This weekend the FA Cup Final will take place at Wembley. Kicking off at 5.15pm on Saturday evening, last year’s beaten finalists Chelsea will be back to try and lift the famous trophy for a ninth time in their 16th final appearance.
Thomas Tuchel’s men will be facing the team just one place below them in the Premier League table, Leicester City, who have a former Chelsea coach in Brendan Rodgers as their manager. The Foxes will be attempting to win the FA Cup for the first time, after losing all four of the previous finals that they have contested.
The teams have gone toe-to-toe in the Premier League all season long and both currently lie in the qualification spots for next year’s Champions League. The game also has added spice given that they will face off in that competition just a few days after this final, only that time the game will be at Stamford Bridge.
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Let’s now preview the final in more detail, taking a closer look at both teams, before we bring you our tips for the game itself.
FA Cup Final Preview – Chelsea v Leicester City
Saturday night’s game will take place at Wembley in front of 20,000 spectators as fans are starting to be allowed back into games across England. Michael Oliver will referee the final while his assistant referee Sian Massey will become the first female official to officiate in an FA Cup Final.
Kick-off is 5.15pm GMT and it will be shown live on both terrestrial and satellite TV Channels in the UK and in many countries throughout the world.
Let’s now take a closer look at both teams competing in this showpiece event.
After a middling season under Frank Lampard, his successor Thomas Tuchel has not only led Chelsea to an FA Cup Final, but also overseen them reaching the Champions League final and also moved them up to third place in the Premier League.
Chelsea have a very good record in the FA Cup in recent years. They are the joint-third most successful team in the competitions history, with eight wins from 15 final appearances. Their last win was in 2018, when they beat Manchester United 1-0 thanks to an Eden Hazard penalty, but they were losers to Arsenal in last year’s final.
Here’s how the Londoners made it through to the final.
Chelsea’s Road to Wembley
- 3rd Round – V Morecambe (H) – W 4-0 (Mount 18, Werner 44, Hudson-Odoi 49, Havertz 85)
- 4th Round – V Luton Town (H) – W 3-1 (Abraham 11, 17, 74)
- 5th Round – V Barnsley (A) – W 1-0 (Abraham 64)
- Quarterfinals – V Sheffield United (H) – W 2-0 (Norwood OG 24, Ziyech 90)
- Semifinals – V Manchester City (N) – W 1-0 (Ziyech 55)
FA Cup Stats – Chelsea
- Matches Played – 5
- Goals Scored – 11
- Goals Conceded – 1
- Top Scorer – Tammy Abraham – 4 goals
Chelsea First Team Squad
- Eduoard Mendy (France)
- Kepa Arrizabalaga (Spain)
- Willy Caballero (Argentina)
- Thiago Silva (Brazil)
- Antonio Rudiger (Germany)
- Ben Chillwell (England)
- Cesar Azpilicueta (Spain)
- Reece James (England)
- Andreas Christensen (Denmark)
- Kurt Zouma (France)
- Emerson Palmieri (Italy)
- Marcos Alonso (Spain)
- Kai Haverz (Germany)
- Mason Mount (England)
- Hakim Ziyech (Egypt)
- N’Golo Kante (France)
- Jorginho (Italy)
- Mateo Kovacic (Croatia)
- Billy Gilmour (Scotland)
- Timo Werner (Germany)
- Christian Pulisic (United States)
- Olivier Giroud (France)
- Tammy Abraham (England)
- Callum Hudson-Odoi (England)
Throughout their FA Cup run, Chelsea have tended to rotate players for these games although in the later rounds they have tended to go with more full-strength team selections. I can see Thomas Tuchel doing that again here, with the exception perhaps of Kepa playing in goal ahead of regular first choice Mendy.
Timo Werner will likely get the nod in attack ahead of Abraham, while Pulisic may have to accept a place on the bench due to the improved form of Kai Havertz seeing him a likely starter.
Chelsea ProbableTeam (5-4-1) – Kepa, James, Chilwell, Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Silva, Kante, Jorginho, Mount, Havertz, Werner
Brendan Rodgers team have enjoyed an excellent season in the Premier League, their best since winning the title a few years ago and they remain in fourth place, albeit with a tough run in over their last two games of the season.
Add to that a solid FA Cup run and their first appearance at Wembley in the final since the late 1960s, and it is easy to see why Leicester fans are more than happy with their performances this season under the former Liverpool and Celtic manager.
The Foxes have reached four FA Cup Finals in the past, the last being in 1968, but they have lost all of them and so a win on Saturday would end their miserable FA Cup Final jinx.
Here’s how Leicester made it through to the final.
Leicester City’s Road To Wembley
- 3rd Round – V Stoke City (A) – W 4-0 (Justin 34, Albrighton 59, Perez 79, Barnes 81)
- 4th Round – V Brentford (A) – W 3-1 (Under 46, Tielemans 51(pen), Maddison 71)
- 5th Round – V Brighton (H) – W 1-0 (Iheanacho 90)
- Quarterfinals – V Manchester Utd (H) – W 3-1 (Iheanacho 24,78, Tielemans 52)
- Semifinals – V Southampton (N) – W 1-0 (Iheanacho 55)
FA Cup Stats – Leicester City
- Matches Played – 5
- Goals Scored – 12
- Goals Conceded – 2
- Top Scorer – Kelechi Ihenacho – 4 goals
Leicester City First Team Squad
- Kasper Schmeichel (Denmark)
- Danny Ward (Wales)
- Eldin Jakupovic (Bosnia Herzegovina)
- Caglar Soyuncu (Turkey)
- Wesley Fofana (France)
- James Justin (England) (injured)
- Luke Thomas (England)
- Timothy Castagne (Belgium)
- Ricardo (Portugal)
- Jonny Evans (Northern Ireland)
- Daniel Amartey (Ghana)
- Wes Morgan (Jamaica)
- Christian Fuchs (Germany)
- James Maddison (England)
- Cengiz Under (Turkey)
- Harvey Barnes (England) (injured)
- Wilfred N’Didi (Nigeria)
- Youri Tielemans (Belgium)
- Sidnei Tavares (Portugal)
- Hamza Chuudhary (England)
- Marc Albrighton (England)
- Nampalys Mendy (Senegal)
- Dennis Praet (Belgium)
- Jamie Vardy (England)
- Kelechi Iheanacho (Nigeria)
- Ayoze Perez (Spain)
The big injury concern for Leicester is in the heart of their defence where Jonny Evans is a doubt for the game. His absence would be a big blow for Leicester and if he cannot start, then Daniel Amartey would likely deputise for the Northern Irishman.
The Foxes will likely persist with their attacking duo of Vardy and Iheanacho, with the latter in good scoring form in this competition. Maddison will likely start ahead of Ayoze Perez in the number 10 role behind the front pair.
Leicester City Probable Team – (5-3-2) – Schmeichel, Ricardo, Castagne, Soyuncu, Evans, Fofana, N’Didi, Tielemans, Maddison, Vardy, Iheanacho
Chelsea v Leicester City Facts
- The teams have met nine times in the FA Cup, Leicester have not won a single game. There have been two draws and seven wins for Chelsea in those games.
- Both of Chelsea’s last two victories over Leicester have come in the FA Cup (in 2018 and 2020).
- In their most recent seven games, both teams have had two wins apiece, with three matches finishing as a draw.
- The teams have met just once this season, Leicester winning 2-0 at the King Power back in January. However, they will meet again just a few days after the FA Cup Final in their penultimate game of the Premier League season.
FA Cup Final Tips And Predictions
I do expect Saturday’s game to be a good one and I think it may require extra time to decide the winner. For me Chelsea are the team to beat here as their recent form is superb but Leicester have already beaten them this season, so the Londoners will be wary of the threat the Foxes have, especially in attack.
My gut feeling here is for this to end as a 1-1 draw at 90 minutes, but Chelsea to land the win in extra time. As such, the best betting options for me to consider are as follows:
- Full Time Result – Draw – 5/2
- To Lift The Trophy – Chelsea – 4/9
- Method of Victory – Extra Time – 17/2
- Game Decided in Extra Time – Yes – 11/2
- Correct Score (90 Mins) – Chelsea 1-1 Leicester City (11/2)
- Anytime Goalscorer – Mason Mount (Chelsea) – 12/5