Chelsea ended Manchester United's bid for a league and cup double courtesy of Demba Ba's acrobatic winner in a 1-0 home success after an unusually tepid FA Cup quarter-final replay at Stamford Bridge.
Rafael Benitez's side remain on course for a fourth FA Cup success in five years with Ba providing an outstanding goal for the home team when he swivelled superbly to hoist the ball beyond the visiting goalkeeper David de Gea from Juan Mata's chipped pass on 49 minutes.
The holders - who downed Liverpool 2-1 in last year's final - will face the only other team to win the trophy since 2009 when they meet 2011 winners Manchester City at Wembley on April 14. United last won the trophy in 2004, and see their fruitless run in the competition extend to at least a decade.
The home side were thankful to goalkeeper Petr Cech for producing an astonishing stop to claw a Javier Hernandez header over his bar midway through the second period, but it would be churlish to suggest Chelsea were not well worth their victory as they maintained a proud run of not losing a home game in the competition since 2003.
United were without Wayne Rooney due to a groin injury while Robin van Persie started on the bench after turning out less than 48 hours earlier in the 1-0 win over Sunderland in the Premier League.
The Dutch forward was thrown on for Tom Cleverley with around 30 minutes remaining, but wasted the one decent chance that came his way when he lifted a volley over from seven yards out after fellow substitute Ashley Young had sent Patrice Evra racing into the box to provide a telling cross.
It was a disappointing outcome for United, especially when you consider they blew a 2-0 lead in drawing 2-2 in the first match at Old Trafford last month. Sir Alex Ferguson conceded that United did not do enough in the second half to feel aggrieved.
Benitez could yet finish the season with a real flourish with Chelsea on course to finish in the top four in the league while they are also through to the last eight of the Europa League.
Chelsea lost 2-1 to Southampton on Saturday and made six alterations with captain John Terry dropping to the bench.
United opted for seven changes from Sunderland with Danny Welbeck and Hernandez starting up top.
The first half was a drab affair with Chelsea losing Ashley Cole on 22 minutes to a hamstring strain after Welbeck had sped past him. He was replaced by Ryan Bertrand, a figure who deputised competently.
De Gea made his first notable save of the match on 30 minutes to repel a Ba effort after he had been played in by Eden Hazard.
Nani was abject before being replaced by Ryan Giggs on 65 minutes, but did wallop a shot a couple of yards wide on 37 minutes.
Hazard scooped an effort over a minute later before Cech was almost embarrassed as he misread a Hernandez shot that dipped and swerved in the air, before throwing a leg at the ball to clear four minutes before half-time.
Chelsea looked the more potent side at the outset of the second period and were rewarded when Ba bounded onto Juan Mata's speculative pass to lift the ball beyond De Gea from 10 yards out after it dropped over his shoulder.
He had no right to score from that position, but Cech had no right to keep Hernandez's diving header out as the Mexican forward diverted the ball at goal from Welbeck's driven cross only to see the Czech goalkeeper somehow nudge over his bar.
Chelsea had the better of the visiting side from that point onwards with De Gea saving brilliantly from Mata, Hazard knocking an effort wide after an error by Michael Carrick and Oscar drilling past a post after some more ingenuity by Hazard.
De Gea kept out a stinging Mata hit with only two minutes left, but Chelsea had already done enough to seal a well-earned progress in their club's pursuit of an eighth FA Cup.
With Wigan and Championship side Millwall contesting the opening semi-final at Wembley on April 13, Chelsea will fancy themselves to defend the trophy if they can engineer a path past City.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Demba Ba (Chelsea) - In a match lacking genuine quality from two of European football's richest clubs, Ba provided a moment to cherish with his goal. Was a willing runner all afternoon and was unfortunate to be penalised for a foul on Chris Smalling as he tried to score a second goal.
Chelsea: Cech 8, Azpilicueta 6, Ivanovic 7, David Luiz 7, Cole 6, Mikel 6, Ramires 6, Hazard 8, Mata 8, Oscar 7, Ba 8..subs: Bertrand 6, Moses 6, Torres 6
Manchester Utd: De Gea 7, Jones 7, Smalling 7, Ferdinand 7, Evra 7, Valencia 6, Carrick 6, Cleverley 5, Nani 4, Hernandez 7, Welbeck 5..subs: Giggs 6, Young 6, Van Persie 5