Pep Guardiola’s treble hopes may be over, but the Premier-League-and-FA-Cup double is still on. We look ahead to Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final with our Manchester City vs Chelsea prediction and preview.  

Manchester City vs Chelsea Stats: The Quick Hits

  • Holders Manchester City are firm favourites to reach the FA Cup final on Saturday, beating Chelsea in 61% of the Opta supercomputer’s match simulations ahead of their semi-final tie.
  • Man City have become the first team in FA Cup history to reach the semi-finals in six straight seasons. However, they have played in six FA Cup semi-finals under Pep Guardiola and have only progressed from two of them.
  • Raheem Sterling scored in both of Chelsea’s Premier League meetings with City this season. He could become the first Blues player to score in three different games against the Citizens in a single campaign.

Match Preview

Manchester City’s reign as UEFA Champions League holders came crashing to a halt in heartbreaking fashion on Wednesday, Pep Guardiola’s men failing to put away a stubborn Real Madrid side before succumbing in a penalty shootout.

While City will have plenty of regrets at the end of a tie they dominated for long periods, they have no time to dwell on that loss as they head to Wembley Stadium for the first of this weekend’s FA Cup semi-finals, to take on Chelsea.

City’s total of 88 touches in the Madrid box on Wednesday was the most on record by any team in a Champions League game (since 2007-08), while their 33 shots were the most in a knockout match in the competition since Liverpool attempted 34 against Atlético Madrid.

Still, they failed to put Carlo Ancelotti’s men away and paid the price in the shootout, with awful kicks from Bernardo Silva and Mateo Kovacic allowing Antonio Rüdiger to win it for Madrid.

Man City Real Madrid Champions League xG Race

With one of their three titles slipping away, City will be determined to avoid a repeat on Saturday, with a potential rematch of last year’s FA Cup final against neighbours Manchester United still on the cards.  

This is the seventh time in eight seasons under Guardiola that City have reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup, and they are the first team in the competition’s 153-year history to reach the last four in six straight campaigns.

However, they have only progressed from two of their six previous semi-final ties under Guardiola – against Brighton and Hove Albion in 2019 and Sheffield United in 2023 – and three of their four losses have come against London clubs (two versus Arsenal, one against Chelsea).

Given the tight turnaround from playing 120 minutes against one of the continent’s best teams on Wednesday, it remains to be seen whether Guardiola will shuffle his pack. One man who will certainly keep his place is Rodri, who scored in both of City’s Premier League games against Chelsea this season. He has never scored on three straight appearances against an opponent in all competitions before.

City have doubts over Erling Haaland, Kevin De Bruyne and Manuel Akanji, all of whom were in discomfort before being substituted against Madrid.

Only Blackburn Rovers’ Sammie Szmodics (six) has bettered Haaland’s tally of five FA Cup goals this season (first round onwards), despite the Norwegian only playing 164 minutes across two appearances in the competition. His ratio of 32.8 minutes per goal is the best of any player to have started a game in this season’s tournament proper.

erling haaland goals fa cup 2023-24

Chelsea boosted their hopes of securing European football via the Premier League on Monday, thrashing a hapless Everton side 6-0 at Stamford Bridge. However, winning their first trophy under the Todd Boehly regime must be their primary goal amid another underwhelming season.

Having suffered an extra-time defeat to Liverpool in February’s EFL Cup final, Chelsea could reach both domestic cup finals in the same season for a third time, having won both in 2006-07 and lost both in 2021-22.

Liverpool (2000-01, 2011-12 and 2021-22) and Man Utd (1982-83, 1993-94 and 2022-23) are the only clubs to have achieved that feat in three separate seasons.

If the Blues are to return to Wembley next month, two former City attackers could have crucial roles to play. Cole Palmer scored four goals – including a wonderful opener and an audacious long-range lob – in Monday’s rout of Everton, taking him to 36 goal involvements across all competitions this season (23 goals, 13 assists). Among all players from Europe’s top five leagues, only Kylian Mbappé (50), Harry Kane (49) and Haaland (37) have more.

Raheem Sterling, meanwhile, scored in both of Chelsea’s league meetings with City this term. He could become the first Blues player to net in three separate games against the Citizens in a single campaign, with this the 12th different season in which the teams have faced off at least three times.

Sterling missed the Everton game through illness but should be back on Saturday, while Chelsea also hope to have Enzo Fernández and Axel Disasi available after they suffered knocks.

The outcome of Saturday’s game could have a huge bearing on the long-term future of Blues boss Mauricio Pochettino, who has failed to progress from four of his eight major semi-finals in his managerial career. He has lost both of his previous FA Cup semi-finals (with Tottenham in 2017 and 2018), as well as his only semi-final versus Guardiola (with PSG in the Champions League in 2021).

Manchester City vs Chelsea Head-to-Head

City are unbeaten through their last eight meetings with Chelsea in all competitions, winning six and drawing two, though both Premier League meetings between the sides this season finished level.

The teams played out a thrilling 4-4 draw at Stamford Bridge in November, with Palmer’s stoppage-time penalty salvaging a point for the Blues, before Rodri cancelled out Sterling’s opener in a 1-1 draw at the Etihad Stadium in February.

Chelsea 4-4 Man City xG race

Chelsea have been eliminated from five of their last seven FA Cup ties against City, including a 4-0 loss on their travels in the third round of last season’s tournament.

However, they did emerge as 1-0 victors when the teams last faced off at the semi-final stage in 2021, with Hakim Ziyech netting the only goal. One month later, they beat the Citizens by the same scoreline in the Champions League final in Porto.

Recent Form

Inside 90 minutes, Chelsea are unbeaten in their last 12 games across all competitions (seven wins, five draws including February’s extra-time defeat to Liverpool). Since last visiting Wembley for the EFL Cup final, they have scored at least two goals in each of their eight matches (26 in total).

The Blues have been eliminated from five of their last six FA Cup ties against the reigning champions, though they did win their most recent such encounter, beating Manchester United 1-0 in the quarter-finals in 2017.

City, meanwhile, are looking to reach the FA Cup final in back-to-back seasons for the third time in their history, previously doing so in 1933 and 1934 and in 1955 and 1956.

Excluding penalty shootouts, they are unbeaten in 28 games in all competitions since December’s 1-0 defeat at Aston Villa (22 wins, six draws).

City have also won 28 of their last 31 FA Cup matches (three defeats), enjoying two 10-game winning streaks in that span, including their current one. The last team to record a longer winning run in the competition was Chelsea (13 games between 2009 and 2011).

Opta Power Rankings

The Opta Power Rankings are a global team ranking system that assigns an ability score to over 13,000 domestic football teams on a scale between zero and 100, where zero is the worst-ranked team in the world and 100 is the best team in the world.

Ahead of kick-off at Wembley, here is the Opta Power Ranking for both sides.

Manchester City vs Chelsea Prediction

man city vs chelsea opta prediction fa cup semi-final

Guardiola will demand a response from his players as City bid to avoid two semi-final eliminations in the space of three days, and the Opta supercomputer expects them to produce.

Of 10,000 match simulations conducted ahead of kick-off, the holders won in 90 minutes in 61.1%.

Chelsea are given just an 18.6% chance of winning in regulation time, and a 20.3% chance of taking the tie to extra-time.

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