The FA cup has returned, and it will be Leicester City and Chelsea squaring up against each other in one of the quarter-finals games at the King Power Stadium.
Leicester has been in immense form in the English Premier League, with one point separating them from Chelsea on the log. But Leicester has never won the trophy that Chelsa has won eight times.
Their last meeting ended in 1-1 draw at the Stamford Bridge. Chelsea will, however, be reeling in confidence, having won their last two games since the return of football actions after the coronavirus break. Chelsea had during the week handed Liverpool their first Premier League title in 30 years after beating Manchester City 2-1 at the Bridge.
With Chelsea leading other chasing parks for the Champions League place with five points, Frank Lampard is expected to give this game the high level of concentration it deserves, at least to have a shot at a title. They will have to do this by defeating impressive Leicester on their turf.
So, with Premier League action to resume during the midweek, Chelsea needs to put their Champions League ambition on the back-burner for now as they continue the quest to lift the trophy for a ninth time. If they succeed in lifting it, it will be Frank Lampard’s first title as a manager and Chelsea’s second in the last three seasons.
Chelsea have impressive runs in the FA Cup
Before reaching the last eight, Chelse had defeated Nottingham Forest, Hull City, and Liverpool. Their last FA cup meeting with the Foxes was a successful one, with the Blues winning the encounter on this ground. It, however, remains Leicester’s last home defeat in this competition with two wins from two without conceding a goal since.
Brendan Rogers’ men since then won three FA cup games; the last was a 1-0 triumph over Birmingham City in the last round, without conceding for the first time since March 1969. The other clean sheets were recorded against Wigan Athletic and Brentford.
This is expected to be Leicester’s toughest match of the season. The Foxes had reached the FA Cup final in 1969 but appeared to be going into this clash in poor form after drawing against relegation-threatened duo Watford and Brighton & Hove Albion since the restart, with one win recorded in seven games.
Leicester City vs. Chelsea: Changes expected
In a bid to rotate his squad with matches coming up every three days, Lampard is expected to make changes in his starting eleven with the likes of Tammy Abraham, Mateo Kovacic, Billy Gilmour, Pedro, Jorginho and Kurt Zouma all in line to feature.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek could also get another start as he continues his return to full fitness after more than a year out, while Willy Caballero is expected to come in for Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Willian is expected to sit this one out after scoring the penalty which gave the title to Liverpool on Thursday with the whole duration played.
Meanwhile, Leicester will also be without Ricardo Pereira and Daniel Amartey, but Rodgers has no fresh injury concerns against his former club.
With their main attention now on the Champions League place, which seemed less assured now than it was pre-lockdown, Leicester could choose to rest Jamie Vardy, Wilfred Ndidi, and Ben Chilwell, while Harvey Barnes, Youri Tielemans and Ayoze Perez could get some playing time.
Leicester possible starting lineup:
Schmeichel; Justin, Evans, Morgan, Fuchs; Perez, Choudhury, Tielemans, Praet, Barnes; Iheanacho
Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Caballero; James, Christensen, Zouma, Emerson; Gilmour, Jorginho, Kovacic; Loftus-Cheek, Abraham, Pedro