We continue our build-up to Saturday’s FA Cup Final by reviewing our Road to Wembley, taking a look through our performances that have earned us a spot against Arsenal.
Vivek continues the journey by recollecting our Quarter Final against Leicester City last month.
As we come closer to the final, we take a look back at our Journey to the finals where we travelled to the King Power stadium to face Leicester City in the Quarter finals. This was a nerve wracking tie for Chelsea in particular before the lockdown where Leicester looked the better team overall. They were a very fast, exciting team to watch on the break as they looked well set to finish in the Champions league spots before the break. However, the post restart period was very unkind to Leicester into the build up of this game. There were visible worries in their performances against Watford and Brighton with both games ending at a stale mate with the foxes scoring just once in both games. They were clearly struggling without James Maddison who was sidelined and their star striker Jamie Vardy who was not able to find the net in both games.
Chelsea on the other hand had a very good start to life post the restart of football. Securing wins against Aston Villa and Manchester City, Chelsea managed to score 4 goals in two games with Christian Pulisic bursting to life in both games along with striker Olivier Giroud who was sidelined for half the campaign. The defensive frailties were evident in Frank Lampard’s Chelsea and even though his side won two very important games into the build up to the FA cup game against Leicester, there was always an air of nervousness among the supporters who were worried about our performances against Leicester all season long and rightly so. Chelsea did not recorded a win against the foxes since March 2018 with 3 draws and one loss leading to the game. However, one positive not to take was that our last win against Leicester was at an FA Cup Quarter final at the King Power stadium in 2018 when Pedro scored the winner at extra time. Did fortune favour the blues yet again at another FA cup Quarter final? Let’s find out.
Leicester started in a 4-3-3 with Ayoze Perez, Vardy and Barnes leading the attack. Tielemans and Praet played infront of Ndidi while the backline consisted of the ever reliable pairing of Evans and Soyuncu with Ben Chilwell and James Justin on the flanks. Ricardo Pereira and James Maddison were out of the team with long term injuries.
Chelsea matched Leicester’s 4-3-3 with Tammy Abraham at striker for Olivier Giroud, the striker’s first start since the restart of football with Christian Pulisic and Willian on his flanks. N’golo Kante was back at the base of midfield with Billy Gilmour and Mason Mount on either side of the french men. Willy Cabellero was handed a start along with Kurt Zouma and Emerson. Reece James and Emerson completed the back 4. Willian took the armband for the game in the absence of both Cesar Azpilicueta and Jorginho.
Leicester were the superior team from the start of the game. They pressed the Chelsea midfield trying to force errors and disrupt Chelsea’s tempo at midfield. In the third minute, Harvey Barnes pounced on Billy Gilmour’s misplaced pass at midfield and was not able to square it to Vardy on time as Cabellero made an easy save at his near post. Leicester continued to dominate the game as Praet put in a very good cross into the final third but was not able to find Vardy in the far post.
Billy Gilmour had a tough time in midfield. The young scott misplaced another pass which was intercepted by Tielemans in midfield, only for his shot to be saved by Cabellero. 29 minutes had passed and Leicester continued to have the upper hand in the game. A Chilwell free kick floated into the area finds the head of Johnny Evans who put the ball wide. Chelsea’s first clear chance of the game came post the half hour mark when Pulisic forced Schmeichel’s hand after a very good pass from Mason Mount. Overall, Chelsea were very poor in the first half as Barnes and Tielemans continued to pounce of Chelsea’s misplaced passes. Frank Lampard had to make a changes in the second to stand a chance in the game.
At the start of the second half, Lampard made a triple substitution with Barkley, Kovacic and Azpilicueta coming on for Mason Mount, Gilmour and Reece James. Frank was visibly frustrated in the first half and it was the right call to bring in some more experience into the midfield along with Cesar at Right back to add more stability in defence. The changes saw a shift in dominance at midfield as Barkley and Kovacic started to see more of the ball while beating the Leicester press. Chelsea were pushing hard to get the opening goal and it finally happened at the 61st minute. Willian with acres of space on his right put in Barkley who simply had to put his foot to the ball to send it past Schmeichel for the opening goal of the game. The goal came in just before drinks break as Frank Lampard’s men had to either hold on to the lead for half an hour or find another one before Leicester equalise. Leicester’s best chance of the second half came in from a set piece routine with Albrighton putting in a wonderful cross to Soyuncu. The center back missed his header at the near post after towering over Azpilicueta. At the dying moments of the game, Barkley forced Schmeichel to make another good save as he thundered one into the bottom left on the counter.
The game ended 1-0 as Chelsea marched on to the Semi finals to face Manchester United. It was not the best of performances from Chelsea but Frank Lampard’s triple substitution at half time changed the fortunes for the Blues. Ross Barkley was awarded Man of the Match for his winner in the tie.
Date – June 28, 2020
Venue – King Power Stadium
Result – Chelsea win 1-0 (Ross Barkley 61′)
Referee – Mike Dean
Attendance – Played behind closed doors due to the COVID – 19 Pandemic.
What do you think tomorrow? Will we bring home the FA Cup? Let us know in the comments below!