Friday, May 14, 2021

FA Cup Final - Tough challenge for Leicester

Leicester have become a Premier League powerhouse in recent years and their history reached its apex when they won the league in shocking fashion during the 2015/16 season under Claudio Ranieri. Brendan Rogers has given the team a renewed impetus since taking the helm a couple years ago but has yet to make a major imprint by either winning a trophy or getting the team back in the Champions League. He is close to doing so this year as they are a match away from winning the FA Cup and a well-positioned third in the later stages of the EPL.

But here comes nemesis Chelsea who will battle them for the FA Cup trophy and third league spot as well. Since his arrival to replace Frank Lampard, manager Tuchel has made a major impact for the Blues. This is a team no-one will confidently play against; they have even beaten champions Man City twice in as many outings since the German took over. His team is in the FA Cup and Champions League finals and is well on the way to secure UCL qualification for next year. This has got to be considered an amazing achievement given that the results were oh-so-so under Lampard. 

The Blues are rock solid in the defensive and midfield compartments which are really their forte. Opposing teams find it hard to break them down as they are very well organized. Their Achilles tendon is up front with striker Werner being guilty of glaring misses all season long. The German forward seems to do everything right, except score. He will have to stop his profligacy in front of goal Saturday if the Blues are to have a live chance to win this.

Chelsea go into the match as deserved favourites. They have the momentum and the better team. Leicester are in no way push-overs and have a great stopper in Schmeichel. If it goes to penalties, I'd rather side with the Danish stopper in any match. The Foxes' form lately have been over-reliant on striker Iheanacho. The Nigerian is making a knack of scoring in every match and is clearly the in-form striker in England at the moment.  Him or Vardy have the quality to score against any defence, so Rudiger and Silva are warned for the Blues. The potential absence of Johnny Evans at the heart of the Leicester defence would definitely be a negative. The former Man Utd defender is a rock at the back and his absence for the past weeks has clearly been felt. Even if match fit tomorrow, he might have to battle early cobwebs to get back into match rhythm.

This will be surely a tactical battle between 2 managers known for their tactical minds. I think Chelsea are going to have the more chances to score and the question is whether they can translate them into goals. If Tuchel's men can smother what Iheanacho and Vardy can throw at them, they should have enough quality to do damage at the other end. Roger's wait for a trophy with Leicester will have to wait a bit more, I believe.

Win (trophy, 90 mins): Chelsea

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