Mount and Pulisic are key for Chelsea beating Man City while Southampton can shock Leicester despite leaky defence

Mount and Pulisic are key for Chelsea beating Man City while Southampton can shock Leicester despite leaky defence

April 16, 2021

MANCHESTER CITY will go into this semi-final full of confidence, but Chelsea will fancy their chances.

Both sides have had success this season by deploying a false nine but in reality they have moulded it to each of their strengths.


As a centre-back you always want someone to mark and without a striker you always have doubt in your mind.

The interchanging of City’s front three – whether it be Raheem Sterling, Bernando Silva, Riyad Mahrez, Phil Foden or Kevin De Bruyne – makes defenders go looking for their man out wide.

At Chelsea, Thomas Tuchel will always have a man through the middle who drops deep to drag defenders with him to open up space for the midfield runners.

And we all know Tuchel is capable of setting his side’s up to contain opposition attackers and be successful on the counter.

The last four goals Pep Guardiola’s side have conceded have all been from deep runs from the midfield.

Stuart Dallas’ double for Leeds and then Marco Reus and Jude Bellingham in the Champions League ties with Borussia Dortmund.

It means both Mason Mount and Christian Pulisic will be key at Wembley today.

City will be full of confidence after ridding themselves of the Champions League semi-final hoodoo.

It will come down to how both defences deal with the midfield runners.

Because if the likes of Kurt Zouma or Toni Rudiger get dragged out wide, City will have players like Ilkay Gundogan ready to pounce.

And likewise if John Stones or Ruben Dias get sucked in it will allow Chelsea to break them down in the counter attack. 

If Southampton are going to reach the FA Cup final, they will need to respect the occasion just like we did in 2003.

I joined the Saints in January that year – just in time for their historic run to the final against Arsenal.

And if there was one thing I took away from that experience it was respecting the opponents in every game.

I remember Gordon Strachan absolutely losing his rag when all of us, including some staff, celebrated drawing Watford in the semi-final rather than Arsenal or Sheffield United.

He drilled into us that no matter the opponent it was a game we had to respect and go and win.

We went into that tie as favourites, which was odd for a team like Southampton, but got the job done.

Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side will have a different experience against Leicester who are third in the league.

Southampton have had an up and down this season, only West Brom conceding more than them.

But what they do have is match winners in their side with Danny Ings, Theo Walcott and James Ward-Prowse.

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