STAR PREVIEW: Leicester City v Chelsea

This season had promised so much for Leicester but 2020 hasn’t been the Foxes’ year and they could suffer their biggest blow yet as Chelsea look capable of knocking them out of the FA Cup today.

The three-month break appears to have treated some teams better than others but Leicester had been struggling this year before the shutdown – they’d won just six games in 2020 (two of which were wins against Wigan and Brentford in this competition) and since the comeback they’ve looked just as lacklustre, creating little against Watford before Ben Chilwell’s screamer and then having Kasper Schmeichel to thank after his penalty save earned a point from a goalless draw against Brighton when they didn’t even force the opposition into a serious save.

In both games they had the look of a side whose tactics have been found out by opposition managers, and we might well see Rogers change tack here. Having both Jamie Vardy and Kelechi Iheanacho in the same side hasn’t worked, and we can expect Rogers to return to a a 4-2-3-1 with Vardy probably starting, whilst Wilfred Ndidi could be given more leeway to go forward to boot.

Those changes ought to help Leicester going forward but James Maddison and Jamie Vardy have been struggling and this could be a perfect time for Chelsea to strike.

All the attention was on Liverpool in midweek – and rightly so – but Chelsea produced a brilliant performance to overturn Manchester City and laid a marker of real promise on Thursday.

Leicester City v Chelsea
FA Cup Quarter-Final
16:00 BT Sport 1 / BT Sport Extra 1 / BT Sport Ultimate

HEAD TO HEAD RECORD
(Maximum 10 matches, since 2010)
MAY 2019 PREMIER LEAGUE Leicester 0-0 Chelsea
DEC 2018 PREMIER LEAGUE Chelsea 0-1 Leicester
MAR 2018 PREMIER LEAGUE Leicester 1-2 Chelsea
JAN 2018 PREMIER LEAGUE Chelsea 0-0 Leicester
SEP 2017 PREMIER LEAGUE Leicester 1-2 Chelsea
JAN 2017 PREMIER LEAGUE Leicester 0-3 Chelsea
OCT 2016 PREMIER LEAGUE Chelsea 3-0 Leicester
SEP 2016 EFL CUP Leicester 2-4 Chelsea
MAY 2016 PREMIER LEAGUE Chelsea 1-1 Leicester
DEC 2015 PREMIER LEAGUE Leicester 2-1 Chelsea

City had started the better of the two sides (although Ederson had been forced into an excellent save by Andreas Christensen) but when Christian Pulisic was given the chance to put Chelsea ahead, the blues didn’t look back with a fiery display and they could have had another goal when the outstanding Pulisic rounded Ederson, only to be denied by a brilliant goal-line clearance by Kyle Walker.

Chelsea eventually got their breakthrough when Tammy Abraham was denied in brilliant style by Ederson before Fernandinho’s handball led to Willian’s penalty. Pulisic was at the heart of everything good Chelsea did, but the whole side played well with Ross Barkley and Willian quietly effective, especially in off the ball duties, whilst Tammy Abraham was a big threat there.

It was an open game where City had their chances but the numbers don’t lie and Chelsea put up an astonishing 4.23 expected goals (Infogol) compared to 0.78 for City. That sort of number isn’t a fluke – Chelsea have been creating a whole host of chances all season.

The worry here for punters is that Chelsea have had a quick turnaround – they played Thursday night – but there’s plenty of squad depth for Lampard to use – we could see Fikayo Tomori and Callum Hudson-Odoi could come into the side – and this is the ideal time to be making the trip.

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