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A crunch week for Chelsea and Leicester City begins at Wembley on Saturday with the FA Cup Final.
The two teams go to battle at the home of football for the oldest cup competition in the world before meeting at Stamford Bridge three days later for what could be a do-or-die top-four clash.
Thomas Tuchel will be eager to get the first leg of a potential double in the bag ahead of the Champions League final against Manchester City later this month.
The former Borussia Dortmund and PSG boss has done sterling work since replacing Frank Lampard but the pressure for silverware at Chelsea remains as high as ever.
Brendan Rodgers is a lot further down the line in his project at Leicester and the margins between a brilliant season and crushing disappointment are fine.
A trophy and top-four finish would represent a massive step forward but they head into the FA Cup Final as outsiders.
Chelsea v Leicester Stats
- It’ll be the second meeting of the season between the two teams – Leicester triumphed 2-0 at the King Power Stadium in January thanks to first-half goals from Wilfred Ndidi and James Maddison.
- Saturday’s fixture is the 10th FA Cup meeting in history between the two clubs – if Leicester want to get their hands on the trophy within 90 minutes they’ll have to do something they’ve never done before in the competition and beat Chelsea.
- In fact, the Foxes have never won the FA Cup and will be hoping it’s fifth-time lucky in the Final.
- Chelsea have featured in seven of the 14 FA Cup Finals staged at the new Wembley Stadium, lifting the trophy on five occasions.
- There’s little to split the two over the last five matches with both claiming one win and three draws apiece.
Chelsea v Leicester Team News
N’Golo Kante will start for Chelsea after an Achilles injury forced him to miss the Premier League defeat to Arsenal on Wednesday. Speaking at his pre-match press conference, Tuchel said: “It was pain management, not a huge injury. It was nothing to be afraid of getting bigger. He trained yesterday and today full, no complaints.”
Mateo Kovacic is also available after a nine-match absence due to a muscle injury. “It’s huge because Mateo has everything we need in the midfield: experience, power, can beat players, has physical ability and has played big games in the Premier League,” said Tuchel.
Andreas Christensen has also returned to full training while Kepa Arrizabalaga has played between the sticks in all five of Chelsea’s FA Cup ties and he’s been assured of his place in the starting XI.
Saturday 5.15pm: Chelsea v Leicester
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Leicester are sweating on Jonny Evans’ fitness after the experienced centre-back suffered a heel injury in the warmup before last week’s defeat to Newcastle.
Brendan Rodgers told the press: “In my time at the club he has been immense. If he’s not available it’ll be a big loss. We have other players to come in but if Jonny is available and fit enough it’s a huge boost for us.”
Harvey Barnes and James Justin (both knee) are long-term absentees while Wes Morgan (back) is also unavailable.
Chelsea v Leicester Prediction
Paddy’s top football pundit Phil Thompson is expecting a hard-fought match between the two teams.
Thommo, an FA Cup winner with Liverpool in 1974, knows what needs to be done at Wembley to get your hands on the famous trophy and he’s given us his all-important prediction for the big match…
“I think Jamie Vardy is the man to Score for Leicester and I think Both Teams will Score in this one, but I’m going for Chelsea just to win it 2-1. I’ve also got Mount to Score Anytime for Chelsea.”
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