Chelsea v Leicester saw more heartbreak for the Blues as they failed at the final hurdle for a second consecutive season in the FA Cup. Thomas Tuchel surprisingly laid out a conservative starting eleven despite having arguably a stronger lineup on the bench. While the Blues looked the more likely to score in the first half, there were not too many moments of brilliance from either side before heading into the break. This included Marcos Alonso’s poor touch, Ziyech’s awry passing, and Werner’s non-shooting boots which unfortunately made it easy for Leicester to defend against. The second half turned out more scrappy and sloppy as Chelsea struggled to string many penetrative passes in the final third. This was then compounded by a world-class long range strike from Tielemans in the 63rd minute who capitalised on a fortunate deflection from Ayoze Perez’s leg then arm. It seemed everything from that moment it was going to be the Foxes day as every header or shot was either saved or off target from Chelsea. The Blues, through former Fox Ben Chilwell, thought they had a well-worked equaliser in the 89th minute but unfortunately VAR decided that Chilwell was offside by the smallest of margins. Given the initial Leicester goal probably should’ve been overruled due to the handball by Perez, Blues fans were left fuming over yet another VAR-related calamity. In the end, the Foxes won their first FA Cup 1-0 while Chelsea were left to rue to a missed opportunity to win a major piece of silverware and a chance to gain a psychological advantage over the Foxes who they play in the League in a few days time. With that, our fellow writers share their distressing thoughts and reactions regarding the FA Cup Final between Chelsea v Leicester.
Chelsea v Leicester: Quick Recap
The opening 20 minutes of the Chelsea v Leicester clash were heavily dominated by the Blues as the London side controlled most of the possession. However, their poor decision-making in the final third gave the experienced Leicester keeper, Kasper Schmeichel, no trouble at all unfortunately. Brendan Rodgers’ side pressed well in numbers causing several mistakes in Chelsea’s midfield. Nevertheless, the Foxes posed no real threat on the ball as Chelsea’s counter-press quickly halted any genuine Leicester attack. Timo Werner found himself in some good positions as he tends to do but unfortunately couldn’t cleanly strike the ball and thus cause frustration to both himself and Blues worldwide. The first half in its entirety was quite strategic and slow-burning with both teams working hard off the ball to nullify each other’s pace up front. The highlight for the Blues in the first half was arguably captain Cesar Azpilicueta’s oh so close moment as he was centimeters away from heading home from close range.
In the second stanza, while the Blues continued to maintain possession and territory, they came out with less energy and intensity which made it easy for the Foxes to manage. This lack of spark led to losses in key midfield battles that gave the Foxes some counter-attacking opportunities to try and exploit Chelsea. This eventually led to a devastating sucker punch came in the 63rd minute as a controversial leg-to-arm not being pulled up which led to Leicester’s goal. While the strike from Tielemans was sensational, the issue surrounding the build-up led to many Blues fans questioning whether this should have stood. Despite the protests led by Kepa and Jorginho, the goal remained and it gave the Foxes an unlikely lead against the run of play.
While Chelsea pushed many numbers forward in the final 25 minutes and Tuchel rolled the dice with bringing on some attacking players in Pulisic, Hudson-Odoi, Havertz, Giroud and Chilwell, the resilience of the Leicester defence, and good old good luck, paid off. This was best summarised in the 89th minute where a late equaliser was overturned by VAR after ruling that Ben Chilwell was offside in the build-up despite it being very very marginal at best. The Chelsea Social crew shares their thoughts on the Chelsea v Leicester clash which saw our Blues lose a second FA Cup Final in as many seasons.
Utter shambles. Complete frustration filled my body at full-time as a late equaliser was denied. We played alright in the first half, especially with our counter-pressing, unfortunately our final product let us down again. I feel that Kepa shouldn’t be blamed for the goal as it was just a world-class strike. Jorginho probably could’ve done better in that counterattack that led to the goal but it really should’ve been disallowed. The ball clearly hit Ayoze Perez’s hand and it led to a goal so therefore it shouldn’t be a goal. The offside goal against Chilwell was also very close and I knew it was too good to be true. Albeit that it could’ve gone either way, Chelsea didn’t show up again and their lack of hunger let us down. Onto to Tuesday where hopefully they can give us a small bit of redemption.
There’s a simple way of explaining my feelings now. Losing a game, regardless of the opponents, is always disappointing. Losing a big game, when the result really matters for the season is gutting. Losing the FA Cup Final is almost impossible to take. Losing the FA Cup Final for the third time in five years is beyond bearable. And, losing a hugely important game, especially when you thought you’d equalised in the last minute only for it to be ruled out by VAR? Well, I can’t even put that into words.
There are still three games to go, and all of them are as important, if not more so than the one we faced on Saturday. The simple fact is every Chelsea fan will be devastated, and, more than anything, disheartened seeing as just one week ago everything was perfect at Chelsea Football Club.
Now however, things feel dreadful with the next few fixtures being absolutely monumental for the fate of this season which can go either way. Unfortunately, that’s football.
Genuinely heartbroken. The Chelsea v Leicester FA Cup Final clash was something that I was really looking forward to, particularly as: 1) It was the final of a competition we value so highly, 2) we wanted redemption for last season’s loss to Arsenal in the final, and, 3) we could have looked to use this to not only win our 9th FA Cup, but perhaps more importantly, get one over a direct top four rival in which we are facing in a few days time.
However, the performance and result was both underwhelming as it was unacceptable. Following the abysmal Arsenal display a few days earlier, the one thing I was keeping myself optimistic about was that the woeful efforts during that game would mean we would be razor-sharp in the FA Cup Final and beyond through to the end of the season. Instead, we got given a typical Chelsea display involving plenty of possession and territory without enough penetration or purpose.
While we do have a right to feel aggrieved (at least I do) about some of the controversial calls that went against us that had a major influence on the outcome, the brutal reality is that we did not do enough to ensure that we would be the masters of our own destiny and not allow ourselves to fall victim of a consistently inconsistent VAR application process.
In the end, a gut-wrenching and severely bitter pill to swallow, but the only saving grace is that we have the good fortune of being given an immediate opportunity for redemption and to genuinely ensure we salvage our rapidly-diminishing season. Here’s hoping we write a positive conclusion in what has truly been a topsy-turvy season.
Anger, frustration, annoyance, sadness, heartache – all emotions any Chelsea fan is entitled to feel after a crushing loss to Leicester City in the FA Cup Final. Billed as favourites heading into the game, this definitely appeared to be a winnable final for the men in Blue.
What transpired was a story of Chelsea this season: dominance in possession, dominance territorially but nothing in the way of end product or tangible goalmouth chances. In the aftermath, manager Thomas Tuchel pointed to the fact that his side were unlucky not to win the game. It is difficult to see his point given the fact that Chelsea were largely toothless for the better part of 95 minutes. One incident involved VAR where a questionable offside decision denied Ben Chilwell an equalising goal against his former side. Though the West London outfit may feel aggrieved at this call and perhaps rightfully so, it doesn’t justify an entire game’s worth of huffing and puffing in attack.
Going into a mammoth three games to end the season, the manager, players and club as a whole need to take a hard look at themselves, especially when it comes to performances in cup finals and when the team are supposedly more fancied. Where Chelsea ends up in two weeks’ time remains to be seen. It will take a great deal of mental fortitude to come out of it with three wins.
Written by Rey, Noah, Dan and RJ
Edited by Ross-John (RJ) Bonaccorsi (@RJ_Goodthings)
Follow us on: