Chelsea take on Middlesbrough in the Emirates FA Cup quarter-finals on Saturday evening. The blues reached the finals last season where they were beaten to the trophy by Leicester City. This time around Middlesbrough was the mountain they needed to climb to get one foot towards a second consecutive Semis and Final.
Chelsea has already seen off lower league opposition throughout the tournament with wins over Chesterfield, Plymouth Argyle and Luton Town. Chris Wilder on the other hand has guided the Smoggies past Mansfield Town, Manchester United and Tottenham and will be hoping to earn another Premier League scalp.
Thomas Tuchel made a handful of changes to the starting lineup. Lukaku led the frontline with Pulisic, Mount and Birthday boy Hakim Ziyech at the back. Loftus Cheek was the only change in Midfield as teaming up with Kovacic.
Malang Sarr came on as a Left back with regulars Rudiger, Silva and Azpilicueta for a four-man defence. Chelsea’s administrative and technical team may have been hit by sanctions on Abramovich, but on the field, they seem to be doing just fine.
Tuchel has been recently lauded for his approach and professionalism in these dire situations at Stamford bridge. The German boss has inspired the team to a quarter-final spot in the Champions League, a continued victory in the Premier League and now a 2-0 win over Middlesbrough that takes them to the Semi-finals of the FA Cup with Lukaku and Ziyech on the score-sheet.
There were just 600 Chelsea supporters that made the trip north to applaud them, with no breakthrough on the government restrictions that see the Blues unable to sell tickets to fans since Roman Abramovich was placed on the UK’s sanction list.
It will be the second consecutive time that Chelsea has made it into the semi-finals of the FA Cup.