The road to Wembley: How Chelsea reached the Emirates FA Cup Final
Having secured the Premier League title long ago now, Chelsea and Antonio Conte are looking to secure a historic double in this weekend’s Emirates FA Cup Final.
But how did they get there?
As they prepare to take on London rivals Arsenal on Saturday evening under the Wembley arch, we’re taking a look back at Chelsea’s journey to the showpiece contest.
Third Round – Chelsea 4-1 Peterborough United
First up for the Blues – and for Conte’s first ever FA Cup contest – was the visit of League One Peterborough United.
Pedro settled any nerves of a potential banana skin with an 18th-minute opener, and further goals from Michy Batshuayi, Willian and a second Pedro effort ended Posh’s dreams of an upset.
Fourth Round – Chelsea 4-0 Brentford
The draw certainly favoured Chelsea in the early rounds, as Brentford became their second lower-league opponents of the campaign.
Again Conte’s men got the job done early on, with Willian and Pedro putting the Premier League side 2-0 up inside 21 minutes.
Branislav Ivanovic and Batshuayi completed the route in the second-half as Chelsea again produced a professional performance.
Fifth Round – Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-2 Chelsea
Things would get a touch tougher for Chelsea from the Fifth Round onwards, kicking off with an away trip to Wolves.
This time the Blues had work a little harder, and Wolves held on a 0-0 until the 65th minute. But Pedro (there’s a theme here) and Diego Costa eventually put paid for the Championship side.
Sixth Round – Chelsea 1-0 Manchester United
While Arsenal faced Non-League opposition for the second round in succession, Chelsea took on Premier League opponents for the first time.
It was a feisty encounter – predictably so – and Jose Mourinho came to blows with Conte on the touchline – but Chelsea’s hopes were boosted when Ander Herrera saw red on 35 minutes.
The hosts still had to find a way past David de Gea however, and the match-winner came from an unlikely source, as N’Golo Kante scored just his second goal of the campaign to send Chelsea to Wembley.
Semi-Finals – Chelsea 4-2 Tottenham Hotspur
This clash promised to be a cracker, and it absolutely delivered.
A win for Tottenham could have derailed Chelsea’s Premier League hopes, while a Blues’ victory would similarly dent Spurs’ chances.
Nobody expected a six-goal thriller, however. Especially as Conte dropped both Eden Hazard and Costa from the starting XI.
Of course, it was all part of his master plan. A Willian double either side of a Harry Kane header had Chelsea 2-1 up at the break.
Dele Alli levelled soon after the interval and for a while it seemed we were destined for extra-time.
But Spurs failed to pick up Hazard on the edge of the box, and the Belgium fired home 15 minutes from time to put Chelsea back in front.
And the thrilling contest was ended just five minutes later when Nemanja Matic walloped home a fine fourth as Chelsea progressed to the final at Tottenham’s expense.
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