Two teams currently focused on maintaining their position in the top four will take a break to compete for a place in the FA Cup semi-final. Leicester City host Chelsea, with both coming into the fixture in differing forms following the restart. The Foxes have drawn both matches, while the Blues have taken a maximum six points. Frank Lampard will more the more confident of the two managers, but his side will have had less time to prepare for this one.
Leicester have been excellent this season, but there will be doubts creeping in following two average performances. They had to rely on a Kasper Schmeichel penalty save to hang on to a point against Brighton, with the Seagulls having the better of the contest. This is a worry, with their gap to the chasing pack narrowing. However, the FA Cup could provide a welcome distraction and help them return to form.
Chelsea will be full of confidence following their victory over Manchester City. Although Pep Guardiola’s side didn’t have anything to play for, they put out a strong team and were outclassed on the evening. It could be looked back on as a big moment for Lampard in his re-generation of the club. A top four and a trophy would represent an excellent first campaign for the club legend. It won’t be easy on Sunday, but they will fancy their chances.
Leicester have now failed to score in four of their last seven matches across all competitions.
Chelsea are one of only two Premier League teams with a 100% record following the restart, with two victories.
The current Premier League top scorer has yet to score following the restart, but he remains Leicester’s primary goal threat. He has an excellent record against the traditional top six, with 32 goals in 52 appearances. However, he has scored fewest of those against Chelsea with four in 12 matches against the Blues. This will give him hunger to perform on Sunday and help the Foxes reach the FA Cup semi-final for the first time since 1982. At the age of 33, Vardy will know that his time playing at the highest level will be coming to an end in the next two or three years. This could be his best chance to win another major trophy, to add to the unexpected Premier League crown. Chelsea showed their vulnerability at times on Thursday, with Manchester City managing to get in behind their defence. The pace and movement of Vardy will cause them a lot of problems. He remains the player they need to keep quiet.
The Frenchman will be returning to the stadium where he made his name in England. Although he only played for Leicester for a single season, he was the catalyst for their Premier League triumph and he will always be remembered fondly amongst the supporters. There were doubts regarding the role he would play during the restart, due to concerns over the health and safety arrangements in place. However, he has started both of Chelsea’s matches and he will be in line to start on Sunday. Against Manchester City, he wasn’t at his best, with only three interceptions. That said, he completed 85% of his passes and played his part in an impressive performance. There will be increased motivation to beat his former club and he could be back to his best. Lampard will want his players to dominate the central areas. To do that, he will need the Frenchman to perform.
Leicester City have few injury problems going into the FA Cup quarter final. Ricardo Pereira is a long term injury concern, but James Justin is performing well as a deputy. Youri Tielemans and Harvey Barnes will be pushing for a recall after dropping out of the starting eleven in the week.
Callum Hudson-Odoi is closing in on a return as he recovers from an ankle injury. Fikayo Tomori remains a couple of weeks away from returning to the fold. Tammy Abraham could be brought into the attack, with doubts about Olivier Giroud’s fitness to play three times in a week.
This could be the pick of the FA Cup quarter final fixtures this weekend, with neither team jumping out as obvious winners. It will be a close fought affair, with goals expected at both ends of the pitch. Chelsea are quite open and Leicester have the quality to create chances on the break. Given what we have seen since the restart, the visitors look the most likely winners. A narrow Chelsea win is my prediction for this one.
Leicester City 1-2 Chelsea