to some combination play from Werner and Ziyech to have a shot blocked. He limps away. You’re fooling no one, pal.

90th minute: That should be Werner’s second assist of the game — he darts through a flagging Palace backline and his cutback finds Lukaku. It should be a simple finish but the substitute hits the post and Ziyech can’t convert the follow-up.

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89th minute: Werner named man of the match, which is fair enough. Plenty of his teammates looking good now the sun is shining, but when Palace were making life difficult for Chelsea the Germany forward never took a backwards set.

That announcement is prepared in the Chelsea end, which is nice to see for a player who has had it touch at times.

88th minute: You wouldn’t have banked on this half an hour ago, but Chelsea are playing things out in relative comfort as a handful of Palace fans head for the exits.

85th minute: Rudiger just went down and is now back up again — not an ideal sight for Tuchel, who has just used his fifth substitution. Luka Milivojevic is on for Kouyate, who has put in quite the shift for Palace.

82nd minute: Christensen, who has had a very fine game indeed, makes way for the veteran Thiago Silva.

81st minute: Tuchel made a triple change after the goal and one of the new men, Hakim Ziyech, has a shot that Butland holds.

78th minute: Oh my word, Andersen heads over Benteke’s flick-on with the goal at his mercy. That looked easier to score but the centre-back got his jump all wrong.

76th minute: GOAL!!!!! Mount!!!!

Chelsea are heading to the FA Cup final. Werner finds Mount, who touches the ball away from Andersen and sidefoots into the corner. The sort of unfussy, high-quality technique we’ve come to expect from the England man. He made that look so easy.

75th minute: But that leaves them exposed on the break. Havertz gives them a bit of a warning, and then…

74th minute: Zaha darts in front of Rudiger but his cross is too deep. Palace committing bodies forward now, as they must.

72nd minute: Here comes the cavalry for Palace: Christian Benteke and Michael Olise on for Schlupp and McArthur.

71st minute: Poor old Schlupp is copping for some challenges out there. Loftus-Cheek is the latest to pile into him and there was a bit of a scissors motion with the legs. Despite that, it wasn’t the worst challenge and Taylor’s decision to just tell everyone to calm down seems about right.

68th minute: Chelsea small blood here and are swarming all over Palace. Vieira’s men need to regroup and steady themselves for a final charge. Another goal here and the game is gone.

65th minute: GOAL!!!!! Loftus-Cheek!!!!

Breakthrough for Chelsea! Havertz wriggles into some room down the right channel and his ball into the box is only cleared as far as Loftus-Cheek. It sits up invitingly and the midfielder emphatically spanks it into the top corner. What a finish!

62nd minute: It hasn’t been Jorginho’s day so far but that’s a doozy of a pass that Mount brings down on his chest. Palace get back to scramble clear but that was a glimpse of the game-breaking quality Chelsea possess.

61st minute: Close! Kouyate — who has been absolutely everywhere today — gets up first. The contact isn’t clean but the ball squirts just beyond the near post with Mendy rooted.

60th minute: Christensen has been excellent so far, but Zaha twists and turns to get the better of him. A dangerous cross in headed behind for a Palace corner. 

59th minute: Schlupp goes down and stays down after a meaty coming together with James. Chelsea play on for a bit, then play is stopped — something that pleases roughly no one in the ground.

55th minute: Mateta, who put in an industrious shift, is the man to make way for Ayew.

53rd minute: Jordan Ayew is getting his final instructions from Vieira as Mendy holds a looping Kouyate header from Palace free-kick.

50th minute: Jorginho and Loftus-Cheek fashion a way through but a combination of Koutate and Butland thwart Werner.

48th minute: Tell you what, with Kovacic off, Jorginho struggling and N’Golo Kante sitting on the bench, this Chelsea midfield kind of looks like it could do with Conor Gallagher…

46th minute: We’re back underway. No changes for either side — perhaps Tuchel was tempted but is keeping his powder dry after losing Kovacic early on.

Halftime: It remains goalless and Chelsea have plenty to ponder. You sense Palace and Vieira have this game exactly where they want it. That would have indisputably been the case if Kouyate’s strike had gone in. Tuchel’s side have not really got close yet. Catch you in 15!

46th minute: Mitchell does well to hook Andersen’s punted free-kick into the box from the byline. Chelsea crowd out Schlupp but Palace are closing the half on the front foot and with a bit of swagger about their play.

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45th minute: The half is petering out. There will be two minutes of injury time before Tuchel launches into what you would imagine to be one or two extensive home truthes.

40th minute: Eze’s dancing feet get Palace going again in the Chelsea half. Their threat on the break is more about such fabulous technical ability, along with the raw pace at their disposal. Zaha has both of those to call upon, but James takes care of matters.

38th minute: Well, well, well, this is becoming very frustrating for Chelsea. Kai Havertz goes tumbling with Guehi on the scene and wants a penalty. Referee Anthony Taylor rightly books him for a pretty pathetic dive.

36th minute: Magnificent save from Mendy! Chelsea could only head Eberechi Eze’s delivery out to the edge of the box, where Kouyate clattered the ball towards the bottom right corner. Mendy probably saw that late but got down to save brilliantly. Andersen smacked the post on the rebound but was offside.

35th minute: Excellent interception from Christensen, who prevents Jeffrey Schlupp from playing in Mateta. His teammates thank him by giving the ball straight back to Palace, who win a free-kick on the Chelsea right.

33rd minute: Chelsea try to go wing-back to wing-back, with Alonso swinging a dangerous cross towards Azpilicueta at the back post. Mitchell makes an important defensive header and Mount hooks tamely over from the loose ball.

30th minute: Azpilicueta is playing at wing-back, with James at right centre-back – seemingly an acknowledgement from Tuchel of Palace’s threat on the counter. But the experienced Spain defender really doesn’t provide the same threat as James going forward. An ungainly attempted volley that goes behind off his knee serves as a decent example of that.

39th minute: Both Reece James deliveries are dealt with and Palace break. Zaha thinks he’s in but Christensen intervenes. Ward is quick to the second ball but overhits his pass.

28th minute: Tuchel is out on the edge of his technical area looking about as unimpressed as is possible in a nice snug gillet. Chelsea win a corner on account of Werner being a pest.

26th minute: Early change for Chelsea, as Kovacic departs with what appears to be a twisted ankle. On comes Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who has the chance to impress in his natural position of central midfield after some enterprising outings at right wing-back recently.

25th minute: Antonio Rudiger lofts a long pass (yes, I know) into the Palace box. Kai Havertz clambers over Marc Guehi but there’s not much purchase on the header and it’s easy work for Jack Butland.

23rd minute: Mount thinks otherwise and swivels on halfway to volley a pass in the vague direction of Marcos Alonso and out for a throw.

21st minute: Mateo Kovacic is the latest Chelsea player to have an ambitious through ball come to nought. Tuchel’s men need to sharpen and shorten their passes if they’re going to make an impression.

20th minute: Not much doing here for Chelsea. Jorginho aims a raking ball towards Cesar Azpilicueta but is scoots out for a goalkeeper. The Italy playmaker is visibly frustrated, perhaps because that’s exactly what Palace’s well-stocked defence wanted him to do.

15th minute: At the other end Mateta tries to hook across goal, only to pick out Mendy’s gloves.

14th minute: Werner, playing as if affronted by Palace’s early ease scoots down the left channel to win a corner. Reece James takes but Eagles skipper James McArthur gets there first.

13th minute: Timo Werner is on the move but Joachim Andersen slides in to get a vital foot in.

11th minute: Palace are into a nice rhythm here. Zaha peels into that pocket once more, no dice this time. More Chelsea pressure but the attack breaks down and Cheikhou Kouyate breaks away, forcing Mason Mount into a foul.

9th minute Again Zaha comes short and spins away this time, chasing a lofted ball from Tyrick Mitchell. Clearly a ploy from Vieira. Chelsea then look to bundle into the Palace box but Marc Guehi emerges with the ball.

7th minute: Lovely feed from Wilfried Zaha inside the Chelsea half and a delicious ball in behind for Mateta to chase. Christensen and Mendy deal with the danger but these are encouraging moments for Palace.

4th minute: Edouard Mendy takes a sedate touch and has Jean-Philippe Mateta bearing down on him. Is he about to do what’s now known as a Zack Steffen at Wembley? Nope, the Chelsea goalkeeper strokes away a pass with the minimum of fuss.

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2nd minute: Joel Ward gets a chance to stretch his legs from full-back down the Chelsea left but Andreas Christensen is across to snuff out the danger.

2 mins to KO: Wembley is packed and we’re ready to go. Chelsea all but tamed the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday and the South London carnival going off to my right won’t unsettle them unduly. But there is unquestionably one club here as part of the trophy-winning routine and one enjoying a rare opportunity to dream. An early Palace goal here and the roof comes off.

6 mins to KO: It’s bouncing now. Wembley is very much Glad All Over as we await the teams. They’re in the tunnel as a blue and red flares go off in the Palace end.

15 mins to KO: It’s going down well amid a sea of flags in the Palace end but how, in the year 2022, is The Fratellis before kickoff still a thing?

25 mins to KO: Sure enough, there’s a heavy Palace contingent in for the warm-ups now. Heroes’ reception for Vieira’s men.

45 mins to KO: In an interview on the stadium screens, Tuchel has said Romelu Lukaku is: “Not fit enough to play, not fit enough for the pace of our game.” The Belgium striker is on the bench, with Timo Werner, Kai Havertz and Mason Mount keeping their places in attack from the midweek encounter with Real Madrid.

50 mins to KO: It feels a little bit more sedate in the ground at this stage compared to yesterday, although there’s a fair bit of edge to Liverpool v Man City right now and both those sets of fans had travelled a long way so more were in the ground early. Having said that, the Palace lot have been making a racket all around Wembley and it’ll probably be a red and blue carnival away to my right before long.

55 mins to KO: And here’s the Palace XI, with Michael Olise only fit enough for a place on the bench

1 hour to KO: Here’s the Chelsea line-up:

1hr 20 mins to KO: Plenty of focus in the build-up has been placed upon the ineligibility of Palace’s Chelsea loanee Conor Gallagher. The midfielder has been superb for Palace this term, to the extent he has earned England honours and — if Tuchel’s pre-match words are anything to go by — a shot at a long-term future with his parent club. How Patrick Vieira shuffles his pack to account for that absence will be key. The team sheets are just 20 minutes away.

1hr 40 mins to KO: Champions League, UEFA Super Cup, Club World Cup. Thomas Tuchel has certainly made a habit of collecting silverware since being appointed as Chelsea boss. The exception to that has been England’s domestic cups, with Leicester City beating the Blues in last season’s FA Cup final and Liverpool edging them out after a marathon penalty shoot-out in February’s Carabao Cup final. A rematch of the latter game is what Tuchel’s men are gunning for today.

2 hours to KO: Hello and welcome to The Sporting News’ live coverage of the FA Cup semi-final between Chelsea and Crystal Palace at Wembley.

MORE: Chelsea goal disallowed vs. Real Madrid, but was there a handball?

How to watch Chelsea vs. Crystal Palace

  UK USA Canada Australia
Date Sun, April 17 Sun, April 17 Sun, April 17 Mon, April 18
Time 4.30 p.m. BST 11.30 a.m. ET 11.30 a.m. ET 01.30 a.m. AEST
TV channel ITV 1 Sportsnet 360, Sportsnet World
Streaming ITV Hub ESPN+ Sportsnet NOW Paramount+

UK: The FA Cup semi-final will be available to watch in the UK on ITV 1 and it will stream on ITV Hub.

USA: Fans can stream FA Cup matches on ESPN+ in the USA.

Canada: Sportsnet has the rights to the FA Cup in Canada and will be showing the game on Sportsnet 360 and Sportsnet World (TV), and its streaming platform.

Australia: FA Cup matches can be streamed on Paramount+ in Australia.

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