Chelsea vs. Leicester City: FA Cup Final odds and preview
For the first time in 14 years, a pair of top-four Premier League clubs will take part in the FA Cup final as Chelsea squares off with Leicester City at Wembley Stadium on Saturday.
The Blues are favored heavily to win the match, with a low-scoring affair expected.
Sat, May 15 2021, 4:15 PM
Chelsea seeking ninth FA Cup
The Blues have been terrific of late, but suffered a 1-0 defeat to Arsenal mid-week as they heavily rotated their squad. They will look to get back to their winning ways on Saturday, as they pursue their ninth FA Cup in club history. Only Arsenal and Manchester United have more cups, and a win would break a tie with rival Tottenham for third place, giving Chelsea a bit more motivation. It will be their third Final appearance in four years, after they fell last season to Arsenal.
The central core of their defense is expected to return to the starting XI for the match, with Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen, and N’Golo Kante all ready to go. Manager Thomas Tuchel has confirmed that beleaguered keeper Kepa will keep his place in goal, as he has throughout the competition. Jorginho is expected to partner with Kante, while Kai Havertz and Mason Mount should partner with either Christian Pulisic or Timo Werner in attack.
Since taking over as manager following a 2-0 defeat to Leicester earlier this season, Tuchel has won 17 of his 26 matches in charge with only three defeats. A victory on Saturday would give him a domestic cup in three of the five major leagues in Europe, adding to his German and French achievements. It would also keep their hopes of a Champions League/FA Cup double alive.
Leicester City hoping to win first cup in five tries
The four previous attempts at an FA Cup for Leicester have ended in failure, with the last three chances all coming in the 1960s. No team has lost more cup finals in England without winning the trophy at least once, a plaudit the Foxes will hope to no longer hold after this weekend. Manager Brendan Rodgers also hopes to end his personal drought in England, having never lifted a trophy of any sort while managing in either the Championship or the Premier League.
Their changes may hinge on the status of Jonny Evans. The veteran center back has missed their last two matches and they have conceded five goals in those outings. If he is unable to go, it will be a massive test to keep Chelsea off the scoresheet.
If Leicester are to come out victorious, they will need James Maddison and Youri Tielemans to control the midfield battle. Chelsea like to control the possession, and the pair will need to be able to help keep the ball when they get it back. They also will need Jamie Vardy to find his scoring form again, and Kelechi Iheanacho to maintain his. The 3-2 win over United on Tuesday saw him fail to score for just the second time in seven matches.
Trends to keep an eye on
Chelsea have lost just once in their last 11 matches in the FA Cup, with the lone defeat coming last year in a 2-1 loss to Arsenal. They have not conceded a goal in their last three matches in the tournament, none of which have seen more than three goals scored.
Chelsea have had more than two goals scored just once in their last eight matches against the Foxes in all competitions. They also have lost just once in their last 10 home matches against Leicester, and while the match will not be at Stamford Bridge, it will be held in London.
Leicester have lost just once in their last nine FA Cup matches. They have been tied at the half in each of their last three matches in the competition, before winning at full time.
While Leicester has gotten to the final, they have played nobody of consequence to reach this point, outside of Manchester United. Meanwhile, Chelsea reached the final by taking down Manchester City, and Tuchel has shown in knockout tournaments that he sets his teams up to defend first and attack second. They achieve this best by controlling the ball and not allowing the other team to get into a rhythm.
Leicester City will struggle to score
While Leicester should get some chances on the counter, Chelsea are set up with three center backs and Kante staying back, which will help limit the potential danger to Kepa. At the other end, even Evans being in the lineup won’t be enough to keep the Blues off the scoresheet. Chelsea should also get a boost from the fans, as more than 20,000 will be allowed to attend the match just miles from Stamford Bridge. Look for Chelsea to lift the FA Cup for the second time in four years, while keeping Leicester from scoring a goal.