How did Chelsea reach the FA Cup final 2022?
Here, the PA news agency looks at Thomas Tuchel’s Blues’ route to another Wembley showdown.
Chelsea cruised through their opening encounter, with Timo Werner, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Romelu Lukaku and Andreas Christensen all on target in the first half. Hakim Ziyech added a fifth from the penalty spot 10 minutes after the break, with Chesterfield claiming a late consolation through Akwasi Asante.
Kepa Arrizabalaga was the extra-time hero for Chelsea, saving Ryan Hardie’s spot-kick to sneak the Blues through without the need for a shoot-out. Macaulay Gillesphey stole an early lead for Argyle to shock Thomas Tuchel’s men, before Cesar Azpilicueta levelled with a poacher’s finish just before half-time. Chelsea could not crack the visitors, however, with the game drifting into extra time. Marcos Alonso’s effort had Chelsea edging towards victory, only for that late penalty to add yet more drama. Plymouth hoped to force a shoot-out, but instead Kepa saved Hardie’s spot-kick to send Chelsea through.
Roman Abramovich announced he had put Chelsea up for sale just hours before kick-off. Chelsea managed to shake off any distractions, then also a spirited and threatening Luton. Reece Burke put the hosts ahead just two minutes in, before Saul Niguez levelled midway through the first half. Harry Cornick rocked the Blues again by putting the Hatters 2-1 up, but Chelsea equalised through Werner before Lukaku grabbed the winner.
Lukaku and Ziyech handed Chelsea a stress-free victory on the pitch, amid one of the most hectic times off it. The Blues were unable to sell their full allocation of tickets for the Riverside Stadium clash, after owner Abramovich was sanctioned by the UK Government. Downing Street froze Abramovich’s UK assets having claimed to have proven his links to Russian president Vladimir Putin. The Government allowed Chelsea to continue trading, but only under strict terms of a temporary licence. The Blues had no real pressure dealing with Middlesbrough, however, and progressed to the last four.
A tired-looking Chelsea laboured through a goalless first hour, before Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s powerful drive broke the deadlock. Palace were unable to find another gear, and Mason Mount’s neat finish sealed the Blues’ win.