By 90Min
April 21, 2018

Mark Hughes takes charge of Southampton for only his second FA Cup match with the Saints, as they look to spoil Antonio Conte's last attempt at silverware this season in Sunday's FA Cup semi final tie.

This will be Conte's last chance at domestic cup success in England this season and perhaps his last with Chelsea, as rumours continue to circulate about his potential departure this summer.

Southampton are increasingly looking likely for the drop into the Championship, following another draw against Leicester on Thursday evening. Mark Hughes has to decide which one he favours - FA Cup glory, or Premier League survival.


Classic Encounter

The two sides met in the FA Cup third round in 2012-13, where Chelsea were the dominant side that day, winning Blues won 5-1 at St Mary's.

AFP/GettyImages

It was Demba Ba who stole the show that day, as the Senegal international scored twice on his Chelsea debut, with Chelsea overcoming a 1-0 deficit. It was current Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez in charge that day, and Chelsea were the current FA Cup holders.

Victor Moses and Branislav Ivanovic added the second and third goals respectively, while Frank Lampard wrote his name into history, as the Englishmen netted from the spot to equal Chelsea's second highest goalscorer Kerry Dixon's record with his 193rd goal for the Blues.


Key Battle


N'Golo Kante vs James Ward-Prowse


It has not been the best season for Kante, as opposed to his recent seasons, but the Frenchmen remains an integral part of this Chelsea setup. 

Throughout Southampton's poor season, Ward-Prowse has been a shining light. The Englishmen has been vital for the Saints this season in midfield, and if the club do happen to go down, they may struggle to keep hold of him.

Clive Rose/GettyImages

Kante and Ward-Prowse will go head to head at Wembley and with the engine Kante possess, Ward-Prowse is going to have to work harder than ever to ensure the Chelsea midfielder does not control and break up the play, as he so easily does.


Chelsea will see much more of the ball and if Southampton are going to stop this from happening, Ward-Prowse has to keep an eye on Kante.


Team News


PFA Team of the Year inductee Marcos Alonso serves the second of his three-match ban for violent conduct in Sunday's FA Cup clash, and ex-Leicester man Danny Drinkwater remains a doubt due to a groin problem, whilst David Luiz is sidelined due to a knee injury.

There are no new injury concern for Mark Hughes, however Southampton are expected to line up differently to their midweek clash against Leicester, with this FA Cup tie being the Saints' third match in seven days, whilst they are fighting relegation.

Laurence Griffiths/GettyImages

Oliver Giroud is expected to have earned his place in the side after scoring twice against Southampton last week, while Gary Cahill will hope to captain his side to another FA Cup final.


Prediction

Chelsea recently beat Southampton and will be confident of repeating the feat on Sunday as they chase a first trophy of the season.

Southampton have been focussed on avoiding relegation in recent weeks and may find it tricky to switch gears for this FA Cup semi final.

It won't be easy for the Blues, but Conte's side should make it through to the final with a straightforward win.

Prediction: Chelsea 2-0 Southampton

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