One of the ties of the FA Cup quarter-finals gets underway on Sunday afternoon at the King Power Stadium as Claude Puel’s Leicester City host Chelsea.
The Foxes will be searching for their first FA Cup semi-final appearance in 36 years whilst Antonio Conte’s men will be aiming to recover from their 3-0 defeat to Barcelona on Wednesday night, sealing their exit from the UEFA Champions League.
FA Cup focus
Both sides head into this game without any more considerable distractions besides the FA Cup. The domestic league campaigns of both Puel’s side and Antonio Conte’s champions are all-but finished – the Foxes being safely positioned in the top-eight and Chelsea just outside the top-four.
As a result, it gives the sides plenty of opportunities to push for silverware, especially Chelsea who have won the FA Cup seven times. In comparison, the Foxes have never lifted the trophy despite having reached four separate finals.
The runs of both sides in the historical competition have not been vintage by any means however. The Blues required a replay to get past Norwich City in the third round before waltzing past the likes of Hull City and Newcastle United.
Leicester City also required two games to get past League One outfit Fleetwood Town at the start of their campaign but dismissed of Peterborough United 5-1 in the fourth round before edging past Sheffield United to reach the quarter-finals.
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Chelsea dominance at the King Power
One statistic that firmly puts Leicester at the disadvantage is their derisory historical form against the Blues. The Foxes have lost an eye-watering 55 games out of the 111 that the two teams have come together for, including four out of the last five meetings.
As a matter of fact, the East-Midlanders have only won one game out of the last 15 between them, that being the famous 2-1 victory at the King Power Stadium as they powered to the Premier League crown in 2015.
That doesn’t mean to say that the Foxes do not put up a considerable fight however. Taking this season’s games for example, Leicester will have felt unfortunate to have only taken one point after a close 2-1 defeat at home and a hard-fought 0-0 stalemate at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea’s terrific form against the Foxes continues in the FA Cup. In seven meetings, including replays, they have won five. Their last victory in cup action against the Foxes came in a 5-2 thumping of the then-Championship outfit in 2012. Fernando Torres ended a 24-game goalless streak as the Blues booked their place in the semi-finals.
Intriguingly, the last three times that these two have come together in the FA Cup, Chelsea have gone on to lift the trophy in the following May.
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There are not all too many injury worries for either side to worry about ahead of the clash in the East-Midlands. Furthermore, with the international break arriving straight after the game, it would not be a surprise to see extremely strong sides selected by both managers.
In regards to Leicester, Daniel Amartey is the only one who has definitely been ruled out after he suffered a hamstring injury in the recent 1-1 draw against AFC Bournemouth.
Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez will undoubtedly be two of the first names on the team sheet after putting in excellent displays at the Hawthorns against West Bromwich Albion last weekend.
Kelechi Iheanacho also bagged his first goal against the Baggies and is now starting to find a bit of form. The Nigerian has scored four goals in as many FA Cup games this season taking his record to nine goals in ten appearances throughout his fledgling career.
David Luiz remains restricted to the side lines for Chelsea with a knee injury so will not be able to play a part. The Brazilian defender is also joined on the injury table by Ross Barkley who has had to endure a stop-start beginning to his Chelsea career since joining in January.
Michy Batshuayi is Chelsea’s top goalscorer in the FA Cup this season with four goals but is currently out on loan at Borussia Dortmund. Willian notched a brace in the previous round against Hull City so could be one to watch this weekend again.
Leicester City: Schmeichel; Simpson, Maguire, Dragović, Chilwell; Mahrez, Iborra, N’didi, Gray, Vardy, Iheanacho.
Chelsea: Caballero; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Cahill; Zappacosta, Bakayoko, Fàbregas, Alonso; Pedro, Willian, Morata.