Cole Palmer best player on pitch by miles as lackadaisical team-mate endures FA Cup nightmare

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CHELSEA survived a second-half collapse to make the FA Cup semi-final in what will be a huge boost for Mauricio Pochettino.

A 92nd minute goal was needed in the end from substitute Carney Chukwuemeka after Chelsea led comfortably at half-time, before Noni Madueke put the game to bed.

Chukwuemeka was the hero as he slid the ball through Stolarczyk's legs

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Chukwuemeka was the hero as he slid the ball through Stolarczyk’s legsCredit: AFP
And spared quite a few of his team-mates blushes

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And spared quite a few of his team-mates blushesCredit: Getty

A disastrous Axel Disasi own goal came from nowhere to leave the door open for Leicester to get back in it.

A brilliant Stephy Mavididi curler after an hour made it 2-2 and Leicester looked like they were well on the way to joining Coventry as a Championship side in the semis.

The tie swung again though when Nicolas Jackson, clean through on goal, opted to fall down under contact from Callum Doyle to win a penalty.

A penalty was given, but VAR intervention found the contact was outside the box and his yellow was changed to a red.

From there, Chelsea pounded the Leicester goal in the hope to find a winner, but that was only found after a minute of brilliance from Cole Palmer, with his deft backheel finding Chukwuemeka.

Noni Madueke, on as a sub, then put the tie beyond doubt with a deflected 20-yard effort after some great work in the build-up.

“Que sera! Sera!” The Chelsea fans sung, and another trip to Wembley beckons.

Here’s how SunSport’s Jordan Davies rated the players…

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Robert Sanchez – 5

A nervy showing, not one that will convince Mauricio Pochettino of his No.1 credentials. Caught on the ball by Patson Daka in his own box and flapped at a few crosses.

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It may be harsh to call him out for Axel Disasi’s bizarre own goal, but his positioning was the reason he had little to no chance of recovering, and was well beaten for the equaliser.

Malo Gusto – 7

An ever-present figure bursting down the right wing and at the heart of everything good for Chelsea. Looks to have nailed down that right-back slot under Poch.

The one negative was his defending for Leicester’s equaliser, letting Stephy Mavididi cut in and curl a beauty into the top corner.

Axel Disasi – 4

Slow to make decisions on the ball at the back. Lackadaisical at times, and then one of the most incredible own goals you will see this season.

Sanchez and Disasi were involved in a horrendous mix up

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Sanchez and Disasi were involved in a horrendous mix upCredit: Reuters

A finish at the wrong end that summed up his woeful afternoon.

Trevoh Chalobah – 6

Compared to his centre back partner, had a pretty uneventful afternoon. Will be desperate to keep his place in the side with Thiago Silva benched and Levi Colwill injured.

Hardly at fault for either of the goals.

Marc Cucurella – 8

Perhaps there is a career at Chelsea for the Spaniard after all, grabbing his first goal for the club with a tap-in into an empty net.

Looked lively and full of purpose with left-back rival Ben Chilwell watching on from the bench.

Moises Caicedo – 6

Pretty anonymous until a neat link-up with Nicolas Jackson and a ball on a plate for Raheem Sterling only to watch his teammate shoot wide.

Grew into the game after the break, getting into goalscoring positions, but does not bring any calmness or control to this Chelsea midfield.

Conor Gallagher – 6

Put in a shift, as he always does, and nearly found the bottom corner with a curling effort just before the break.

Cole Palmer – 8

A quiet opening for his recent high standards this season. Pochettino will be bemused as to why he did not take the first half penalty over Sterling given his record of five in the Prem.

Sterling made up for it with an accurate low ball across goal that Palmer tucked away before the break. He then produced a cheeky backheel for Carney Chukwuemeka’s winner.

With not a lot of the ball, he was still Chelsea’s best player by miles.

Palmer was Chelsea's best player again

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Palmer was Chelsea’s best player againCredit: Getty

Mykhailo Mudryk – 7

Unfortunate not to grab a goal in the first half with his positivity on the ball, seeing one shot blocked in the box and another well saved. Seems to finally look at home at Chelsea.

Can feel hard done by as he was subbed off – to the frustration of the fans – with the scores level and 12 minutes of normal time to play.

Raheem Sterling – 5

Had several opportunities to find the bottom corner from inside the box but his touch was often found wanting and his finishing was non-existent.

Brought down for a first half penalty, his effort from 12 yards was tame and easily saved by Jakub Stolarczyk before missing a one-on-one sitter.

Moments later, he redeemed himself with an assist for Cole Palmer, but that was his last bit of quality. After an abysmal free-kick, the Chelsea fans chanted: ‘Get him off’.

Sterling was booed by some sections of the Chelsea crowd

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Sterling was booed by some sections of the Chelsea crowdCredit: AFP

Nicolas Jackson – 6

Remains an enigma. From brilliant to bewildering. His dribble around Jannik Vestergaard to tee-up Cucurella was inspired, but at times his clumsiness on the ball cost him.

In the second half, out of nowhere he then produced a Bergkamp-esque turn to win a free-kick and earn Callum Doyle a red card, but then missed a sitter from six yards near the end.

Subs

Carney Chukwuemeka (On for Mudryk) – 8

One chance, one goal to win it in injury time. A delightfully cool finish after a one-two with Palmer inside the box.

Noni Madueke (On for Sterling) – 8

Forced Stolarczyk into a decent stop from close range from a Gusto cross, and then unleashed a worldie after a mazy run to seal the win.

Ben Chilwell (On for Cucurella) – N/A

Madueke's late goal was special

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Madueke’s late goal was specialCredit: Getty



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Cole Palmer best player on pitch by miles as lackadaisical team-mate endures FA Cup nightmare

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