The FA Cup
ChelseaChelsea4TottenhamTottenham Hotspur2

Chelsea 4-2 Tottenham Hotspur

By Phil McNultyChief football writer at Wembley Stadium

Eden Hazard came off the bench to make the decisive contribution as Chelsea won an FA Cup semi-final classic against Tottenham at Wembley.

Hazard had been rested, along with Diego Costa, as Chelsea manager Antonio Conte shuffled his pack against a Spurs side high on confidence after closing to within four points of their London rivals in the Premier League title race.

But the Belgian emerged as substitute to help settle an enthralling encounter.

Willian, in for Hazard, gave Chelsea the lead with a fine free-kick after five minutes but Harry Kane levelled for Spurs with an instinctive stooping header. Willian put Conte's side back in front from the penalty spot just before the break - Son Heung-min penalised for a foul on Victor Moses.

Spurs seemed to have the momentum after Dele Alli converted Christian Eriksen's brilliant pass seven minutes after half-time - before Hazard was introduced as Chelsea's trump card, along with Costa, on the hour.

Hazard drove powerfully past Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris after 75 minutes and Nemanja Matic set up an appearance alongside Arsenal or Manchester City in the FA Cup final with a spectacular drive five minutes later.

Conte's big call pays off

Conte raised eyebrows with a team selection that saw Belgian outcast Michy Batshuayi given a rare outing on this huge occasion.

It led to suggestions Conte was prioritising the Premier League title race with Spurs after last weekend's jaded performance in a 2-0 defeat at Manchester United.

The winner takes the spoils, though, and Conte has every right to accept the plaudits as Chelsea won a magnificent game of football to reach the final.

Conte used Hazard and Costa at a crucial juncture - on the hour, with Spurs building a head of attacking steam and looking the more assertive side - after Alli had equalised for the second time.

Hazard, a scourge of Spurs having scored the goal that effectively ended their title chances last season, was involved in what turned out to be the defining moment 15 minutes after coming on, hitting a low drive that gave Chelsea a lead they would not surrender.

It was also an illustration that the strength of Chelsea's squad runs deeper than Tottenham's as they were able not only to bring on Hazard and Costa but also Cesc Fabregas to change the face of the game.

Spurs counterpart Mauricio Pochettino did not enjoy such success with his tactical tweaks, especially the decision to play Son as a left wing-back.

The South Korean never settled to his task or looked like reproducing the attacking threat that has been such a feature of Spurs' recent outstanding run of form - and his decision to go to ground provided an open invitation for referee Martin Atkinson to award a 43rd-minute penalty for his challenge on Moses.

Conte and Chelsea were the winners of this battle.

Spurs' Wembley curse strikes again

Thunderous Matic strike sends Chelsea to brink of victory

If Spurs do make Wembley their home next season while a new stadium is built at White Hart Lane, they must somehow find a way of lifting the curse that has afflicted them on recent visits here.

Since beating Chelsea 2-1 to left the League Cup in 2008, they have played at Wembley nine times - winning once, losing six times and drawing once before today.

This was their third FA Cup semi-final loss in that time, following a 2-0 loss to Portsmouth in the 2010 FA Cup semi-final and a 5-1 loss to Chelsea two years later. They also lost League Cup finals to Manchester United in 2009 and Chelsea in 2015.

The Champions League also proved an unhappy home this season as they went out at the group phase after staging their games at Wembley.

As the Spurs players trooped off, they must have wondered what they have to do to win here because - for large parts - this was an excellent performance in a match of the highest quality.

Spurs looked to have the game in their hands at 2-2 but could not provide the sure touch in front of goal that has served them so well in recent times, despite dominating possession.

This failing was underlined by Chelsea's ability to ruthlessly punish every Spurs flaw, from Lloris not quite covering Willian's free-kick to Son's injudicious dive to concede the penalty.

Spurs are developing into a side with outstanding talent in all parts of the pitch but they were brought down by Chelsea's streetwise, experienced approach and Conte's clever use of his greater resources.

Will Chelsea's win settle the title race?

Spurs must have felt the door to a Premier League title triumph was ajar after their seventh successive home win against Bournemouth last weekend reduced Chelsea's lead to four points before they lost at Old Trafford.

Chelsea were hit hard by that loss and suddenly questions were being asked about a team that looked to be making serene progress towards the finishing line, as Spurs suddenly appeared on their shoulders.

This, however, was an emphatic response of resilience and brilliance from Conte's side as they reasserted themselves over their closest rivals with a win they will hope has enough psychological impact to give them that extra push towards a title that has looked theirs for so long.

Man of the match - Nemanja Matic (Chelsea)

Nemanja Matic's goal, his first for Chelsea since 7 May last year, was the pick of the bunch and came from his only shot on target, but the midfielder also boasted his side's best passing accuracy (87%)

'As a coach, you must take a strong decision'

Chelsea more clinical than Spurs - Pochettino

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino: "I feel proud. We were fantastic in the way we played and in our philosophy. They had five shots and scored four goals and we score only two. The penalty for me was a soft penalty or was not a penalty.

"Only now we can look forward. We are four points behind them and we will try to win our next game. I am not worried. The team is strong; we are focused. We were competing today with one of the best teams in Europe. Did we deserve more? Sure, but that is football.

"Now we will try to be calm, watch the game again and try to improve. We are in a process of trying to improve. If we cannot win the FA Cup this season we will try again next season."

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte: "I am proud for this achievement. It is great for the players for me. This is my first season in England and it is great to fight for the title and reach the final of the FA Cup, a great competition.

"During the season there is a moment as a coach you must take a strong decision. You have to take a risk. If you win the plan worked, if you don't the responsibility is on you. I think today our plan worked very well."

Conte 'proud' to reach FA Cup final

Chelsea goalscorer Nemanja Matic: "It was a nice goal! But first of all I want to say I am very happy for the team, that we're going to play in the final.

"It's great when you have a chance to play in this stadium. For our supporters, you can see this is something special. To have a chance to win this trophy is significant for us as players.

"This result gives us more confidence of course - it's always good to win. Now we have to recover quickly for the next game on Tuesday."

Lucky number seven for Chelsea - the stats

  • Chelsea have reached their seventh FA Cup final of the 21st century, more than any other side in that time (Arsenal could equal it on Sunday).
  • Tottenham have now lost their past seven FA Cup semi-finals in a row, the longest ever such run in the competition.
  • Eden Hazard has scored five goals against Tottenham in his Chelsea career, more than he has against any other side.
  • Christian Eriksen's two assists mean he has provided more than any other player in all competitions among Europe's big five leagues this season (20).
  • Including penalty shootouts, Chelsea have won 10 fixtures at the new Wembley Stadium, second only to Manchester United (11).
  • Meanwhile, Tottenham have suffered seven defeats at the ground (including shootouts), more than any other side.
  • Harry Kane has scored 21 goals in his last 24 London derby matches in all competitions for Spurs.
  • Dele Alli has 20 goals in all competitions this season, double his tally from last season.

What's next?

Both teams turn their attention back to the Premier League title race in midweek.

Chelsea host Southampton at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday (19:45 BST), while Tottenham visit Crystal Palace on Wednesday (20:00 BST).



Formation 3-4-3

  • 13Courtois
  • 28Azpilicueta
  • 30David Luiz
  • 6Aké
  • 15Moses
  • 7KantéBooked at 90mins
  • 21Matic
  • 3AlonsoBooked at 45mins
  • 22WillianSubstituted forE Hazardat 61'minutes
  • 23BatshuayiSubstituted forDiego Costaat 61'minutes
  • 11PedroSubstituted forFàbregasat 74'minutes


  • 1Begovic
  • 4Fàbregas
  • 5Zouma
  • 10E Hazard
  • 19Diego Costa
  • 26Terry
  • 29Chalobah


Formation 3-4-2-1

  • 1Lloris
  • 15Dier
  • 4AlderweireldBooked at 4mins
  • 5Vertonghen
  • 16Trippier
  • 12WanyamaSubstituted forNkoudouat 80'minutes
  • 19Dembélé
  • 7Son Heung-MinSubstituted forWalkerat 68'minutes
  • 23Eriksen
  • 20AlliBooked at 73mins
  • 10Kane


  • 2Walker
  • 9Janssen
  • 14Nkoudou
  • 17Sissoko
  • 27Wimmer
  • 30López
  • 33Davies
Martin Atkinson

Match Stats

Home TeamChelseaAway TeamTottenham
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Chelsea 4, Tottenham Hotspur 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Chelsea 4, Tottenham Hotspur 2.

  3. Post update

    Foul by Kyle Walker (Tottenham Hotspur).

  4. Post update

    Marcos Alonso (Chelsea) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  5. Post update

    Attempt saved. Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

  6. Booking

    N'Golo Kanté (Chelsea) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  7. Post update

    Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  8. Post update

    Foul by N'Golo Kanté (Chelsea).

  9. Post update

    Attempt missed. Christian Eriksen (Tottenham Hotspur) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Dele Alli.

  10. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Christian Eriksen.

  11. Post update

    Attempt missed. Diego Costa (Chelsea) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Cesc Fàbregas with a cross.

  12. Post update

    Foul by Mousa Dembélé (Tottenham Hotspur).

  13. Post update

    Cesc Fàbregas (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  14. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Marcos Alonso (Chelsea) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked.

  15. Post update

    Mousa Dembélé (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  16. Post update

    Foul by Cesc Fàbregas (Chelsea).

  17. Goal!

    Goal! Chelsea 4, Tottenham Hotspur 2. Nemanja Matic (Chelsea) left footed shot from outside the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Eden Hazard.

  18. Substitution

    Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur. Georges-Kévin Nkoudou replaces Victor Wanyama.

  19. Post update

    Foul by Victor Wanyama (Tottenham Hotspur).

  20. Post update

    Eden Hazard (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the attacking half.


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