Marva Kreel left Wembley on Saturday having been seriously impressed by Chelsea show

Monday 19 Apr 2021
Chelsea's work-rate during their Emirates FA Cup win over Manchester City was impressive at Wembley

A semi-final of the Emirates FA Cup is always a game you want to be at, but a tie between two teams as excellent as Chelsea and Manchester City is nothing short of a must-watch game.

Without the fans, the game is not the atmospheric spectacle that both teams deserved, but it does make being one of the few people who are allowed into Wembley feel very special.

Having had the incredible but heart-breaking experience as an Everton fan, of covering Everton against Manchester City in the quarter-finals, it was a relief to be able to cover this game as a complete neutral and see a tense tactical battle between two incredible managers who excel at just that.

Pep Guardiola surprisingly didn't choose his strongest side, dropping Riyad Mahrez, Ilkay Gundogan, Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva to the bench and therefore denying me the chance of seeing the full brilliance of those players who had previously danced around my beloved Everton players for fun.

They clearly missed them too, as Chelsea did what I've seen them do repeatedly under Thomas Tuchel this season; defend in numbers, work incredibly hard and break quickly to great effect.

It can be easy to dismiss a team like Chelsea compared to the repeated flair of Manchester City, but seeing their work rate up close is seriously impressive. They hunted every ball and refused to let Manchester City have the space they craved, something that can sometimes only be truly appreciated when seen in person.

Football without fans is of course not the same, but being able to see the iconic Wembley Arch, casually walk past Gareth Southgate when going through security and see two world class teams compete for one of the most famous trophies in footballing history, is an experience I will cherish forever.

By Marva Kreel Black Collective of Media in Sport graduate