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Hakim Ziyech Seals FA Cup Semi Final Spot For Chelsea As They See Off Sheffield United 2-0

Published by on March 21st, 2021.


Hakim Ziyech Seals FA Cup Semi Final Spot For Chelsea As They See Off Sheffield United 2-0

Chelsea are through to the FA Cup last four after holding off Sheffield United and winning 2-0 in the quarter-finals on Sunday.

The home side dominated most of the opening quarter of the game without creating too many chances, but the pressure told when Ben Chilwell’s fizzed, low shot was directed into his own net by the outstretched boot of Oliver Norwood.

While the performance of the Blades was improved from their drubbing at Leicester last weekend in terms of organisation, they rarely threatened or got players into the attacking penalty box, leaving Kepa Arrizabalaga a mere spectator between routine saves at the start and end of the first half.

Christian Pulisic created himself a couple of shooting chances either side of the break after good individual runs, but David McGoldrick missed a glorious opportunity to net an equaliser when he sent a diving header wide from five yards.

A late flurry of attacks from the away side threatened an equaliser and Rhian Brewster almost found the bottom corner but for a deflection, before Hakim Ziyech netted one in injury time on the break to leave Thomas Tuchel with another win and another clean sheet, plus a semi-final to look forward to.

Here are the player ratings from the game at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea

 

Kepa Arrizabalaga – 7. A very quiet first half which saw him make easy saves in the first and 45th minutes. A decent save to his right after the hour but a fairly routine outing overall.

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Andreas Christensen – 7. Maybe the most in-form player at the club since Tuchel took over and another good showing here, despite being on the right of three rather than central on this occasion.

Kurt Zouma – 8. Wasn’t bullied by the powerful, aerially-proficient attacking pair. Always sound in possession and had the pace to make the difference more than once.

Emerson Palmieri – 7. A surprise pick as the left-sided centre-back but coped well, won a few aerial battles and cleared his lines easily.

Callum Hudson-Odoi – 7. A good outlet for the Blues and continued to show why Tuchel rates him as a regular starter, though faded out of the game when moved up front.

Billy Gilmour – 6. His usual excellent self with his passing range when Chelsea were dominant, but was often bypassed after the break when the Blades were on top.

Mateo Kovacic – 7. Typically energetic and excellent with his passing, including the sprayed ball out to the right which ultimately led to the opening goal.

Ben Chilwell – 6. Looks a little short of his natural attacking instincts at the moment and didn’t produce the type of performance which would see him reinstated as first choice.

Mason Mount – 7. Hard-working, clever between the lines and created openings first half; dropped deeper and picked up the ball very deep later in the game as Sheffield United pushed for an equaliser.

Christian Pulisic – 7. Showed flashes of danger, but also the lack of finishing touch which is a result of him not being in the team too much of late. Spurned a great one-on-one chance, but superb footwork to fashion his own chances.

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Olivier Giroud – 6. An hour of toil and infrequent link-up play, with Chelsea not really creating too many openings.

Subs

Reece James – 6. Didn’t get up to speed with the game quickly enough but helped relieve pressure late in the game.

Cesar Azpilicueta – 5. Easily beaten more than once.

Hakim Ziyech – 6. Late goal to wrap up the win.

Kai Havertz – 5. Lost possession too easily.

N’Golo Kante – n/a

<p>Pulisic impressed for Chelsea</p>
Pulisic impressed for Chelsea

(AFP via Getty Images)

 

Sheffield United

Aaron Ramsdale – 6. Made a fine stop from Pulisic and could do nothing about the own goal.

George Baldock – 6. Cleared his lines with regularity, played out from the back with authority for the most part.

Phil Jagielka – 6. A solid showing in undoubtedly difficult personal circumstances.

Enda Stevens – 5. Really struggled against Pulisic defensively and sent a late headed chance wide.

Jayden Bogle – 7. Had a slow start but really improved after the break and was a big part of the Blades’ late attempts to get back in the game.

John Lundstrum – 7. Sent the best cross of the game into the Chelsea six-yard box, but McGoldrick couldn’t finish. Worked hard and made plenty of challenges in the middle.

Oliver Norwood – 5. A reactive attempt to block the shot resulted in him putting through his own net, while his passing in the centre of the park was erratic at best.

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John Fleck – 6. Neat build-up with his attacking contributions at times but not incisive in the final third.

Ben Osborn – 7. Got into some very decent positions down the left flank but didn’t have the speed or skill to win his one-on-one duels.

David McGoldrick – 7. Made all the running off the ball, worked the channels well and tried to bring combination play for the Blades – but missed the biggest chance, sending a diving header wide from five yards.

Oliver McBurnie – 5. Ran about hard for the opening five minutes trying to close down Chelsea’s playing out from the back, then might as well have started to head home. Contributed nothing and gave the ball away too easily.

Subs

Oli Burke – 5. Not much impact after coming on up front.

Rhian Brewster – 6. Almost smashed in the equaliser, deflected just wide.

Lys Mousset – n/a

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