Chelsea reach FA Cup final but Southampton disappointed to be denied controversial no-goal

JJ Bull
Giroud celebrates - AFP

4:57PM

Is this a foul?

Credit: AFP

Have your say!

 

4:56PM

Francis Benali is a paranoid android

"It's hard for me to control my emotions. Sides like Southampton do not get the decision big sides do. It's not a foul, it's over the line. "

Frank Lampard

"No it wasn't a foul. Graham Poll says you can't touch the goalkeeper if they're in the air - you might as well give them a VIP rope and a bouncer. It's not a foul, it should have been a goal for Southampton."

4:51PM

CHELSEA REACH THE FA CUP FINAL!

Chelsea beat SOuthampton

Heartbreak for Southampton fans, joy for Chelsea as they book a meeting with Man Utd back here at Wembley at the end of the season! Southampton offered too little too late, came to frustrate and were sent home disappointed. The unambitious gameplan they brought to the table is the same that occasionally produces upsets but wasn't the right one for today and Chelsea didn't really have to work awfully hard to win this one.

4:49PM

90 mins +4

Hazard (deservedly) gets MOTM. Rudiger takes exception to a strong tackle by Austin. Hughes stalks the touchline, annoyed that the referee is still sorting out Rudiger and Austin rather than continue play.

4:47PM

90 mins +2

Hazard is clever there. Pedro sprints on the counter-attack, plays Hazard in with a pass to the space, Hazard faces up to his man, twists and turns, passes to Moses, gets it back and goes backwards, just looking to cool things down. There's no need to rush a shot here, Chelsea just need to see the game out.

4:45PM

90 mins

Well that's interesting. Apparently the law that Graham Poll quoted as the reason for Austin being penalised for standing near the goalkeeper is nonsense! That would have changed the game. I seem to remember Southampton having bad referee luck last season too...

4:43PM

88 mins

Southampton are going for it, getting players forward and trying to work the ball into the box. Caballero catches a cross from wide right. 

4:42PM

87 mins

Austin attacks a cross early on the volley but boots it over. Hope beginning to fade for Southampton.

4:41PM

86 mins

Morata is in again! How is he finding this space? Another direct pass puts him into the Southampton box, he controls, goes wide and then shoots but the goalkeeper blocks. 

4:40PM

84 mins

SOUTHAMPTON HIT THE POST! They get forward, Austin finds space on the right and tries to put the ball back across goal! The shot comes flying back off the woodwork. Chelsea attack and Morata's shot is cleared off the line! 

4:39PM

GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLL!!!!

Morata goal

And Morata has scored with his second touch! Azpilicueta provides a brilliant assist, crossing from wide right but Morata's positioning and movement is perfect to take advantage of it. He heads low past the goalkeeper 86 seconds after coming on the pitch!

4:37PM

82 mins

Credit: AFP

Hazard is the best player on the pitch by about 20 miles. He's really working hard for the team too, chasing down loose balls, looking to win the ball back when he loses it.

4:35PM

80 mins

Gabbiadini on for Bernarek. That must be a change of shape for Southampton now.

He's involved straight away, chest controls a bouncing ball and then shoots! But he's offside.

And now Morata comes on for Giroud.

4:33PM

78 mins

Chelsea might want to try and calm things down for a bit. They've switched back from a 3-5-2 to the same 3-4-3 they started the game with, presumably to ensure they have more of an attacking threat and don't just sit waiting for Southampton to equalise.

Hazard has been brilliant today. He nips away on the right, blasts a low ball into the area and somehow it ends up on the roof of the net. Corner. 

4:31PM

76 mins

Graham Poll says it was a foul because Caballero has both feet in the air and is touched. You can't do that. Southampton haven't been robbed, according to the rules of the game!

Pedro comes on for Fabregas.

4:30PM

73 mins

The ball drops to Redmond 25 yards out... he can hit these! HE DOES! OOOHHHH it's gone just wide! Caballero gets down to block it and somehow that's gone wide! He didn't look to have saved that... more got in the way! Which is technically the same thing.

The ball comes back into the area, Caballero tries to catch the ball, misses it, Austin is standing there, the ball looks like it goes over the line! It must be a goal! But the referee says Austin fouled him! He didn't! That's a terrible decision - Southampton robbed of a goal!

saints goal

 

4:27PM

71 mins

Credit: REUTERS

Hazard gets to the goal-line, turns and then tries a Rabona cross to the back post! Moses goes for a bicycle kick, just to make sure the goal hits all the right flair buttons, but doesn't connect. Chelsea win a throw.

4:24PM

69 mins

Southampton win a corner, it's whipped into the near post, comes off Austin's head and deflects off... someone... for another corner! That looked a lot like it may have hit Giroud's arm. VAR is in use for this game but as of yet, they haven't pulled play back for a surprise penalty. 

Tadic takes the corner but Emerson gets a good clearing header on it. Southampton are pushed much higher and Chelsea are having to defend.

4:22PM

67 mins

Hoedt is booked for a lunge on Hazard near the corner flag. Chelsea free-kick. Headed away.

Bertrand gets into space on the left and crosses to the back post... nobody is there to attack it! Much better from Southampton.

4:20PM

64 mins

Long goes down in the area as Cahill battles him for a header but it's never, ever a penalty.

Long comes off for Tadic and will sit on that substitutes bench with Vietnam style flashbacks of the chance he missed a few minutes ago. 

Chelsea make a switch too - Willian is replaced by Bakayoko. The Chelsea fans boo the decision, Willian shakes his head as he walks off and then goes straight down the tunnel. It does kind of make sense. Saints are going all out attack, Chelsea need to make sure they aren't fragile.

4:16PM

61 mins

Hazard dribbles a good 50 yards, making Romeu slip with a little shift of balance, but Giroud and Willian can't do anything with the pass which comes to the edge of the box. 

Fabregas is really testing the defence with his passing.

And here comes Tadic! And Redmond. Hughes going for the attacking switch earlier than he might have wanted.

4:13PM

59 mins

Giroud gets some treatment and hobbles off the pitch. He'll be alright.

Credit: AP

 

4:12PM

57 mins

Giroud takes a knock to his ankle as he tries to jump over a tackle from Romeu. He's still down and seems like Romeu's thigh has caught the foot - it's not worth a second yellow but probably should've been a free-kick.

4:10PM

55 mins

WHAT A CHANCE FOR LONG! It's a great ball into his path but his first touch is awful and takes him wide of the goalkeeper - who is the only player between him and the goal - and out for a goal kick. 

Southampton have woken up and are playing further up the pitch now. This is more like it!

4:08PM

54 mins

Credit: GETTY IMAGES

 

4:08PM

53 mins

Southampton keep following the Chelsea forward as they drop deep to receive the ball. Hazard, Willian and Giroud have a man glued to their shirt as they come into take the direct pass from the centre-back and lay it back, and that is disrupting the Chelsea buildup. 

Austin is caught just offside as he looks to be in behind the Chelsea defence. He'd put his attempted lob over the goal anyway.

4:06PM

51 mins

Southampton win a corner, it's curled in and Cahill is fouled. How will the Saints respond to that goal? They're not set up to attack - do you stick with the gameplan and attack in the final 15/20 minutes or make a switch now and bring Tadic or Ward-Prose into the game?

4:04PM

49 mins

Fabregas puts in a tackle on Long and he goes down in the area! Is that a penalty?! No! Replays show that's the right decision.

This is much better from Chelsea! They're going at Southampton and, just like we spoke about earlier, are getting joy from it. 

4:03PM

GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL!

giroud goal

GIROUD'S DONE IT! A long ball forward, a brilliant first touch from Hazard and Giroud shows great feet and balance to keep the ball close, dribble past two defenders and the goalkeeper as he stumbles towards the ground, and then stabs it into the back of the net!

4:01PM

KICK OFF 2

KICK OFF 2 chelsea

 We're back! Most of the people in the seats opposite the camera at Wembly aren't.

3:54PM

Reaction

Southampton need to offer some shred of evidence that they're not just holding out for a draw here. Francis Benali says it's a case of staying in the game for the Southampton but that's not enough - regardless of how poor they've been, they still play in the same league as Chelsea!

Sure, they've gone in at 0-0 and have defended well. It's not hard to do that if you have nine men behind the ball. Chelsea wasted the opportunity to really go at them - perhaps that caution served them well. 

I predict a more attacking Southampton in minute 70 onwards. Once they've negotiated a tricky 25 minutes, it'll be time to get stuck in. That's when Chelsea's patient waiting game will turn into Hazard and Willian's playground.

3:45PM

HALF TIME

half time chelsea saints

Southampton creep forward for the final few seconds but they don't do anything with it. Slow, passive, easy to defend against it, always going sideways or backwards. Not dreadful... just painfully average. Uninspired. Chelsea should have done much better in that half. 

3:44PM

45 mins

A loose pass is intercepted by a Southampton midfielder... there's a chance to break! He passes backwards. What is the plan here? To lose 1-0? 

3:42PM

43 mins

Credit: REUTERS

 Yoshida is booked for going through the back of Giroud. Chelsea have the ball on the edge of the area but Southampton have everyone behind the ball and block any shot or cross that comes their way.

3:40PM

42 mins

Jermaine Jenas is getting annoyed with Southampton now. "The strikers have nothing to work with, no crosses, no nothing," he says. 

Suddenly Chelsea attack down the left and Emerson chips a great ball into the area. Nobody is there. Chelsea are being too cautious here - Southampton are there to be taken. 

3:39PM

40 mins

Chelsea still haven't really threatened though. They seem nervous, unsure at what to do, but if they went all in and just pounded the Southampton half with waves of attack, there are goals to be had here. Semi-finals at Wembley do strange things to great players.

But they come forward now, the ball is sent into the area, Giroud controls on his shin and then tries a volley at goal inside the box! Wide. 

3:37PM

38 mins

Tadic and Ward-Prowse are on the bench, and while the midfield is stronger defensively as a result, they can't keep the ball nor create anything.

You can forgive Hughes for being cautious, considering he's lost 5-0 and 4-0 to Chelsea with Stoke and then 3-2 last week, but this is... this is boring.

3:36PM

35 mins

 Southampton are sat really deep here. The defensive line is basically on the 18 yard box - it's so unambitious and there's no structure to anything. It's just 'defend and hope something happens'. I don't understand what Hughes wants to do here - if they win it'll be through hardwork and luck, he could at least help them out a bit.

saints line

 

3:33PM

33 mins

Another Chelsea corner. Willian takes it and it's flicked on at the near post! Nobody's there to convert and the ball goes behind for a goal kick. 

3:31PM

31 mins

Azpilicueta wins a corner. McCarthy comes to claim it but he spills! Can Chelsea make use of this?! No. 

3:29PM

29 mins

Southampton look so tame here. They're denying Chelsea opportunities to shoot but have nothing going forward. The plan is hit balls over the defence for Long to chase. A tactical masterclass from Mark Hughes.

3:27PM

27 mins

Credit: REUTERS

Chelsea are waiting for Southampton to come out of their shell, Southampton don't seem mind hiding in it.  

3:24PM

25 mins

Southampton are going backwards, sideways and don't seem to have much ambition to take the game to Chelsea. They're rigid and Chelsea are winning the ball easily. 

But Lemina steals it back in the Chelsea half, steps forward and shoots from distance. It's low and Caballero saves comfortably.

3:23PM

23 mins

Southampton give the ball away again and Willian tries to bring it out of the Chelsea half but is closed down and tackled. Giroud drops back to help out with aerial battles and Chelsea win a free-kick.

3:20PM

20 mins

Southampton try to keep possession for a bit, pass around themselves, and then put the ball out for a throw-in without any real pressure. They don't look very good here. It's all extremely medium. 

3:18PM

18 mins

Credit: GETTY IMAGES

 Southampton are set up to defend and frustrate. It's all very slow, they want to contain them and try to gain ground by hitting the ball long and following up. It's a matter of when Chelsea will score in this game, not whether they will. They're not fully at it yet.

3:14PM

15 mins

Willian hits it over the bar. 

3:13PM

14 mins

Hazard is played into the box, controls it and tries to get the ball out his feet to shoot! Yoshida dives in and is able to hook the ball away from him.

Chelsea win a free-kick 20 yards out. This is absolutely perfect for Willian to hit.

willian freekick

 

3:11PM

12 mins

Mark Hughes was knocked out of the FA Cup in the third round this season when he was in charge of Stoke. Imagine he ends up being in charge of two relegated teams in the same year. Imagine. 

Chelsea win a corner but Southampton get it clear.

3:09PM

10 mins

Willian shows great pace to keep the ball in play and then takes it inside past Yoshida... but he slips inside the box. That's so unlucky. Chelsea look the more dangerous of the two sides here. 

3:07PM

8 mins

Credit: AFP

Cedric puts the ball down the right wing, Long puts the defender off, Austin snaps at the shot but boots it wide.

Romeu comes forward but has lost control of the ball! Chelsea can counter! Hazard brings it out at pace, Willian comes inside onto his left foot and shoots... OFF THE BAR! The goalkeeper was beaten! 

3:05PM

6 mins

Hazard is alive today! He turns his man, puts the ball on his left foot and then shoots towards the top corner! It's a great strike too! But flies narrowly over the bar.

3:04PM

4 mins

Conte has "told his players to play with fire in their eyes" says Ian Darke. They'll need to bring the heat if they're going to get past this deep, defensive Southampton side. They're back in a 5-4-1 as Chelsea pass the ball around.

3:02PM

2 mins

Saints pump it long from the start, Chelsea win the ball and Hazard strides through the centre of the pitch but overruns it. It's a bit scrappy in the opening few seconds.

3:00PM

KICK OFF

saints kick off

Here we go! Southampton get the game started.

2:56PM

Here come the players!

Wembley is bouncing and bathed in sunshine. Flags everywhere.

2:47PM

Manager pre-match words

Antonio Conte

"We must be focused in this game. We must pay great attention.

"Until the 60 minutes we were 2-0 down and then we were good to come back and win 3-2. This is a competition very strange, it is unpredictable and we must pay great attention."

Mark Hughes

"This competition has been really good for me as a player, I try to tap into those memories to tell the guys.

"On the day we were clearly disappointed with the result, we couldn't clear our heads and they scored three goals. If we can cut out a few mistakes we feel we can go really close today."

2:44PM

Giroud vs Morata

Olivier Giroud gets the nod today with Morata dropped to the bench. They're different sorts of player, Morata preferring to drop deeper to get on the ball and Giroud prowling territory the length of the penalty area. Giroud scored twice in the 3-2 win over Southampton.

2:33PM

The trick to winning a semi-final

Frank Lampard

"Concentration during the game and the small details. The worst thing is when it passes you by and you feel like you didn't give everything."

Steven Gerrard

"You've got to stop the opposition's threats, Hazard, Willian, get as tight as possible."

2:16PM

What will Hughes have learned?

What Southampton can learn from Chelsea

Here's a tactical preview looking at the lessons Southampton should have learned from that defeat to Chelsea in their last meeting.  

2:09PM

Chelsea players making their way to the dressing room

Credit: GETTY IMAGES

 

2:01PM

Southampton starting lineup

 

2:00PM

Chelsea starting lineup

 

1:58PM

Hello!

It's FA Cup semi-final day! Wowowowowow! It's absolutely beautiful weather at Wembley, the marathon is all finished and now we're in for a football feast as Chelsea take on Southampton.

Credit: SOUTHAMPTON FC

 Last time these two played, Mark Hughes' team threw away a 2-0 lead and anything could happen today. The teams should be with us soon, at which point we'll be able to work out what the gameplans are but the matches leading up to this suggest Chelsea will be in a familiar 3-4-3 while the Saints will be in Hughes' new 3-4-3. It hasn't looked great so far.