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Industrious Chelsea end Man City's quadruple hopes with deserved Wembley win

Matt Law
·25 min read
Chelsea vs Manchester City, FA Cup semi-final: live score and latest updates - Andy Hooper
Chelsea vs Manchester City, FA Cup semi-final: live score and latest updates - Andy Hooper
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Manchester City’s season will not finish with an unprecedented quadruple of domestic and European trophies as Chelsea kept their own hopes of completing a double very much alive by booking a place in the FA Cup final for the second successive season.

A Hakim Ziyech goal proved to be enough for last season’s beaten finalists, who are also in the semi-finals of the Champions League, and City will now have a treble left to try to complete.

This was very much a victory for Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel, who had not beaten Pep Guardiola before yesterday and who has guided the London club to victories over Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool, Atletico Madrid, Porto and now City.

Nobody could have predicted Tuchel making such an impact when he succeeded Frank Lampard back in January, but the German has barely put a foot wrong since stepping through the door at Stamford Bridge.

All of his big decisions came off at Wembley, with Kepa Arrizabalaga justifying his selection as Chelsea’s FA Cup goalkeeper by keeping a fourth successive clean sheet under the German, Timo Werner returning to terrify City with his incredible pace and Ziyech scoring the winner.

Ahead of the tie, Ziyech had admitted that the FA Cup had never been particularly special to him, but his second-half goal that clinched Chelsea’s place in the final may have changed that.

Ziyech and Werner had been preferred to Kai Havertz and Christian Pulisic, and the pair carried out Tuchel’s counter-attacking plan to perfection.

There had been a warning for City as early as the sixth minute, when a Ziyech goal was correctly disallowed because Werner had been slightly offside before racing clear and teeing up his team-mate.

But the warning was not heeded, as Werner and Ziyech, this time also helped by the brilliant Mason Mount, combined again 10 minutes after half-time to carve open City’s defence.

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Mount played a perfect pass down the left for Werner, who hit the turbo button and left City’s defenders floundering before keeping his cool to find Ziyech, and this time the Moroccan’s goal counted.

Ziyech should really have put the game beyond doubt four minutes later, but he failed to make the most of a mistake by Ruben Dias that had left him with just Zack Steffen to beat.

Tuchel was dumbfounded on the bench and Ziyech pounded the turf in frustration as Steffen made the save, but the pair were later celebrating.

Chelsea’s superb defence, of whom the back three’s combined age was 95, kept their 14th clean sheet under Tuchel to ensure Ziyech’s miss did not matter.

They also frustrated Raheem Sterling, who suffered a particularly disappointing evening in front of Gareth Southgate, the England manager, and must now be sweating on a starting place at Euro 2020.

For all City’s pressure in the final 20 minutes, it was Chelsea who twice went closest to adding to the scoreline.

After Rodri had scuffed an attempted volley inside the penalty area, Werner led a Chelsea break and Steffen had to save low down. Substitute Pulisic thought he had netted in stoppage time, but the American’s goal was disallowed for offside.

While Chelsea can now look forward to another final at Wembley next month, City return to Wembley next Sunday for the Carabao Cup final against Tottenham and could yet meet Tuchel’s team in the final of the Champions League next month.

Chelsea's English defender Ben Chilwell reacts after missing a chance during the English FA Cup semi-final football  - AFP
Chelsea's English defender Ben Chilwell reacts after missing a chance during the English FA Cup semi-final football - AFP

On this evidence, City manager Guardiola may hope to avoid Chelsea, whose counter-attacking style caused the Premier League leaders plenty of problems.

Tuchel’s decision not to include Tammy Abraham in his squad, with nine substitutes permitted for the game, was harsh on the striker and does not bode well for his Chelsea future.

But Tuchel evidently felt the best way to overcome City was to hit them with pace on the break and so it proved, while Guardiola’s decision to make eight changes from the team who knocked Borussia Dortmund out of the Champions League did not pay off, even though it was entirely understandable with the short turnaround time.

Other than the defeat, City also suffered a potential blow in the form of an ankle injury that forced Kevin De Bruyne off early in the second half. De Bruyne pulled up after challenging for the ball with N’Golo Kante on the touchline and had to be replaced by Phil Foden, who performed well after his introduction.

Pep Guardiola concern over Kevin De Bruyne’s ankle injury
Pep Guardiola concern over Kevin De Bruyne’s ankle injury

De Bruyne’s fitness aside, Guardiola will have been concerned by the form of Sterling, who was virtually anonymous in the first half and squandered a number of good situations after the break – the most wasteful of which was a shot over the bar when substitute Ilkay Gundogan was better placed.

Kepa, whose last appearance against City at Wembley had been the 2019 League Cup final when he refused to be substituted, will have been relieved that he was not tested more.

Gabriel Jesus curled a shot from the outside of the penalty into his hands in the first half, while Reece James stopped a header from the Brazilian reaching Sterling. Kepa made a save at his near post at the death, having also dived on a Rodri effort.

Before the final, Chelsea will attempt to secure a top-four Premier League place and progress past Real Madrid in the semi-finals of the Champions League.

West Ham United’s defeat by Newcastle United improved Chelsea’s hopes of clinching a top-four place and the result against City proved they cannot be written off ahead of the Real tie, which they will start as underdogs.

Winning both the FA Cup and the Champions League, as they did in 2012, would be the most incredible of endings to the season. Under Tuchel, nothing can be ruled out for Chelsea.

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06:30 PM

Chelsea coming back to Wembley

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06:27 PM

FT: Chelsea 1 Man City 0

It's all over! Man City will not be completing a clean sweep this year. Chelsea deserved that. They defended well as a unit - I can scarcely recall a game in which City created so little - and always had enough speed up top to carry a threat. They will face Southampton or Leicester in the final where they have a chance to win their ninth FA Cup. The decision to hire Tuchel looks better and better.

06:24 PM

94 minutes

Brilliant work from Foden but Rudiger got across to cut out Cancelo's through ball. Then Rodri throws himself at a cross and the ball deflects off Azpilicueta for a corner. Tense moments...

It was headed down by Rodri and Kepa palmed it away at the near post. Then Zouma is fouled in the box.

One minute to go!

06:23 PM

92 minutes

Oh wow....Chelsea though Pulisic had buried the clincher but he wandered offside in the build up. City still alive!

06:22 PM

92 minutes

Azpilicueta gets in front of his man and buys a foul. Time is ticking away for City.

06:20 PM

FIVE added minutes

The quadruple dream is hanging by a thread.

06:20 PM

90 minutes

It really does not look like happening for City but we have said that before over the years. Chelsea are working so hard to shut them down. Foden fouled by Azpilicueta. City will pump this into the box...won by Dias but Zouma gets his head to the second ball.

06:18 PM

88 minutes

Play resumed with a Kepa punt downfield. Laporte returns the favour but Zouma wins his first header. City settle into another spell of possession but play a desperate ball forward. The ball gets away from Havertz and City build again.

06:17 PM

86 minutes

James wins a foul against Mendy and Chelsea can shift up the pitch. Zouma is coming on for Thiago who is struggling. He has stayed down on the pitch for treatment. Will mean plenty of stoppage time.

06:15 PM

85 minutes

Chelsea change: Zouma is going to come on for Thiago who is struggling with his back. It looks that way anyway, but Thiago might solider on. Aggressive defending from Rudiger again close to the touchline. City have had no space to operate in.

06:14 PM

83 minutes

Thiago gets his head on a Jesus cross. The flag goes up against Jesus in the next wave of the attack, much to the relief of Sterling who snatched at a shot and blasted over.

06:12 PM

81 minutes

Kante has been another standout performer for Chelsea. City dominating possession now but they do not look too dangerous.

Fernandinho whips a cross in that Thiago heads away. Rodri has room to shoot from 20 yards or so but it deflects into the arms of Kepa. Resolute defending from Chelsea.

06:09 PM

79 minutes

Excellent defensive header from Chilwell to stop a Fernandinho diagonal finding Sterling. City corner. Havertz is coming on for Werner.

Loud City claims of handball from the corner! But I think Azpilicueta was fine. Nothing doing.

06:07 PM

77 minutes

Kante wins the ball after City pumped a free-kick into the box and it started a Chelsea break through Werner. He was running out of legs and options and in the end the shot across Steffen was tame. This could be a fantastic finale after a poor first period.

06:06 PM

75 minutes

Havertz is getting ready to come on for Chelsea. You wonder how costly that Ziyech missed chance to score the second goal could prove. City are improving but there is not much time left. Another good move involved Foden but the ball does not drop for Jesus to shoot at the edge of the box.

06:03 PM

73 minutes

Werner spins in behind down the left, is picked out by Rudiger to win Chelsea a corner and some breathing space. City clear easily though and are back on the front foot. They always look a better team with Foden on the pitch.

The City midfielders starting to get on the ball in good areas but Sterling overhits a simple pass to Cancelo.

06:00 PM

71 minutes

Chelsea change: Mount departs for Pulisic. Mount has been excellent today, has made Fernandinho look every one of his 35 years at times. City back in possession. Jesus penalised for a high boot.

05:58 PM

69 minutes

Great defensive header from Rudger when Sterling looked like ghosting in at the back post. Chilwell does well in a tight spot but Werner cannot keep the ball in. City starting to sustain attacks now. Foden makes a burst to the near post but Azpilicueta just about got there.

Corner for City is headed back across goal and Dias heads over from five yards! Probably their best chance of the game.

05:57 PM

67 minutes

City giving the ball away in midfield which leaves them open but Steffen sweeps up and claims. Better from City as Gundogan gets between the lines but Jorginho does well against Sterling. City keep the pressure on, but James does well to defend against the raiding Mendy. Fernandinho has been booked.

05:55 PM

65 minutes

The free-kick was way too deep, not for the first time for City this afternoon.

05:54 PM

64 minutes

City change: Torres off and Gundogan on. Can that spark them into life? City do have a free kick in a good crossing position on the right.

05:52 PM

63 minutes

Clash of heads between Rudiger and Sterling in the box and the defender comes off the worst. Will be a short stoppage in play.

05:52 PM

61 minutes

The game has got really stretched and Dias times a tackle brilliantly when James was running at the City back four. Then Sterling gives the ball away and looks a little forlorn. Not been at his best so far.

05:51 PM

Chelsea's goal

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05:50 PM

59 minutes

Chelsea should be two up and Ziyech should have his second! City undone by a ball over the top again, Ziyech had so much time but Steffen made a big save and Dias blocked the follow up.

Mount is giving Fernandinho the runaround again in midfield.

05:47 PM

57 minutes

Chelsea coming forward again. Werner's pace made the difference against the high line there. City have not looked at their best but need to lift it here.

05:46 PM

GOOOOOOAAAALL! Chelsea lead

Ziyech the goalscorer and it was very similar to the goal they had disallowed. Mount slipped Werner in behind Dias and Steffen wandered into no man's land, and it was the easiest of decisions to square for Ziyech who scored a tap-in. A copy of the goal they had disallowed early on.

05:45 PM

55 minutes

Werner looking frustrated that Chelsea are keeping the ball so deliberately among their defenders. He wanted early service over the top.

Lovely from Foden to read his team-mate was in a tight spot, rush to support him then free Fernandinho with a flick around the corner. Space opened up for Sterling but he overran the ball!

05:43 PM

53 minutes

Space for Werner in the right channel again but Dias gets across to make a strong sliding challenge. Chelsea pick out Chilwell with a big switch of play again but his cross is charged down. Chelsea go back to their defenders and start building play again.

05:41 PM

51 minutes

Foden found by Cancelo in the box and stands up a cross to the back post. James got a touch on Jesus' header to allay the danger. Positive edge to City's football so far.

05:39 PM

49 minutes

Fernandinho looks for Torres over the top but it runs through to Kepa. Losing De Bruyne is a body blow but Foden might inject a bit more pace and zip to City's attacking play.

05:38 PM

47 minutes

No changes from either coach but they might want greater intensity. City on the front foot and Cancelo's cross is glanced away.

Worrying moment here for City fans as De Bruyne goes down, unusual to see this so early in the second half. He sat down on the turf holding his right ankle.

That's that. Phil Foden is getting ready to replace him immediately. That's De Bruyne's race run and it could be a blow for the Champions League as well as this game.

05:35 PM

We're back under way!

City get us started in the second half.

05:33 PM

Just five shots on goal so far

One on target. People are less with impressed with that for entertainment value judging by social media.

05:20 PM

HT: Chelsea 0 Man City 0

Chelsea will be pleased with that. They limited to City to very little and passed the ball with authority in the opening 25 minutes. They had a goal disallowed for offside and found some other dangerous positions down the right through James and Ziyech.

City far from fluent having made eight changes, but did start to control the ball and territory as half time approached.

05:19 PM

46 minutes

Just one minute added on but City have another corner after James made a mess of Cancelo's cross. Taken short and Mike Dean blows.

05:17 PM

45 minutes

De Bruyne's cross was far too deep but Sterling collects. City build another attack, Torres feeds De Bruyne with a nice overlap down the right but his cross is cut out and cleared for another corner. Sterling received it again deep, whipped the cross in and Fernandinho glanced a header wide.

05:15 PM

43 minutes

A sight scare for Chelsea as Azpiliceuta heads a De Bruyne cross against Thiago's back but it does not fall for Jesus. City starting to get on top. Cancelo's low cross is cleared by Thiago for a corner.

05:12 PM

41 minutes

Chelsea have a throw in deep in the City half but are forced back to Rudiger. Kicks long and City recover the ball. Chelsea have not done that very often to their credit in this half. Just looks like Chelsea are flagging a little as half time approaches.

05:10 PM

39 minutes

Sterling's role has not been very effective so far. You wonder if City need to introduce Gundogan or Foden into that zone and move Sterling more to the extremities of the game to isolate defenders. City are now knocking the ball around with some comfort.

05:09 PM

37 minutes

Good defending by first Azpiliceuta and then Rodri. Fernandinho goes for a more ambitious pass over the top to Torres but it skips through to Kepa. Nice idea.

05:07 PM

35 minutes

That exchange was a proper midfield battle. Both teams closing down and both teams backing themselves to play through the pressure. Fernandinho broke though and was brought down by James, who is shown a yellow card. Slightly harsh. City in possession high up the pitch, Chelsea get bodies back.

05:06 PM

33 minutes

Chelsea looking dangerous after a Mendy giveaway. Werner played into the space Mendy vacated by Ziyech but Laporte gets back well to make a sliding block. Chelsea corner.

The ball is worked back to Reece James 25 yards out or so but his side foot shot fades wide.

05:03 PM

31 minutes

Chelsea finding it quite easy to break through City's first defensive line when they play out from the back. It's giving them so much space elsewhere on the pitch. Good defending from Dias again in the right channel. This time De Bruyne is brought down in midfield by Ziyech.

05:01 PM

29 minutes

Big header from Dias when Werner was poised to pounce but it all started with a delightful spin from Mount to get away from Fernandinho. The City man tried to hack him down but could not get near him. Sums up the half so far: Chelsea have been better.

04:59 PM

27 minutes

City have not really had a proper chance in this game so far. They are on the front foot now though, but Chelsea stop the ball being played into the half-spaces and force them back. De Bruyne under pressure from Rudiger and his pass to Cancelo goes out for a throw.

04:58 PM

25 minutes

Kane turns into space and tries to run through Man City but three light blue shirts converge on him. Chelsea press when the ball is played back to Steffen and De Bruyne is penalised for nudging Jorginho, very lightly, in the back. Chance for James to swing a free-kick in.

City deal with the first one but find Ziyech in space in the next phase of the attack but the flag is up against Werner. Rodri struggling defensively so far.

04:55 PM

23 minutes

Chelsea find a promising position down the flanks and Chilwell's cross deflects beyond danger. City struggling to find either Sterling or De Bruyne in dangerous positions so far.

04:53 PM

21 minutes

Chelsea have shown good composure and authority on the ball so far. They have actually had more possession. Ziyech and Werner have linked up really well so far. Torres bundled over but Dean says no foul and Chelsea come forward again. Ziyech is giving Mendy problems down City's left.

04:51 PM

18 minutes

There was a challenge on Mount by Fernandinho a few moments ago, and in the aftermath the Brazilian's studs nicked Mount's cheek as he was on the floor. Not sure it was clear enough to be a red card, and the officials agreed.

Chelsea keeping the ball well again, and Ziyech picks out James on the overlap. His cross was stood up to a free Chilwell at the back post and he skewed his volley wide. Good football, Ziyech getting between the lines.

04:48 PM

16 minutes

Both teams waste counter attacks in quick succession. Ziyech's low cross was easily cleared and then Sterling picked the wrong pass for City. Good game so far, not much to choose between the teams. Good challenge on Chilwell from Fernandinho in midfield.

04:46 PM

14 minutes

Cancelo tries to find De Bruyne in the box with a really difficult through ball but Rudiger cut it out. Looks like Mount is dropping back to the left of midfield to make Chelsea almost a 5-3-2 without the ball.

04:45 PM

12 minutes

A loose pass from De Bruyne and Rudiger hammers clear. City's turn to keep the ball in midfield, Sterling picking up an inside position with Mendy holding the width. Chelsea doing a good job of staying compact though.

04:43 PM

10 minutes

Brief scare for Chelsea as Thiago goes down holding the small of his back. He looks capable of carrying on. Jorginho sprays the ball out to Chilwell and Chelsea come forward again. This is a good period of possession.

Ziyech finds a nice pocket of space before James hits another diagonal to Chilwell.

A loose pass from Azpiliceuta gifts City and Jesus a counter-attack, who showed real pace to run clear of the Chelsea defence but his shot from distance was straight at Kepa.

04:40 PM

8 minutes

City deal with the corner and the ball goes all the way back to Kepa thanks to Jesus' closing down. Chelsea will be encouraged by these last few minutes, some of their movement up front has caused problems.

Rudiger players a good diagonal to James, and Steffen has a bit of a flap at his cross and City clear their lines. Good stuff from Chelsea.

04:38 PM

6 minutes

Ferran Torres is keeping the width on the right for City. Cancelo with a loose pass in his own half but Chelsea cannot keep the ball for more than a few passes. Fernandinho sends a throw-in down the line but Kepa boots away.

Then Chelsea have the ball in the net but the flag goes up! There was space behind the City defence but Werner went a fraction early, before squaring across the box for Ziyech to tap in.

Chelsea making more inroads and have a corner.

04:35 PM

4 minutes

Chelsea with a throw in deep in their half and City box them in well. Fernandinho gives away his first foul of the afternoon - surely not his last. Chelsea get their first touch of the ball, and Rudiger zips a good pass forward into the feet of Werner. City were sticking to him like glue though. Chelsea playing out from the back very deliberately but Kante skews a pass out of play.

04:34 PM

2 minutes

City pressing really high straight from kick off and win the ball back. They settle into an early passage of possession. Looks like Rodri and Fernandinho playing as a midfield pair, with De Bruyne ahead and slightly to the right. Sterling tucked in off the left, almost making a box with the deep midfielders.

04:32 PM

KICK OFF!

Chelsea get us going after both sets of players take a knee.

04:27 PM

The players are on their way out

Chelsea the first to emerge, followed by Man City as per Covid protocols.

04:27 PM

Tuchel on Wembley

"Quite impressive obviously. Dressing room is huge, manager's office is huge! Shame the stadium is empty, would have been great to see it full but we want to make the most of it.

"If you play Manchester City or Bayern Munich it is the biggest test you can have right now. Like I have said we want to close the gap. We have come here to show we can close it."

04:20 PM

Really good interview with Tuchel by Gary Lineker

The Chelsea manager says the hardest thing about playing a Guardiola team is the unbreakable faith his players have in their way of playing and how hard it is to break their rhythm and confidence.

04:10 PM

Guardiola speaks

"Semi-final of the FA Cup - the most traditional competition around the world. Pleasure to be here.

"Champions League we struggled to break that bridge from the quarter-finals but we did it. No time with this schedule to enjoy the good moments or be depressed in the bad ones.

"It will be an incredible tough game. They are one of the best sides in Europe right now. An incredible manager. The quality of Chelsea was always there.

"A tough, tough, tough game."

04:05 PM

Chelsea's player of the season? Big game for Mason Mount

Mason Mount - AFP
Mason Mount - AFP

04:02 PM

One to watch

How will Chelsea stop passes being played into City's central midfield? They do not have a sole No 10 to sit on Fernandinho so expect the front three of Mount, Werner and Ziyech to play very narrow when City are building play and try to force them down the flanks.

03:44 PM

Chelsea are here

Thomas Tuchel, Manager of Chelsea is seen wearing a facemask prior to during the Semi Final of the Emirates FA Cup match between Manchester City and Chelsea FC  - Getty Images
Thomas Tuchel, Manager of Chelsea is seen wearing a facemask prior to during the Semi Final of the Emirates FA Cup match between Manchester City and Chelsea FC - Getty Images

03:43 PM

Never wise to second guess Guardiola

How will City set up? They are playing with an orthodox striker in Gabriel Jesus, but look to have gone for a more conservative midfield with Rodri and Fernandinho in there. It might be a 2-1 shape with those two sitting and De Bruyne in front.

Alternatively, Rodri or Fernandinho could drop into the backline to make a three but that's unlikely against a lone striker in Werner. Cancelo could also move into the central zone from right-back.

03:40 PM

Two back-up goalkeepers in net

A very modern FA Cup convention but one that can certainly add to the entertainment factor, especially when Kepa is involved. Wembley was the scene of his stand-off with Maurizio Sarri in the 2019 Carabao Cup final against today's opponents.

03:38 PM

Chelsea team: Kepa in goal

Chelsea XI: Kepa; Azpilicueta,Thiago Silva, Rudiger; James, Kante, Jorginho, Chilwell; Ziyech, Werner, Mount

03:35 PM

Manchester City team: Steffen and Jesus start

Man City XI: Steffen; Cancelo, Dias, Laporte, Mendy; Rodrigo, Fernandinho (C), De Bruyne; Torres, Sterling, Jesus

03:19 PM

City arrive

Raheem Sterling of Manchester City walks out for a pitch inspection prior to the Semi Final of the Emirates FA Cup match between Manchester City and Chelsea FC  - Getty Images
Raheem Sterling of Manchester City walks out for a pitch inspection prior to the Semi Final of the Emirates FA Cup match between Manchester City and Chelsea FC - Getty Images

03:17 PM

Will City play a striker?

Gabriel Jesus could start or it might be Bernardo Silva and Kevin De Bruyne as roving forwards. I think City could cause Chelsea problems if they don't go directly against Tuchel's back three and flood the central areas and half-spaces against Chelsea's midfield two.

03:09 PM

This should be a high-quality game

City's win at Stamford Bridge was a turning point in their season and marked the beginning of the end for Frank Lampard. I'd expect Chelsea to be far more obdurate today, and try and use Timo Werner to cause problems on the counter.

There is a slight cloud over both teams with Tammy Abraham left out the Chelsea squad as Matt Law reported this morning and Pep Guardiola's relationship with Raheem Sterling becoming a touch frosty. Both coaches have so much attacking talent to choose from.

02:59 PM

Tammy Abraham's Chelsea future in doubt after Thomas Tuchel leaves him out of squad

By Matt Law, Football News Correspondent

Tammy Abraham has been left out of the Chelsea squad for today’s FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City, but Thomas Tuchel could keep faith with Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Telegraph Sport can reveal that, although Tuchel can name nine substitutes and make five changes at Wembley, Abraham has not made the 20-man squad.

The decision, which has shocked some of his team-mates, will come as a bitter blow to Abraham, who played in the third, fourth and fifth rounds of the FA Cup, scoring a hat-trick against Luton Town and getting the winning goal against Barnsley.

Abraham’s goal against Barnsley was his only one to date under Tuchel, but he remains Chelsea’s top goalscorer, having netted 12 times in all competitions.

Tuchel’s decision to leave Abraham out of his Wembley squad will only strengthen theories that he does not fancy the 23-year-old, despite the German’s claims that his selections are not personal.

And that will be further highlighted if Tuchel sticks with Arrizabalaga in goal against City, with the Spaniard hoping to keep his FA Cup place ahead of the established No 1, Edouard Mendy.

Like Abraham, Arrizabalaga has played in Chelsea’s FA Cup run to this point and the 26-year-old has been praised by Tuchel after keeping three clean sheets under him — the last of which came against Sheffield United in the quarter-finals.

Kick-off for today's semi-final is at 5.30pm.

Tuchel last week compared the situations of Abraham and Kepa, but leaving the striker out of his squad while starting with the Spaniard would send mixed messages over his selection policy.

It would be an even bigger blow to Abraham if Tuchel were to select all three of his goalkeepers in his enlarged FA Cup squad, with two starting on the substitutes’ bench.

A number of clubs in the Premier League and Europe have been alerted to the situation of Abraham, who has two years remaining on his contract, with West Ham United among those interested.