Chelsea will meet Liverpool in this season's FA Cup final, after second-half strikes from Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Mason Mount gave the Blues a 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.
After a thoroughly forgettable opening 45 minutes, Thomas Tuchel's side got the job done after the break. Palace defended well for large periods but did not threaten enough in the final third, with manager Patrick Vieira's fine record in this competition not enough to inspire an upset.
Vieira set up his side to match up Chelsea's trademark 3-4-2-1 formation with Cheikhou Kouyate moving into the backline. The tactical ploy worked well with Palace frustrating their opponents in the first half.
The first half an hour brought no clear-cut chances but Edouard Mendy was finally forced into action when Kouyate hit a first-time volley from the edge of the volley. His international teammate was equal to the effort though, and saved low down to his left.
A few minutes later Kai Havertz was cautioned for simulation in what was one of the very few occasions that Chelsea found themselves in the Eagles' 18-yard box. Shortly after, the referee brought an uneventful first half to an end.
Early in the second half Chelsea fired a warning shot at the Palace defence with Timo Werner so nearly being slipped in, only for Jack Butland to beat him to the ball.
On the hour mark Kouyate went close again, rising high to meet Eberechi Eze's corner but his header – well, it hit his shoulder actually – trickled past the post.
A few minutes later, Loftus-Cheek opened the scoring in scintillating fashion. Striking Havertz's deflected cut-back first time, his effort flew into the top corner with Butland being given no chance.
Palace committed more numbers forward in response to going behind and 14 minutes from time they were hit with a sucker punch. Werner played Mount in and he slotted into the far corner, scoring for the third successive game for the first time in his career.
Almost immediately after Chelsea went two goals in front, Palace let a golden chance go begging. An in-swinging corner eventually reached Joachim Andersen at the back post but the defender could not convert.
The Eagles were made to rue this missed chance with Chelsea shutting up shop in the closing stages. Romelu Lukaku missed a chance to make it 3-0 late on, side-footing into the post to deny Werner a second assist, while Hakim Ziyech then saw his effort on the rebound blocked on the line.
Here are your player ratings for both sides...
Chelsea vs Crystal Palace player ratings
1. Chelsea (3-4-2-1)
Edouard Mendy (GK) - 7/10 - Was alert to deny Kouyate after having very little to do in the opening exchanges. Dealt with crosses without any issues.
Reece James (CB) - 7/10 - Stepped into midfield to pull the strings at times.
Andreas Christensen (CB) - 7/10 - An extremely calm presence on the ball. His distribution was close to flawless too.
Antonio Rudiger (CB) - 7/10 - Tried to repeat his Brentford wonder goal and failed miserably. Did not give Mateta any joy.
Cesar Azpilicueta (RM) - 6/10 - Nowhere near as dangerous out wide as James likely would have been. Defensively he was solid.
Jorginho (CM) - 7/10 - Looked a bit sluggish at times but got through a lot of defensive work and helped his side dominate possession.
Mateo Kovacic (CM) - N/A - Worryingly only lasted just over 20 minutes before injury forced him off.
Marcos Alonso (LM) - 6/10 - Kept the ball moving in possession. Nowhere near as threatening as we know he can be, though.
Timo Werner (RF) - 7/10 - Tried making runs in the first half but was hardly ever found. Showed good composure to set up Mount and then should have had another assist, but Lukaku's poor finishing denied him.
Mason Mount (LF) - 7/10 - Was not having a great day, but all of that was forgotten when he slotted home in the second half. A man for the big occasion.
Kai Havertz (ST) - 6/10 - Booked for a horrific dive in the first half. Created the goal with his direct run into the box.
SUB: Ruben Loftus-Cheek (CM) - 8/10 - What. A. Hit. His first goal in three years was well worth the wait. Tidy other than that.
SUB: Hakim Ziyech (RW) - 5/10 - Should have scored at the end after Lukaku struck the post.
SUB: Romelu Lukaku (ST) - 5/10 - Missed a sitter.
SUB: N'Golo Kante (CM) - 6/10
SUB: Thiago SIlva (CB) - N/A
2. Crystal Palace (3-4-2-1)
Jack Butland (GK) - 5/10 - Given absolutely no chance by Loftus-Cheek's effort. Mount's goal was similarly tricky to keep out
Cheikhou Kouyate (CB) - 6/10 - Went close to scoring twice. Did not have too many problems adapting to his new role in defence either.
Joachim Andersen (CB) - 5/10 - Suits a back three and looked comfortable early on. Too static for Mount's goal and then missed a gilt-edged chance.
Marc Guehi (CB) - 6/10 - Unfortunate that he deflected Havertz's ball into Loftus-Cheek's path for the goal. Did fine other than that.
Joel Ward (RM) - 6/10 - Kept things pretty safe and sound defensively. However, the offensive side of this wing-back role may have suited Nathaniel Clyne more, who was left on the bench.
Jeffrey Schlupp (CM) - 6/10 - Always busy off the ball and drove forward excellently at times.
James McArthur (CM) - 6/10 - Stepped up in Conor Gallagher's absence, harrying the Chelsea midfield and keeping possession well.
Tyrick Mitchell (LM) - 5/10 - Had no issues dealing with Azpilicueta's limp threat for the most part. Was dispossessed in the lead up to the goal, however.
Eberechi Eze (RW) - 5/10 - Was tidy on the ball but needed to take more risks and run at his opposite man. Perhaps could have been more alert to the danger before Mount scored.
Jean-Philippe Mateta (ST) - 3/10 - Will be disappointed with his contribution here. Pressing was poor and he barely had a sniff of the ball.
Wilfried Zaha (LW) - 4/10 - Improved after being moved into the middle early in the second half. Sometimes let his frustrations got the better of him.
SUB: Jordan Ayew (RW) - 4/10 - Not much impact.
Michael Olise (CM) - 6/10 - Added a spark.
Christian Benteke (ST) - N/A
Luka Milivojevic (CM) - N/A