Chelsea weathered a spirited second-half Sheffield United fightback to reach the FA Cup semi-finals with a 2-0 quarter-final victory at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues looked set to stroll through to a last-four spot at Wembley when Oliver Norwood's first-half own goal handed them the lead at the interval, but a thrilling Sheffield United rally pushed Thomas Tuchel's side right to the wire.
The Blades came alive in the second half and should have forced extra-time, but David McGoldrick squandered a gilt-edged header from six yards, before substitute Rhian Brewster lashed into the side-netting in stoppage-time.
Hakim Ziyech then made sure of the Chelsea victory - their 10th from 14 games under Tuchel - with their second goal with virtually the last kick of the game as the Blues joined Manchester City and Southampton in the last four.
Chelsea: Kepa (7), Christensen (6), Zouma (6), Emerson (6), Hudson-Odoi (6),Kovacic (6), Gilmour (7), Mount (6), Chilwell (7), Pulisic (6), Giroud (5).
Subs: Azpilicueta (5), James (5), Ziyech (6), Havertz (5), Kante (n/a).
Sheffield United: Ramsdale (7), Baldock (6), Jagielka (7), Stevens (7), Osborn (7), Bogle (6), Lundstram (7), Norwood (6), Fleck (6), McGoldrick (6), McBurnie (6).
Subs: Burke (6), Brewster (6), Mousset (n/a).
Man of the Match: Ben Chilwell
How Chelsea saw off spirited Blades to reach Wembley
Despite Tuchel making wholesale changes following the midweek Champions League victory over Atletico Madrid, Chelsea maintained their attacking fluency and dominance of the ball but found chances hard to come by against a battling Blades outfit.
McGoldrick registered the first attempt on target in the opening minute before Phil Jagielka looped a header into the arms of Kepa Arrizabalaga as Sheffield United started positively in response to last week's 5-0 drubbing at Leicester.
- Kurt Zouma and Mateo Kovacic were the only players to retain their places as Chelsea made nine changes from the Champions League victory over Atletico Madrid.
- David McGoldrick, Oli McBurnie, Phil Jagielka, Ben Osborn and Jayden Bogle returned as Sheffield United made five changes following the 5-0 defeat at Leicester.
It took Chelsea until midway through the first half to finally unlock the Blades' defence, and they were given a helping hand as Norwood dangled out a leg and turned Ben Chilwell's driven cross-shot into his own net.
Norwood very nearly gifted Chelsea a second three minutes before the interval when his wayward pass was intercepted by Christian Pulisic, but the forward was thwarted by on-rushing Blades goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale.
The half ended just as it had begun, with McGoldrick forcing Kepa into action with another long-range strike, but the Spaniard ensured Chelsea reached the interval with their lead intact.
Pulisic wasted another glorious opening after great footwork had seen him slip between two defenders and through on goal, but another tame effort was thwarted by Ramsdale.
The Blades were passive for the first hour but sharpened in a pulsating final 30 minutes as Chelsea's intensity dipped.
The chances came thick and fast, the best of which fell for McGoldrick, but he somehow headed wide with the goal at his mercy, before Oliver McBurnie stung the palms of Kepa.
Brewster's deflected effort lashed into the side-netting in the first minute of stoppage time but Chelsea stood firm before Ziyech sealed their place at Wembley.
Chelsea seal another semi-final date - Match stats
- Chelsea have now won 10 of their 14 games under Thomas Tuchel (D4), with only Manchester City (14) winning more matches across all competitions amongst all sides within the top five European leagues since the German's first game in charge.
- Sheffield United's defeat was their 24th of the campaign in all competitions - 10 more than they suffered last season - whilst as a top-flight club they've only had more losses in one other campaign (29 in 1975-76).
- Chelsea have progressed to their 25th FA Cup semi-final, the third most of any club behind Everton (26), Manchester United and Arsenal (both 30).
- Chelsea have now kept clean sheets in each of their last seven games - their best run since December 2005 (also 7); indeed, only once before in the club's history have they managed a longer run of consecutive shutouts (9 between November and December 1905).
- Sheffield United have exited the FA Cup at the quarter-final stage in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1958-59 & 1959-60 under managers Archie Clark and John Harris.
- After 19 games without a goal in all competitions, Hakim Ziyech has since scored in back-to-back appearances for Chelsea. He now has the same number of goals under Tuchel (9 apps) as he managed under Frank Lampard (17).
What the managers said…
Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel: "We had two chances [for Pulisic] which we didn't take, then we lost control, concentration, a bit of momentum and there were many minutes we had to suffer. They had two big chances and we were lucky to escape with a clean sheet.
"But there are a lot of circumstances to explain it, and it's OK. After 14 matches the target was to go to the quarter-finals [of the Champions League] and to Wembley, and the team have achieved both of targets so big compliments to them and well done."
Sheffield United interim manager Paul Heckingbottom: "It was a tough defeat to take. It was bittersweet, we've just been knocked out of the FA Cup, but I felt the game was there for us and we missed an opportunity.
"That wasn't down to a lack of effort or quality, and I don't think anyone could have begrudged us forcing extra time or if we'd won 2-1. We want to take the positives rather than the negatives; we know why we didn't get through and that was because we didn't take our chances."
Chelsea host Fulham in the Premier League at 12.30pm and Sheffield United travel to Leeds at 3pm on April 3.