Iram previews our upcoming FA Cup Quarter-Final tie against Leicester City at the King Power Stadium for All Things Chelsea.
After the terrific performance against Manchester City at Stamford Bridge on Thursday, Chelsea must be ready for an important game against Leicester in the FA Cup Quarter-Finals. The FA Cup represents our only realistic chance of silverware this season, so it really is a must win game. After our performance on Thursday, Chelsea come into this one on good form, in contrast to their opposition, who are winless since the restart.
When it comes to team selection for Sunday, Frank Lampard is spoilt for choice . Christian Pulisic and Andreas Christensen put in masterclass performances against City; so they will certainly be expected to play their part against Leicester. The only instance in which they won’t start would likely be for rest, as both endured the full ninety minutes on Thursday, and Christensen got a nasty knock on the head during that game. The defence overall was solid, so there shouldn’t be too many changes in that area – with Alonso-Christensen-Rudiger-Azpilicueta being our most likely back line.
In the midfield, Ross Barkley and N’golo Kanté had neither bad nor great performances. Barkley was one of our main threats in the FA Cup match against Liverpool, but playing Kantè at CDM again when we have Jorginho and Gilmour wouldn’t make too much sense. Up front, Pulisic will hopefully start to terrorize more top 4 teams, as well as Tammy Abraham and Willian after the two put in good performances on Thursday. Olivier Giroud and Pedro are in contention, but it is likely that these two players will be rested against Leicester.
Leicester City have just come back from two draws in Premier League fixtures against Watford and Brighton, and will hope to kickstart their post-restart campaign on Sunday. They are just one point above the Blues in the league table; meaning that a Chelsea win could really provide a springboard to challenge Leicester for that third place position. More importantly, the FA Cup represents a similar opportunity for Leicester as their only chance of major silverware.
My prediction for Leicester’s lineup is a similar lineup from their Brighton game, except Harvey Barnes and Youri Tielemans will most likely start after the poor performance in their absence.
Tactically, Lampard is unpredictable and figuring out how we will play is incredibly difficult. Nonetheless, Chelsea almost certainly will be playing a 4-3-3 shape, with more possession based attack instead of the counter-attacking press against Manchester City. As for Leicester, they will be hard to predict, as they are currently on the downhill since the Premier League has returned. Our defenders will have to watch out for Barnes and Jamie Vardy but, other than that, our focus has to be on clinical finishing and effective movement in the final third. If Frank chooses to play Abraham over Giroud a long ball tactic would be less effective, yet we would also gain a striker who can run behind the defence with ease. Chelsea have to be relentless and clinical in attack, taking into the cons from the Villa game and the pros from the Manchester City game to ensure we stay focused and effective throughout the game.
Statistically, the game is a coin toss of sorts. Chelsea win the head to head bout with 56 wins, with 34 drawn matches and 26 Leicester victories. This season, however, we have drawn with Leicester on both previous occasions. The first game was a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge in August, with Wilfried Ndidi cancelling out an early Mason Mount effort. The second time the sides locked horns was a 2-2 draw at the King Power in February, where Chelsea fans were treated to a rare brace from Antonio Rüdiger. This game will be one of the biggest of the season, and breaking the two game deadlock will be a necessity for the Blues.
If Chelsea lose this game, it would end the club’s impressive record of winning at least one major honour every campaign since 2016. If they do manage to win, Chelsea would reach their third FA Cup Semi Final in the last four seasons – and one of Sheffield United, Arsenal, Newcastle United, Manchester City, Norwich City, or Manchester United will await us.
Leicester City will be tough to beat, but with our recent form and ferocity, we must believe in the team and the manager to pull through!
FA Cup Quarter Final Fixtures
Saturday 27th June
- Norwich City vs Manchester United, 17:30
Sunday 28th June
- Sheffield United vs Arsenal, 13:00
- Leicester City vs Chelsea, 16:00
- Newcastle United vs Manchester City, 18:30
*All fixtures will be concluded on the day, with extra time and penalties taking place in case of a draw in normal time
Edited by: Dan