MX23RW : Friday, June 18 03:33:43| >> :120:19478:19478:
May 18, 2021 at 8.15pm UK at Stamford Bridge
ChelseaChelsea
2-1
LeicesterLeicester City
Rudiger (47'), Jorginho (66' pen.)
Azpilicueta (87'), Mendy (90+1')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Iheanacho (76')
Perez (32'), Fofana (82'), Ndidi (89'), Pereira (90+4'), Amartey (90+5')

Preview: Chelsea vs. Leicester City - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Tuesday's Premier League clash between Chelsea and Leicester City, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Chelsea take on Leicester City at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League on Tuesday, with both sides looking to increase their chances of finishing in the top four of the table in order to qualify for next season's Champions League.

Leicester defeated Chelsea 1-0 to win their first ever FA Cup at Wembley on Saturday, so it will be a quick turnaround for both teams.


Match preview

Chelsea's Kepa Arrizabalaga in action against Arsenal in the Premier League on May 12, 2021© Reuters

Having missed the opportunity to move back above Leicester into third place in the table after losing 1-0 to Arsenal on Wednesday, the subsequent FA Cup final defeat to Leicester on Saturday has comfortably made this Thomas Tuchel's most testing week since taking charge of Chelsea in January.

The German has undeniably made a superb impact since replacing Frank Lampard as manager, winning 17 of his 27 matches in all competitions while conceding only 13 goals in the process, but he needs to ensure that his side get over the line in terms of qualifying for next season's Champions League.

Should they miss out on a top four spot, the Blues would have a second bite at the cherry against Manchester City in the final of the Champions League at the end of May, but there are far from any guarantees against a side of Pep Guardiola's calibre.

Chelsea's performances in both of their recent defeats were not particularly bad by any means, with the Blues heavily dominating both the shot and possession counts, but Tuchel's side lacked a touch of creativity and as a result could not find a meaningful response to a major error from Jorginho and a wondrous strike from Youri Tielemans respectively.

Tuchel will be demanding a major response from his players against the Foxes on Tuesday, then, with only a win ensuring that a top four position would remain in their own hands heading into the final day's trip to Aston Villa, with the ominous rise of Liverpool in recent weeks creating the only remaining major sub-plot of the Premier League this season.

Leicester City's Jamie Vardy celebrates winning the FA Cup on May 15, 2021© Reuters

Leicester's players, meanwhile, may have woken up on Sunday morning with a slightly sore head after celebrating the club's maiden FA Cup triumph, but their attention must quickly return to getting over the line in terms of securing their qualification for next season's Champions League.

Like last season, Brendan Rodgers's side have held onto a top four position for the vast majority of the campaign, so they will certainly not want to fall out at the final hurdle once again.

Rodgers and his players will have taken confidence from how defensively solid they were against Chelsea at Wembley on Saturday, with avoiding defeat on Tuesday enough to ensure that their destiny will remain in their own hands heading into the final day's fixture against Tottenham Hotspur in front of a limited capacity at the King Power Stadium.

There is more than a small chance that they could be physically and mentally fatigued after the monumental effort they put into the final, though, with Chelsea also possessing greater squad depth to freshen things up if required. Rodgers may need to spring one of his trademark tactical surprises to improve his side's probability of getting the point they require.

Chelsea Premier League form:
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L

Chelsea form (all competitions):
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • L

Leicester City Premier League form:
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • W

Leicester City form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • W



Team News

Mateo Kovacic in action for Chelsea on July 14, 2020© Reuters

Chelsea continue to have doubts regarding the fitness of Mateo Kovacic and Andreas Christensen, with neither player included in Tuchel's squad for the FA Cup final on Saturday.

Kovacic has missed the Blues' last 10 matches with a hamstring problem, but Tuchel had indicated that the Croatian would be available again for Saturday's final, so he could return here alongside N'Golo Kante in place of the out of form Jorginho.

Christensen, meanwhile, went off in the closing stages of the recent league victory over Man City due to a hamstring injury, with Tuchel revealing that the defender is unlikely to return until next Sunday's final day fixture against Villa.

The German is likely to make several changes from Saturday's final, with the likes of Edouard Mendy, Kurt Zouma, Ben Chilwell, Kai Havertz and Christian Pulisic all pushing for a starting berth.

As mentioned, Leicester are not blessed with the squad depth of their forthcoming opponents, and they suffered a major blow when Jonny Evans's muscle issue reoccurred during Saturday's final.

The Northern Ireland international was withdrawn for Marc Albrighton after only 34 minutes at Wembley, with Timothy Castagne likely to move into the back three as was the case on Saturday, with Albrighton and Ricardo Pereira providing options to start at right wing-back.

Kelechi Iheanacho failed to impress at Wembley and was consequently replaced by James Maddison after 67 minutes, with Rodgers likely to be tempted to make this switch from the start at Stamford Bridge in order to gain more of a foothold in midfield.

Harvey Barnes and James Justin remain sidelined until next season due to serious knee injuries.

Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Mendy; James, Zouma, Rudiger; Azpilicueta, Kante, Kovacic, Chilwell; Mount, Havertz, Pulisic

Leicester City possible starting lineup:
Schmeichel; Castagne, Fofana, Soyuncu; Albrighton, Tielemans, Ndidi, Thomas; Perez, Maddison; Vardy


SM words green background

We say: Chelsea 1-0 Leicester City

We can envisage Chelsea gaining revenge against Leicester on Tuesday, with the Foxes likely to be lacking the same intensity that they produced at Wembley, despite the amount riding on this fixture, too.

It is likely to be another cagey, low-scoring affair with both sides prioritising stability in defence, so scoring the first goal will be crucial.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data


Video prediction

Watch the Sports Mole Football Shorts prediction for this game below:


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How you voted: Chelsea vs Leicester

Chelsea
61.8%
Draw
16.4%
Leicester City
21.8%
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Leicester City forward Jamie Vardy pictured on November 8, 2020
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