Leicester City will be looking to win their first-ever Emirates FA Cup in its 137-year history when they head to Wembley to face Champions League finalists Chelsea on Saturday evening.
This is the first of a double-header between the two sides in three days, as the Foxes take on Thomas Tuchel’s men in the cup final before travelling to Stamford Bridge in a crunch Premier League clash in mid-week.
After securing a 2-1 victory at Manchester United on Tuesday, the Foxes come into the clash with a renewed sense of confidence, whilst Chelsea suffered a first defeat in seven matches with a 1-0 loss against Arsenal and will be hoping to pick up some momentum going into the run-in.
Back in December 2018, Leicester took on Maurizio Sarri’s Blues at The Bridge as they looked to bounce back from a disappointing Carabao Cup quarter-final exit and push for a European place in the league.
Blues begin on the front foot
Chelsea started the game in the ascendancy and dominated possession as they aimed to crank up the pressure on Manchester City and Liverpool. They should’ve taken the lead in the 17th minute as Pedro met Willian’s cross but the Spaniard diverted his header inches wide of the target.
Moments later, Pedro turned provider this time for David Luiz who also came close but his header went past the right-hand post. Although Chelsea began on top, Leicester minimised the amount of clear-cut opportunities during the half. Willian had a half chance just before the break as he stung the palms of Kasper Schmeichel before Matteo Kovacic saw an effort blocked.
Leicester quick to respond after the break
The Foxes stuck to their game plan in the first half and it worked to perfection as they opened the scoring moments after the interval. A free-flowing move that involved Ricardo Pereira and James Maddison saw the latter threat a well-waited ball through to Jamie Vardy, who thundered a shot into the back of the net which sparked wild scenes from the travelling faithful.
It was a goal of real quality and one that showed the capabilities of this Leicester side which were far too inconsistent in Claude Puel’s reign at the club. Vardy almost doubled their advantage on 70 minutes but his attempt was blocked before Wilfred Ndidi fired over as the Foxes eyed a second to put the game beyond Chelsea’s reach.
Having scored his sixth goal of the season, Vardy was involved in some heroic defending to keep the one-nil lead as he cleared Antonio Rudiger’s header off the line before Marcos Alonso hit the post minutes later. However, the Foxes held on for a priceless win in West London and a first away at Chelsea since 2000.
This weekend's game is vital for both sides, as Leicester look to win the competition for the first time after losing the final on four separate occasions, whilst Chelsea aim to pick up some momentum heading into their Champions League final with Man City.
The last four fixtures between the teams has provided one victory for each and two draws, but the Foxes have the edge this season, having beaten Chelsea 2-0 back in January thanks to goals from Ndidi and Maddison. However, it's poised to be a close encounter between two teams who will need to have a strong end to 2020-21 if they want their seasons to be determined as a success.