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FA Cup

  • April 14, 2013
  • • 16:00
  • • Wembley Stadium, London
  • Referee: C. Foy
  • • Attendance: 85621
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Chelsea - Manchester City Preview: Premier League and European champions set for FA Cup semi-final clash

Rafa Benitez’s men are aiming to reach a second consecutive Wembley final to retain the trophy they won last season by beating the competition's winners in 2011

  PROBABLE LINEUPS

CHELSEA

Cech
Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, David Luiz, Bertrand
Ramires, Mikel
Hazard, Oscar, Mata,
Torres
MANCHESTER CITY

Hart
Zabaleta, Kompany, Nastasic, Clichy
Yaya Toure, Barry
Milner, Tevez, Nasri
Aguero

Interim Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez is likely to make several changes from the side that travelled to Moscow to face Rubin Kazan last time out, with the likes of Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Branislav Ivanovic set for a return to the Blues starting XI.

The Spanish boss should be able to call on Demba Ba (ankle), with the Senegal striker progressing well after picking up a knock in Sunday's win over Sunderland at Stamford Bridge, while Ryan Bertrand (illness) will be hoping to shake off the virus that forced him to miss the club's trip to Russia.

Ashley Cole (hamstring) and Gary Cahill (knee) are close to first team return, but this game may come too soon for the defensive pair. Midfielder Oriol Romeu (knee) will miss the rest of the season.

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini will be sweating over the fitness of key midfield schemer David Silva (hamstring), after the Spain attacker limped off during the 2-1 win at rivals Manchester United on Monday.

Defender Micah Richards (knee) has returned to fuill training, but this game may come to soon for a first team return, whilst Jack Rodwell (hamstring) and Maicon (knee) are both likely to be missing.

  DID YOU KNOW?
  • Chelsea have contested four of the last six FA Cup finals (winning them all). They are the current holders of the trophy.
  • The Blues have won the competition seven times in all: only Manchester United (11), Arsenal (10) and Tottenham (8) have won it more often.
  • Rafa Benitez won the FA Cup in 2006 when his Liverpool team defeated West Ham in the last final at the Millennium Stadium.
  • Manchester City have lost just once in domestic competitions this season after scoring first (against Aston Villa in the Capital One Cup).  They have drawn two and won 18 of the Premier League games they have led.
  • Carlos Tevez (pictured right) has scored five goals in this season's competition - making him the second-highest goalscorer. Aldershot forward Danny Hylton (8) leads the goalscoring charts.
  • City have won six of their last seven games in all competitions.
  • These two sides met in this season's Community Shield, with City running out 3-2 winners at Villa Park. Roberto Mancini's men have also shaded the two Premier League encounters between the two, winning 2-0 at the Etihad Stadium, and earning a goalless draw at Stamford Bridge.

Players to watch

Ramires

Position: Midfielder

Games: 0

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The Brazil midfielder is a real driving force for the Blues from either a central midfield or wide right position, and his energy and ability on the ball ensures he is a constant menace for the opposition to deal with. The ex-Benfica man can also chip in with a goal or two here and there, and City's defensive midfielders will need to be wary of the 26-year-old's ability to power his way into the penalty area were he can be a real threat.

V. Kompany

Position: Defender

Games: 0

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City's inspirational captain has missed a large chunk of this season through injury, and Roberto Mancini will be wondering what could have been had the Belgian stopped been fit for more of this campaign. As well as being a great organiser, Kompany is a vital presence in both penalty areas, and City's attacking players will be free in the knowledge that their rock-solid skipper is marshaling things at the back.

Editor's Prediction

The FA Cup has been Chelsea's favourite competition in recent years with the Blues winning the trophy six times since the 1996-97 season (more than any other club), and reaching the final four times in the last six seasons. On this occasion, however, you have to wonder whether the Europa League trip to Russia may take its toll with the west Londoners.

Manchester City have just the FA Cup left to play for after disappointment in the Premier League and in Europe this season, and will throw everything they have at Chelsea on Sunday, which may just see them edge it.

Both sides have enough quality to win on the day, but with City targeting just this competition they should be fresher, and that could prove the difference.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

Chelsea

Manchester City

Wins
2
1
2
Wins

Betting & Predictions

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