Predicted XI

FA Cup team news: How Chelsea and Manchester City could line up

The two Premier League giants enter their FA Cup semi-final on Saturday with near full strength squads

 
9:23am on Friday 16th April 2021
By
Nicholas Hughes

After a successful week on the continent, Chelsea and Manchester City will be out to book a place in the FA Cup final when they meet at Wembley on Saturday.

The Londoners went through to the semi-final of the Champions League despite losing 1-0 to Porto in the second leg of their quarter-final tie, while City overcame a half-time deficit to knock out Borussia Dortmund.

Mateo Kovacic missed the Porto clash for Thomas Tuchel’s side and is ruled out for the weekend, but elsewhere the German will have a full roster to choose from.

Thiago Silva has served his domestic ban and is in line for selection, with club captain Cesar Azpilicueta and Kurt Zouma completing the back three.

Behind them, there should be a start for Kepa ahead of Edouard Mendy. The Spaniard has played all four of Chelsea’s FA Cup fixtures to this point, with the last two of those coming under Tuchel.

Kovacic’s absence will force N'Golo Kante and Jorginho to go again in the centre of midfield, with Reece James keeping his place on the right and Marcos Alonso replacing Ben Chilwell at left wing-back.

Kai Havertz and Christian Pulisic have both been in tremendous form of late, both starting in three of the Blues’ last four games in all competitions.

Pulisic may take a rest for this game, though, with Timo Werner coming back into the front three alongside Havertz and Mason Mount.

Pep Guardiola has a similar abundance of availability, with only Sergio Aguero injured ahead of the weekend.

Such is the depth of the Premier League leaders that they were able to win in midweek without the likes of Joao Cancelo and Raheem Sterling in the starting XI, allowing for fresh legs to come into the side for this semi-final.

The former will almost certainly come in at right-back to replace Kyle Walker, while Aymeric Laporte could make his first appearance since being out injured.

Benjamin Mendy earned himself consecutive league starts last week for the first time since December and could feature again at left-back.

Fernandinho could lead the team in midfield alongside mainstays Kevin De Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan, while Sterling and Gabriel Jesus should complement Phil Foden in the front three.

The City youngster dazzled once again, scoring a brilliant goal to seal the win over Dortmund on Wednesday, further justifying his burgeoning reputation across the continent.

Chelsea are seeking a fourth FA Cup final in five years, but City will be out to stop them and book another date at Wembley, with the League Cup final due to take place in just over a week.

Predicted XIs: Chelsea v Man City

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