Leicester City vs Chelsea: FA Cup QF Match Preview

Chelsea stumble across another roadblock in their season in the form of an FA Cup Quarter Final clash with Leicester City. The Blues are in terrific form, gaining 6 points in the two league games since the restart, including a creditable victory over Manchester City. The home side, however, have struggled to amass any momentum heading into the tie, with just 2 points out of a possible 6. This Leicester form will ignite a fire in Frank Lampard’s men that will hopefully take The Blues through to the Semi-Finals.

Chelsea have had a strong run in the competition thus far, with comfortable victories over Nottingham Forest, Hull City, and this season’s Champions of England Liverpool, in a game that shocked the footballing universe. Leicester have also sailed through pleasantly with wins over Wigan, Brentford and Birmingham City. This game has the potential to tick every box, with both teams also fighting for 3rd place in the Premier League, and both sides also having the quality to go all the way in the cup.

As mentioned previously, both sides will believe they can win the FA Cup, and Lampard and Rodgers will hope to get the upper hand at the King Power Stadium later today. Chelsea are the favourites heading into the game, but form isn’t the most important factor thanks to the magic of the FA Cup. With Chelsea’s next fixture just around the corner, Lampard will want to rotate as much as possible, without ruining the momentum of the side. By virtue of this, I expect the Boss to line up as follows:
Cabellero, James, Zouma, Rudiger, Emerson, Barkley, Gilmour, Kovacic, Pedro, Loftus Cheek, Abraham.
Lampard has given us some insight into what to expect from the lads, stating: “We will certainly have to think about if we need to rotate a bit to keep freshness in the players.”

Following his outstanding performance against Man City, Christian Pulisic will hope to continue his red hot form, but a bench appearance is more likely for the American, considering the importance of the West Ham game on Wednesday. Lampard praised Captain America following his Man of the Match performance on Thursday. “He definitely has the talent, and he needs to try and get to that level. I’m delighted to have him at the minute, he works hard every day, and he has to set his sights as high as he possibly can.”

Players to watch:
Reece James: The youngster has struggled to find his place in the starting 11 since the Premier League restart, and this hasn’t been assisted by Cesar Azpilicueta’s fantastic performances. Reece has also been nursing a slight injury but is expected to start against Leicester. With a dominant performance today, we can expect James to gradually find his feet again. The full-back oozes quality and provides a strong balance of attacking and defensive work-rate. An exciting game awaits.

Demarai Gray: Gray has impacted both previous games, starting one and featuring off the bench, with a mix of pacey, darting runs, and movement through the middle. The Englishman has a chance to thrive on the left-hand-side but will be up against a strong defender in Reece James. With that being said, Gray has the quality to provide Leicester with a major threat and will hope to drive his team to glory.

Key Battle:
Hamza Choudhury vs Billy Gilmour
The battle of the 6’s. Both players provide plenty of quality, and both have aspirations to thrive on the big stage. Hamza Choudhury can move with the ball and is capable of producing cutthroat passes into Vardy or Iheanacho. As for Gilmour, the sky is the limit. The ‘Scottish Iniesta’ has patrolled each game he has been called upon, including Chelsea’s last two games before the 3-month break. This has the potential to be a very interesting battle in the middle of the park.

Written by Mash Greaves.

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