FA Cup 2018: Final Schedule After Semi-Final Results

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistApril 22, 2018

Chelsea's French striker Olivier Giroud (R) celebrates with Chelsea's Italian head coach Antonio Conte after scoring the opening goal during the English FA Cup semi-final football match between Chelsea and Southampton at Wembley Stadium in London, on April 22, 2018. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / AFP) / NOT FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING USE / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE        (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)

Chelsea will meet Manchester United in the 2018 FA Cup final after beating Southampton 2-0 at Wembley Stadium on Sunday thanks to goals from Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata.

The final will take place on May 19 at Wembley, with Chelsea having the chance to make up for losing last season's final to Arsenal. Meanwhile, 2016 winners United will be looking to lift the trophy for a record-equalling 13th time.

United booked their place in the final after coming from a goal down to beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 on Saturday, with Alexis Sanchez and Ander Herrera getting on the scoresheet.

Sanchez guided United to the final.
Sanchez guided United to the final.Frank Augstein/Associated Press

Schedule details for the showpiece match have yet to be released, but Alex Young of the London Evening Standard confirmed BT Sport and the BBC have broadcast rights in the UK. Fox Sports has coverage in the U.S.

Chelsea won after overcoming a drab first-half display. Specifically, the Blues struggled for ideas in front of Southampton's deep defensive wall.

Saints sat back in numbers and kept their discipline, although as BBC Match of the Day pointed out, they didn't show much ambition going forward during the opening 45 minutes:

Match of the Day @BBCMOTD

Average positions in #CHESOU so far... Even Southampton's strikers are barely getting out of their own half! The Saints have weathered the storm, though... #FACup #bbcfacup https://t.co/EeCIJ5yKJ3

In fairness to Southampton, their approach stymied the Blues, who despite seeing Willian hit the bar, offered little.

Chelsea needed a spark and got one 27 seconds after the restart, when Giroud produced some terrific footwork before finding the net.

The goal continued Giroud's habit of producing in the cup, as OptaJoe highlighted:

OptaJoe @OptaJoe

22 - Olivier Giroud has had a hand in 22 goals in his 26 FA Cup appearances (15 goals, 7 assists), more than any other player in the competition since his debut in January 2013. Dancing. https://t.co/CiB4xUSZLZ

Sky Sports Statto showed where Giroud, who won the trophy three times with Arsenal, ranks for cup goals since moving to the Premier League from Montpellier HSC in 2012:

Sky Sports Statto @SkySportsStatto

Most @EmiratesFACup goals since start of 2012-13 season 15 - OLIVIER GIROUD 15 - Sergio Aguero 13 - Danny Hylton 12 - Romelu Lukaku 10 - Theo Walcott https://t.co/dzcPwDCY0i

A quite brilliant save from Chelsea goalkeeper Willy Caballero denied Nathan Redmond as Southampton piled on late pressure.

Chelsea lost some impetus when manager Antonio Conte elected to substitute Willian for destructive central midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko. Goal's Nizaar Kinsella noted the forward wasn't best pleased at being hooked:

Nizaar Kinsella @NizaarKinsella

Willian went straight down the tunnel. Seemed unimpressed, just like when he was subbed in last season's FA Cup semi. #CFC #CHESOU #facupsemifinal

Even so, a place in the final was Chelsea's six minutes from time, when Cesar Azpilicueta crossed for Morata to head in. Saints tried a late flurry, but they couldn't find a breakthrough against a resolute Chelsea side determined to make up for a miserable defence of the Premier League title by earning another chance for cup glory.

United will have something to say about that. The Red Devils are armed with a plethora of match-winners in Sanchez, a scorer against the Blues in last year's final, and Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku.

Mourinho and Conte's rivalry will continue with a trophy on the line.
Mourinho and Conte's rivalry will continue with a trophy on the line.Getty Images/Getty Images

Conte has had his issues with United counterpart Jose Mourinho, while the two split their league encounters this season, with the Blues winning 1-0 at Stamford Bridge in November before losing 2-1 at Old Trafford in February.

Expect another close encounter when these familiar foes renew hostilities with silverware at stake.


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