It’s Chelsea vs Leicester in the FA Cup Final at Wembley! England’s oldest and most prestigious trophy is up for grabs and even more interestingly is that it will go into the hands of two teams that are direct rivals for the highly-coveted top four spot in the Premier League. Leicester recorded a narrow 1-0 victory over Southampton in the semi-final while Chelsea had to overcome the Premier League Champions and Champions League Final opponents Manchester City by the same scoreline to book a place in the Final. Will Rodgers and his men be able to outfox Tuchel’s tricky Blues? Or, will Chelsea start the first of their four remaining finals end with their 9th FA Cup crown? Some of the writers at The Chelsea Social give their thoughts and predictions regarding the Chelsea vs Leicester clash.
Chelsea vs Leicester: Introduction
The FA Cup Final, what a match that awaits us! The Foxes have been a neutrals favourite ever since THAT amazing season, but in recent times, they have arguably gained even more respect and admiration given the style of football they play and the general success they’ve had, despite not having comparable investment capacity that their more fancied top six rivals have.
Core to this is two things: 1) The Leicester Board’s ability to identify great talent and non-exorbitant prices whilst selling their more recognised players for a strong premium, and, 2) Brendan Rodgers. While many will look to the sharp transfer negotiation strategy of the Foxes, the latter is probably more crucial to their recent resurgence to the top four conversation. Rodgers is no stranger to the Premier League having guided Liverpool to the runners up sport before going onto Celtic and collecting an array of trophies to really convert his ‘potential’ to genuine top class manager.
Some will put forward the notion that he tends to drop off at the most critical point of the season and fail to take his teams to the next step, including this season as Leicester and Chelsea are neck and neck in a three-way battle for spots three and four in the Premier League. However, it would be negligent to ignore the broader context that Rodgers has lost some fundamentally important players such as Barnes and James which has affected their overall rhythm of play. That said, they still remain dogged and determined, and with a first FA Cup crown on the line for them, motivation couldn’t be any higher. Despite their injuries, including the one that might keep Centre Back stalwart Jonny Evans out, Leicester remain a formidable opponent with a sharp manager steering them, so for any Blues fans that believe that this will be a walk in the park, I fear they may be sadly mistaken.
Pivoting towards the other blue team in this clash, Chelsea had (key word had) been in pretty strong form and were significant favourites based on this good form plus their sky-high confidence. However, a hard dose of reality hit them like a tonne of bricks as North London rivals did the unthinkable and beat Chelsea 1-0 at Stamford Bridge to give Tuchel and his troops the Blues before this hugely important clash. Tuchel mentioned in his pre-match press conference that he was still angry by that performance and result and hoped that this would be channelled positively and help his team ensure they enter the FA Cup Final ‘fully focussed’.
From a personnel perspective, Chelsea appear to have received a boost as Tuchel confirmed Kovacic is fit to play a part for this match and that Kanté, who had been rested, is looking fresh and will be starting. Tuchel also noted that Kepa will start in goal ahead of his long-term no.1 Mendy so that will be an interesting subplot to monitor. Factoring in the above, Chelsea should be in a position to field a strong team and perhaps will treat the shock loss to Arsenal as a blessing in disguise so as to ensure that they don’t let complacency creep into their game again.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at what our team at The Chelsea Social think how the Chelsea vs Leicester FA Cup Final clash will turn out.
What’s their to say? It’s another FA Cup Final for the Blues to partake in. This time it’s Chelsea vs Leicester and the most intriguing part about this contest is that there are many concurrent stories that surround this fixture. Aside from it being a final, there’s the whole concept of these two teams meeting a few days later to help determine who has one foot in next season’s Champions League. Additionally, there’s the revenge factor for what happened back in January when the Foxes dismantled a soulless Chelsea which proved to be Frank Lampard’s last Premier League in charge of the Blues.
That said, this is a high-stakes clash in its own right for both clubs. On one hand, Rodger and the Foxes will be keen on securing a major piece of silverware to show the footballing community that they deserve to be genuinely recognised as a major player in English top-tier football, gain the advantage ahead of the League meeting a few days later, and also more importantly, win their first FA Cup trophy.
For Chelsea, this trophy represents the opportunity to help the talented youngsters get a taste of that proper winning mentality which could lay the platform for the short term (this season’s Premier League finish and Champions League Final) and the long term. Additionally, Tuchel will see this as a chance to get his hands quickly on a major trophy and put that behind him as he focuses on the next big objectives.
In discussing this match in my preview, this is a game whereby we need to balance respect for our quality opponent and trust ourselves given we know that when it comes to big games we’ve been involved in recently, we have both the character and commitment to get the job done. While I anticipate a tough tough clash, in factoring in the potential inclusion of Kovacic back from injury, and Kanté rested, I fully expect we will turn up and secure yet another (9th) FA Cup trophy for our cabinet. Here’s hoping!
Final Score: Chelsea 2 – 1 Leicester
It’s FA Cup Final time! A chance for Thomas Tuchel to win his first trophy in charge of the Blues when his Chelsea side travel to Wembley to take on Leicester City in what will be the 140th FA Cup Final. Since Tuchel’s appointment at the end of January, not many people would’ve expected the German to have made such a huge impact at the Bridge in such a short space of time. With a potential double on the line, Chelsea will hope to win one of the two trophies in question as well as the Champions League later this month.
After narrowly missing out on winning the FA Cup last season, losing at the hands of Arsenal, the Blues will be determined to not have a repeat of that heart-breaking defeat this time and lift the FA Cup for ninth time in our history. However, it won’t be easy as our opponents are a strong Leicester City side that have had an excellent season domestically under manager Brendan Rodger, who used to be Chelsea reserves manager way back in 2016. The Foxes look on course for a Champions League place and have been competing with the Blues in the race for the top four. The likes of Jamie Vardy and Kelechi Iheanacho will certainly cause Tuchel’s men some problems in the attack as our defence will need to be at their best to keep out the strong attack.
On Wednesday night, Chelsea were defeated 1-0 by rivals Arsenal in a very disappointing result though some players were rested as Tuchel will have had one eye on the cup final. I see this match being a very interesting one and I don’t see there being many goals in the game considering both sides have two strong defences. Someone is certainly going to turn up and be the hero at Wembley, whether that’s for either Chelsea or Leicester. It wouldn’t be a surprise to me at all if the final ends up being settled in extra time and maybe even penalties. However, I see the Blues coming away with the victory here and getting their hands on the FA Cup trophy.
Final Score: Chelsea 2 – 1 Leicester
Chelsea vs Leicester. It seems very surreal to be doing a prediction for the FA Cup Final, but here we are. Thomas Tuchel has admitted that he still isn’t happy that we go into this game having come out on the wrong side of a result against Arsenal in midweek, claiming it was “an opportunity lost”, and he’s certainly got a point. We go into the cup final knowing that top four is still not guaranteed, meaning our last two games have mammoth implications. Add to that, the fact we still have to play our reverse league fixture against Leicester on Tuesday, means there is still so many reasons for the players to not sit back and relax coming into the season’s climax.
It will be a brand new test for Tuchel, this will be the first time he has played Leicester as Chelsea boss and fans will be interested to see how the Blues bounce back from their disappointing loss to Arsenal and hopefully lift the FA Cup for the 9th time in their history. Brendan Rodgers will look to their important win against Manchester United on Tuesday to give them confidence and take the game to Chelsea, and with 21,000 fans set to be in attendance at Wembley, anything is possible. I think that with the likes of N’Golo Kanté, Mateo Kovacic, Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger returning from the squad, we will have too much for the Foxes and take home the greatest cup in English football.
Final Score: Chelsea 2 – 0 Leicester
The FA Cup Final this year will once again lack the true atmosphere. Although I am confident the 6,000+ fans from both sides will make a racket, the return to full stadiums can’t come sooner.
Onto the football. Thomas Tuchel has a chance to grab his first silverware in Chelsea colours. After Wednesday’s game, he’ll be very keen to see a backlash. The result against Arsenal was disappointing. Let’s not sugar-coat it. That’s why I am hoping Chelsea will manage to reverse the result of last year’s Wembley spectacle – and hopefully benefit from better refereeing too.
The key battles will be in the midfield. If Jorginho does play, or if Kovacic returns, they’ll partner Kante and they’ll be up against Tielemans and Ndidi. Leicester’s midfield axel has rightly been receiving plaudits all season and if Chelsea can’t get a grip of them, it’ll be a tough match.
However, I am backing Chelsea to win the war and be able to create a number of chances that the likes of Mason Mount, Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech can hopefully can take. It’ll be tight, it’ll be tense but I’m backing the Blues to get the result to bring the FA Cup back to the Bridge.
Final Score: Chelsea 2 – 1 Leicester
Written by Matt, Luka, Rob and RJ
Edited by RJ Bonaccorsi (@RJ_Goodthings)
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