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Chelsea v Southampton

Wembley Stadium

London

Sunday, 22nd April 2018
Match Report 
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The moment after the second goal was scored when the players knew it wasn’t going to be their day

Match Report

IBO Reporter : channonite


I was thinking on the way to Wembley, that the last game of any sort that I saw Saints win was the FACup home game against Watford on the 27th January. Prior to that, the last Premier League game victory that I witnessed was as long ago as the 26th November last year, when Saints thumped Everton 4-1. So, the last win of any description was almost three month ago. Still, I wasn't going to let facts get in the way of enjoying the day, after all the team have to win again sometime, don't they?!

Our little group drove down the M4 and up the M5 to Northwood, in surprisingly little traffic. We parked outside a friends house and had lunch in the local Ask restaurant. There were a large family having lunch there, who on seeing our Saints shirts, told us they were Spurs fans and would like nothing more than to see us knock Chelsea out, as their team had lost the other semi-final to Manchester United the day before. We smiled and nodded. Is there anything worse than being patronised by fans of one of the big six teams?

Anyway, having escaped that, we caught the overground underground (Why is it that I hear the Wombles music when I say that?) Metropolitan line to Wembley. Again, without any problem at all. I am just not convinced by having the semi-finals of the cup at Wembley, as there just doesn't seem to be much of an atmosphere. The Chelsea fans in particular, seemed to be just going through the motions, rather than enjoying themselves. I think it might be better to have the semi-finals somewhere like the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff and make the bastard London teams travel.

We found our seats in the stadium and saw that the club had placed large plastic flags on every seat, which in spite of what I said at the time, did actually help create a bit of atmosphere. Somebody near us said that they had seen Rickie Lambert outside and we all agreed that we could certainly do with someone like him now.

As for the line-up for this match, there were no real surprises. Hughes opted for a slight variation on what he has done before. McCarthy in goal and a back five of Cédric, Bednarek, Yoshida, Hoedt and Bertrand, were as expected. Midfield was Lemina, Romeu and Højbjerg with the front pairing of Long and Austin relying on the two full backs/wing backs linking up with them. Even with three centre-backs, it didn't look a negative team.

The first half was all about managing a rampant attacking Chelsea team, with Hazard, Willian and the impressive Kanté threatening to run riot, without actually making McCarthy work too hard. In fact Chelsea only managed two real chances in the whole 45 minutes, although I would say that it was anything but an easy watch. I was just so relieved when we got to half-time with the score still 0-0. Something was going to have to change, as we just didn't look like we would either score, or keep a clean sheet.

Ahhh, the second half. If you read any of the reports on the game, they were all about Chelsea. Fair enough, but not a true picture of the game I watched. We were still settling back into our seats (In fact a few still hadn't made it back), when that bloody Olivier Giroud danced through the massed ranks of Saints players and dinked the ball past McCarthy into the net. 30 seconds of the second half gone and it was 1-0. Bugger. What is it with Giroud? How does he always manage to score against us??

Still, the setback seemed to wake Saints from their slumbers and they started to actually think about attacking. We then went on to see several decent chances carved out and an amazing thunderous shot from Redmond (who replaced Long just after the 60 minute mark), which Caballero just managed to tip over the bar. Long himself had earlier missed a gilt edged chance, which might have been the catalyst for him to be substituted.

Charlie Austin had himself had a couple of half chances, but then, with the score still at 1-0, we came to a heartbreaking moment for Saints fans. The ball came into the Chelsea box and Charlie went for the ball, but stopped, when he realised it was going beyond him. Caballero jumped and gathered the ball, but collided with Charlie on the way down and fumbled the ball over the line. The Saints fans went mental, thinking that they had just seen the equaliser, but the referee, Martin Atkinson, blew for a foul on the Chelsea goalkeeper by Austin. Bugger again.

You just worried that it was going to end in tears, as Saints threw everything at Chelsea, leaving gaps at the back. On 80 minutes Conte took off Giroud and sent on Morata, who had looked distinctly average at St.Mary's the week before. Different matter here. Within two minutes he had the ball in the net, although it did look as if Hoedt had slipped. No matter, it was now 2-0 and Chelsea were in control.

The final straw was the moment that Charlie Austin managed to hit the far post with a shot that then bounced harmlessly away. That was that then, not for us another Wembley Final against Manchester United. Walking back to the underground afterwards, the obnoxious Chelsea fans were doing their level best to goad the Saints fans. They really are a load of graceless gobshites.

Still, we can concentrate on the last four league games now.


Teams 
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It is 37 years since Saints last won the FACup. The next win will not be this year.

Chelsea


1 Caballero

28 Azpilicueta

24 Cahill

2 Rüdiger

15 Moses

4 Fàbregas (Pedro 76')

7 Kanté

33 Emerson

22 Willian (Bakayoko 64')

10 E Hazard

18 Giroud (Morata 80')


Substitutes


8 Barkley

9 Morata

11 Pedro

14 Bakayoko

21 Zappacosta

27 Christensen

37 Eduardo



Southampton


13 McCarthy

35 Bednarek (Gabbiadini 78')

3 Yoshida - Booked 40'

6 Hoedt - Booked 65'

2 Cédric

18 Lemina - Booked 55'

14 Romeu - Booked 50'

23 Højbjerg (Tadić 63')

21 Bertrand

7 Long (Redmond 63')

10 Austin


Substitutes


9 Carrillo

11 Tadić

16 Ward-Prowse

20 Gabbiadini

22 Redmond

38 McQueen

44 Forster



Sunday 22nd April 2018

FA Cup Semi-Final


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Chelsea 2

  • Giroud 46'
  • Morata 82'

Southampton 0



HT 0-0


Referee : Martin Atkinson

Attendance : 73,416



Possession


  • Chelsea 56%
  • Southampton 44%

Shots


  • Chelsea 17
  • Southampton 9

Shots on Target


  • Chelsea 5
  • Southampton 3

Corners


  • Chelsea 6
  • Southampton 5

Fouls


  • Chelsea 6
  • Southampton 15

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Mark Hughes wasn’t the difference