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Chelsea v Leicester – FA Cup Final Preview

Chelsea take on Leicester City this weekend in a hugely anticipated FA Cup final showdown, the visitors looking for their first triumph in the competition since 1969.

Here’s all you need to know about Saturday’s Wembley encounter:

Form

Chelsea: DWWWL

It’s been a week of contrasting emotions for Thomas Tuchel’s side, as they followed up an impressive win over fellow Champions League finalists, Manchester City on Saturday with a disappointing defeat to London rivals Arsenal on Wednesday night.

Their meeting with Pep Guardiola’s side had been billed as something of a dress rehearsal ahead of their European encounter at the end of the month and it was the Blues who perhaps gained the psychological edge, coming from behind to snatch victory after second-half goals from Hakim Ziyech and defender Marcos Alonso.

 

They had somewhat ridden their luck after Sergio Aguero dinked his first-half penalty straight into the hands of Edouard Mendy, while they were also fortunate not to see their opponents win another spot-kick late on for Kurt Zouma’s challenge on Raheem Sterling, yet the eventual victory looked to have cemented their place in the top-four.

However, Chelsea offered hope to the chasing pack after they succumbed to a 1-0 defeat to the Gunners at Stamford Bridge, playmaker Emile Smith Rowe capitalising on a Jorginho blunder to net the game’s only goal early in the first-half.

That limp display against an inconsistent Arsenal side has left their Champions League qualification hopes still firmly in the balance, with Tuchel left ruing the seven changes he made to his side ahead of this weekend’s meeting with the Foxes.

As for that clash, the German will be sweating on the fitness of both Mateo Kovacic and Andreas Christensen, while N’Golo Kante is also a minor doubt having sat out Wednesday’s defeat due to an Achilles complaint. The former Paris Saint-Germain boss also confirmed that Kepa Arrizabalaga will keep his place in the final.

Leicester: WWDLW

While Chelsea’s top-four hopes suffered a setback in midweek, Leicester only served to bolster their Champions League ambitions as they got the better of a much-rotated Manchester United side at Old Trafford on Tuesday night.

The Foxes took the lead early on through a stunning Luke Thomas volley, before fellow teenager Mason Greenwood hit back just five minutes later, the England international with a trademark composed finish past Kasper Schmeichel.

In a tightly-contested second-half, Brendan Rodgers’ side ensured victory courtesy of a thumping header from Caglar Soyuncu, with the hosts unable to find a response despite bringing on the likes of Bruno Fernandes and Edinson Cavani.

That win not only handed Manchester City the title, but also leaves Leicester well-placed to finish third, Brendan Rodgers’ side having squandered their top-four hopes in dramatic fashion at the end of last season.

The Foxes next Premier League meeting is, in fact, against Chelsea on Tuesday evening, with a win ensuring their place in next season’s Champions League.

While that upcoming game remains important, Rodgers men will have their full focus on lifting the trophy on Saturday, to end a barren run in the competition for the club.

As for that high stakes affair, Leicester will have to wait on the fitness of Jonny Evans, the veteran defender having been forced to sit out the trip to Old Trafford against his former club.

Last Meeting

Premier League, Leicester 2-0 Chelsea, 19 January 2020

The two sides last meeting came back in January, the hosts at the time still in contention for the title, while the visitors top-four hopes looked to be ebbing away.

The Foxes took the lead inside just six minutes, Wilfried Ndidi the unlikely scorer, the Nigerian international superbly drilling the ball home from just outside the area.

The away side thought they’d earned a way back into the game after Christian Pulisic was deemed to have been fouled by Jonny Evans inside the area, before VAR overturned the decision with the foul having taken place just outside the box.

After that setback, the Blues conceded once again before half-time, James Maddison’s decisive strike moving Leicester to the summit, while it also proved to be Frank Lampard’s final league game in charge.

Predicted Lineups

Chelsea: Kepa; Azpilicueta, Silva, Rudiger; James, Kante, Jorginho, Chilwell; Mount, Werner, Ziyech.

Leicester: Schmeichel; Albrighton, Castagne, Fofana, Soyuncu, Pereira; Ndidi, Tielemans, Maddison; Vardy, Iheanacho.

 

Who is the referee?

Michael Oliver

What channel is it on?

Readers in the UK can watch the match on BBC One, as well as on BT Sport 1.

What time is kick off?

Saturday 15 May, 17:15 BST

Odds

Chelsea – 10/11

Leicester – 3/1

Draw – 5/2

Read – Champions: Six games that shaped Manchester City’s title triumph

See also – Five Noughties midfielders who should make the Premier League Hall of Fame

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