Pundits agree on Chelsea vs Man City FA Cup prediction with surprise Pep Guardiola challenge

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola
Pep Guaridola has a challenge on his hands to prepare his Manchester City players against Chelsea -Credit:Alex Dodd - CameraSport via Getty Images

Chelsea are deemed to be heavy underdogs against Manchester City - despite being on an unbeaten run of eight matches under Mauricio Pochettino.

The two teams, who have already drawn twice this season in lively meetings, once again take to the field, this time in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley on Saturday. With Manchester City's pursuit of a double unflagging even after their penalty shootout loss to Real Madrid on Wednesday, there is added jeopardy.

Pep Guardiola's side currently occupy a temporary two-point lead at the top of the Premier League but now turn their full attention to the domestic cup once more. In contrast, Chelsea, having been left deflated after the Carabao Cup extra time mishap against Liverpool in February, are aiming to reach a second final of the season.

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Although they have recently struggled to beat Brentford, Burnley, and Sheffield United, a triumph ensuring another journey to Wembley would undoubtedly be a significant lift for Pochettino. Yet Manchester City are considered favourites, notwithstanding the little recovery time and emotional hurdles.

"Manchester City did not deserve to go out of the Champions League on Wednesday," former Blues forward Chris Sutton wrote for the BBC.

"On the balance of play against Real Madrid, they can count themselves a bit unlucky to lose the tie. It is important that they bounce back quickly, though, starting here," reports football.london.

"City's main focus now will be their attempt to become the first side in the 136-year history of English league football to be crowned champions four times in a row. That would be a huge achievement, and going out of Europe will aid that. Pep is greedy for trophies, though, and of course he will want to lift the FA Cup again too.

"Chelsea have drawn with City twice this season and they will be dangerous with Palmer in their team. But the kerfuffle over who would take their penalty against Everton on Monday, when Noni Madueke and Nicolas Jackson argued before Palmer took the ball and scored his fourth goal, sums up the whole situation at the club.

"I would not mind seeing that happen if Palmer had missed a few penalties on the trot, because then it is someone else's turn. But it appears that they have an odd dressing room at the moment, with a lot of inflated egos in there, and if Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino cannot create harmony, you wonder who will.

"On the pitch, Chelsea have shown a bit more consistency in the second half of the season with an eight-game unbeaten run in the league that has put them in the race for sixth place. Pochettino will want a trophy to underline their improvement, but I think it will be City who progress. I am backing the holders to flex their muscles again, go again... and win this tie quite comfortably."

Sutton's prediction: Chelsea 0-3 Manchester City.

Harry Redknapp can see the game being tighter. "This is an interesting one. Manchester City played well at times against Real Madrid, particularly in the second half, they should have done enough to win the game," he told sports betting site BetVictor.

"They don't seem to be creating as many chances as normal though. A couple of these lads look off it to me. If it's not Phil Foden or Kevin De Bruyne, I don't see anyone else stepping up at the minute."

As for Chelsea: "I'm running out of superlatives for Cole Palmer, he's been incredible. That first half against Everton the other night was a joke, he was just brilliant. He's so classy and looks like he has all the time in the world. It's a big game for him up against his old side."

"Despite the loss during the week, you've still got to favour City. Chelsea are improving though, so this could be a close one."

He added: "I can't sugarcoat it, Erling Haaland was quiet in those two games against Real Madrid. Big players respond though, so I fancy him to get back on the scoresheet here."

Redknapp's prediction: Chelsea 1-2 Manchester City.

Simon Jordan of talkSPORT believes that Pochettino might be turning things around at Stamford Bridge, although he doesn't see them reaching the FA Cup final. "Sometimes you can't bounce until you hit the bottom, and maybe Chelsea have hit the bottom and they're starting to bounce now," he suggested.

"I don't know, but they'll have been to a cup final, they're in a cup semi-final. They've got the most difficult team to play in that cup semi-final, so I would expect them to be ejected from the FA Cup.

"But if they do finish inside the top six, whilst it won't be a brilliant season, given where they've been during the course of it, it will be written up in a different way than the writing has been previously."

Jordan's prediction: Manchester City victory.