Chelsea were in Spain midweek. Leicester City were in Spain midweek. And the Foxes probably feel better about their trip than Chelsea feel about theirs.
While we were getting kicked out of the Champions League, they were sunning, funning and footballing for four days in Marbella. They came back tanned and rested; we came back tested and bested.
While this match isn’t the equal of our quarter-final last FA Cup campaign against Manchester United (1-0 to the good guys) in terms of glamour, it’s certainly its equal in terms of difficulty. The Foxes haven’t lost at King Power since Manchester City came calling on the 18th of November. That’s a run of eleven matches without defeat, although it has been liberally sprinkled with draws.
Leicester won their last time out, at West Bromwich in the Premier League. The petulant Riyad Mahrez has not only been welcomed back into the fold, he’s scoring, with two in his last two.
If we’re looking for a good omen, they’re a bit thin on the ground. Chelsea did win at King Power Stadium 2-1 in a league match last September. But the club is riding a five-game away losing streak, dating back to our win at Brighton on January 20th.
However, a longer view of history is decidedly rosier, so how about we dwell on that instead?
- Leicester have never beaten Chelsea in the FA Cup. Played five, won five for the Londoners. (Two of them went to a replay);
- Chelsea have won the FA Cup the last three times the teams have met, in 1997, 2000 and 2012;
- They’ve played but one quarter-finals, a 5-2 Chelsea win in 2012;
- In all competitions, Chelsea have topped Leicester in 12 of their last 15 matches, with just one loss.
I can’t think of a better time to make it 13 in 16 contests.
Date / Time: Sunday, March 18, 2018, 16:30 GMT; 12:30pm EDT; 10pm IST
Venue: King Power Stadium, Leicester, England
Referee: Craig Pawson — ah, Craig Pawson. Last time he set foot in Stamford Bridge he sent off Gary Cahill and Cesc Fabregas in our 3-2 loss to Burnley back in August. If you can handle a little blue language, The Girl Who Likes Balls vents her spleen about that one. After that debacle he handled our 1-0 win at Bournemouth, somehow not managing to book a single Chelsea player. If you’re looking for a solid, reliable official, Pawson might not be your man. The illustrious Howard Webb once even suggested he be given the weekend off after some particularly bad outing in 2016.
Forecast: Cold, really cold and a biting wind. There’s also the possibility of snow showers match day morning. Temperature 1°C (33°F), winds 35 km/h (22mph). Brrrr!
On TV: BBC One (UK); FOX Sports 2, FOX Deportes (USA); Sony Ten HD 2 (India); elsewhere
Streaming online: BBC Radio 5 Live (UK radio); fuboTV, FOX Sports GO (select markets) (USA); LCFC Radio (int’l, radio).
Team news Chelsea: Same old, same old. Luiz out, Barkles nursing his hammy. Otherwise nothing that Conte saw fit to mention in his pre-match press conference.
Team news Leicester: Just the one injury in left-back Daniel Amartey, out with a hamstring he pulled in their last match against Bournemouth. They won’t be bothered, he hadn’t been playing before that match either.
Last time: at King Power, blessedly sunny and warm (unlike Sunday) and the glory of a goal from Morata 41’), plus Kanté’s only goal of the season (50’).