Chelsea vs Crystal Palace: Three big issues which will decide today’s FA Cup semi-final

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 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Chelsea and Crystal Palace face off today with a place in the FA Cup final at stake.

Both teams come into the game with recent setbacks on otherwise encouraging runs of form, as well as relatively recent experience of appearing at Wembley.

Real Madrid knocked Chelsea out of the Champions League in midweek, making this their final chance of a third trophy this season after the European Super Cup and Club World Cup.

Up against last year’s losing finalists are Patrick Vieira’s, who reached the FA Cup final in 2016 and have enjoyed a solid first year under the French manager and his squad brimmed with youthful talent.

Chelsea’s Wembley hoodoo

Wembley has been an unhappy hunting ground for Chelsea in recent times. From back-to-back FA Cup final defeats, to the Carabao Cup penalty shoot-out heartbreak against Liverpool, they have endured misery on this stage.

But Tuchel will do well to remind them of their successes, not least back-to-back FA Cup semi-final wins here, with the chance now to make it a hat-trick.

Can Zaha make Wembley his own?

It would be disrespectful to call Palace a one-man team, but there is no doubt who will spark most fear into Chelsea’s star-studded line-up.

Wilfried Zaha has not had enough opportunities in his career to stand out on the biggest stage, but at Wembley he has the opportunity to further enhance his reputation by seizing the occasion.

Get Madrid out of their system

A Wembley semi-final should be the perfect opportunity to focus Chelsea minds after the emotion of Tuesday night.

The disappointment of going out of the Champions League to Real Madrid in such cruel circumstances at the Bernabeu will live with Tuchel’s side for some time yet. But the season is not over and there is still the chance to put some added shine on it.

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