There’s not much separating Chelsea and Leicester City these days. After 31 rounds in the Premier League, there’s a difference of just one point between the two teams in third and fourth. The two head-to-head games both finished in draws, 1-1 at Stamford Bridge early in the season, 2-2 at King Power not long before the three-month interruption of a still raging pandemic. Leicester do double-up Chelsea in terms of goal difference, which breaks my narrative, but so does the two teams’ recent forms, which favors Chelsea.
In any case, a winner must be found this Sunday — extra time and penalties if needed — as the two clash in the FA Cup quarterfinals. Neither will want to falter now, almost within touching distance of a trophy.
Date / Time: Sunday, June 28, 2020, 16.00 BST; 11am EDT; 8:30pm IST
Venue: King Power Stadium, Leicester, England
Referee: Mike Dean (on pitch); Martin Atkinson (VAR)
Forecast: Sunny but breezy, more spring than summer
On TV: BT Sport 1 (UK); none (USA); Sony TEN 2 (India); SuperSport 3 (NGA); elsewhere
Streaming: BT Sport Live (UK); ESPN+ (USA); Sony LIV (India); DStv Now (NGA) — We (WAGNH) have an affiliate link for ESPN+ if you’re in the US and would like to sign up for the best value in sports streaming (or, if you’re like me, sign up for the Disney-Hulu-ESPN+ bundle).
Leicester City team news: Leicester needed a penalty save from Kasper Schmeichel to preserve a draw against Brighton on Tuesday, but with just two points from their two games so far in Project Restart, they have been pulled right back down into the top-four dogfight. But the FA Cup is a just a one-off knockout game, and previous form often goes right out the window then.
Former Chelsea reserves coach Brendan Rodgers has been rotating his squad to keep his midfield fresh, but their only goal since the restart has come via a wonderstrike from left back and Chelsea transfer target Ben Chilwell.
To get this far, Leicester have beaten Championship sides Wigan Athletic, Brentford, and Birmingham City, none too heavily but all without conceding a goal (4-0 combined scoreline). Long-term injury victims Daniel Amartey (ankle) and Ricardo Pereira (knee) remain out, otherwise everyone’s available for selection.
View from the enemy: Fosse Posse
Chelsea team news: It’s similarly good news for Chelsea in terms of injuries, with only Fikayo Tomori and Callum Hudson-Odoi (likely) remaining out with minor problems, just as they have been since the restart.
Chelsea have won four in a row in all competitions, stretching back to before the break, including wins over Manchester City and champions Liverpool, whom we vanquished 2-0 in the previous round of this competition. Chelsea also beat Hull City and Nottingham Forest, both from the Championship, in prior rounds.
Previously: This game is a repeat of the 2018 FA Cup quarterfinals, which Conte’s Chelsea won in extra time thanks to a header(!) from Pedro. We would of course go on to win the trophy that season! Could history repeat itself?