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Chelsea let down by star as Pep Guardiola finds timely answer in FA Cup semi-final win


Pep Guardiola’s side are still on course for a league and cup double, after a late Bernardo Silva goal proved the difference against Chelsea. Manchester City are set for back-to-back FA Cup final appearances, but it’s yet more Wembley heartbreak for Mauricio Pochettino’s men, whose hopes of qualifying for Europe next season are now hanging by a thread.

Chelsea will leave Wembley the more frustrated of the two sides, after the two-time European champions spurned several chances throughout the 90 minutes. Cole Palmer, Nicolas Jackson and Noni Madueke all came close for Chelsea, who were left to rue their wasted opportunities.

In the end, it was Bernardo who won the game for City, with the Portuguese star redeeming himself after Wednesday night’s penalty shoot-out heartbreak against Real Madrid.

Jackson strengthens Chelsea transfer case with missed chances 

It was the same old story for Jackson against City. Plenty of promise, but not enough product.

If it wasn’t for the Senegal international’s missed chances, the capital club could’ve been home and dry in the first half alone. From 1v1 misses to close-range sitters, it was an afternoon to forget for Jackson in north London.

It could raise questions for Pochettino and co. ahead of the summer transfer window, with Chelsea reportedly considering entering the market for a centre forward. Jackson can be proud of his efforts during his debut campaign in England, but for Chelsea to go to the next level, they may need to find an alternative number-nine.

Another trophyless season for the billion-pound spenders 

What next for the Todd Boehly project at Chelsea? The Blues are all but certain to miss out on Champions League football for a second consecutive season, with the Stamford Bridge outfit also flagging behind in the race for European qualification.

Three of the four players brought off the bench to change the game were signed during the Boehly era, but in the end, it was another poor showing. Despite the money spent, Chelsea look like a team without a plan – something Boehly will have to address if he wants to deliver success.

Doku finds role after mixed start to City career

For the second time in as many matches, Guardiola rang a second-half Jeremy Doku for Jack Grealish change. It had initially worked wonders for City on Wednesday night against Real Madrid, with the Belgian influential in helping drag City back into the tie.

Doku once again impressed at Wembley on Saturday, with the 21-year-old enjoying success down Chelsea’s left-hand side. Coming close with a shot himself, it was Doku who slipped Kevin De Bruyne in behind the Chelsea backline, with his compatriot crossing for Bernardo Silva’s opener.

And it appears Doku might’ve found his ideal role in the City side. Having struggled as a starter at times this season, the youngster looks well-suited to coming off the bench and making an impact against tired legs.

Palmer aides Euros case after stellar showing 

It wasn’t a match filled with quality, but – not for the first time this season – Palmer was the standout Chelsea man. With a point to prove against his former side, the Englishman dazzled in Chelsea’s attack, while causing the City backline problems throughout.

Enjoying the best chance of the first half, Palmer skipped past Rodri inside the penalty area, before seeing a curled effort tipped away by Stefan Ortega. The bright sparks continued into the second period, with Palmer’s pin-point cross finding the head of Jackson, who failed to convert from close range.

With less than two months until Gareth Southgate names his squad for the European Championships, Palmer looks to have gone from a contender to a certainty.

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