Just days after the dramatic FA Cup final, Chelsea and Leicester City meet again, but this time, the focus will be on a top four finish. Although both teams are currently in the top four, Liverpool are looming and quickly building momentum. The current situation in the league means that any result opens the door for the Reds and puts their fate in their own hands. For Leicester, a draw would be enough to secure their position, while Chelsea need to win to keep their destiny in their own hands. The Blues will be eager to have their revenge for Saturday, which adds an extra layer of intrigue to the contest.
It has been an excellent start to life in the dugout for Thomas Tuchel, but the weekend loss in the FA Cup final will worry supporters. There is no a genuine chance that they may finish the season trophy less and out of next season’s Champions League. That would leave a stain on the campaign and could even see the tide of opinion on their new manager drastically change. It feels crucial that they get back to winning ways on Tuesday and ensure that they go into the final day with their fate in their own hands. They will need a much improved performance from Saturday.
Brendan Rodgers faces a massive challenge to get his players back focused on their Premier League campaign, as it was clear the players celebrated their FA Cup victory on Saturday night. It would have been a shame to see them not celebrate the club’s first triumph in the competition. Although the season will be regarded as a successful one, regardless of the outcome in the Premier League, the Foxes deserve to finish in the top four. They have spent the majority of the last two seasons occupying those positions and to see them miss out again will be crushing. They will need to be at their best to deny a Chelsea team looking for revenge.
In matches that Antonio Rudiger has started, Chelsea have conceded just seven goals in 17 matches. In the 19 that he hasn’t, they have shipped 26 goals.
Leicester City have lost more Premier League matches (10) than any other team in the top five of the division.
It was disappointing for N’Golo Kante to be on the losing side at the weekend against his former club. However, he has been one of the standout players for Thomas Tuchel in recent weeks and he will play a key role in their final three matches of the season. There is no doubting that Chelsea are a far better team with the Frenchman, as he covers a lot of ground and can start the press in high areas. He is now building a good relationship with Jorginho and the pair will be crucial on Tuesday night. As well as his ball-winning, the midfielder is excellent at carrying the ball into the opposition half, while his distribution in the attacking half is improving. It was his contribution with the ball that stood out on Saturday, as he completed three dribbles and made three key passes. Leicester City will know his strengths and understand the difficulty of dealing with him when he is on form. In Wilfred Ndidi and Youri Tielemans, they have a very good midfield themselves. The midfield battle will be crucial in determining which side grabs the upper hand in the battle for Champions League football.
The Nigerian international was underwhelming in the cup final, but he has been electric in the league and Leicester will need him to perform during the run-in. He looks to be their biggest goal threat at the moment, as Jamie Vardy is struggling for goals. During the second half of the season, he has exploded into focus with 11 Premier League goals. For a long time, he has been spoken about as a forward with potential. He is now showing the reason for that and without him, Leicester would have struggled to maintain their position towards the top of the division. He will have a point to prove after his disappointing performance in the FA Cup final and he will see this as an opportunity to recapture the headlines. Chelsea have a good defensive record under Tuchel, but Iheanacho has shown that he can perform against the very best.
Chelsea don’t have any players due to miss the game against Leicester. There will be rotation, as they try to keep players fresh for the Champions League final. Ben Chilwell, Christian Pulisic and Kai Havertz are all likely to come back into the starting eleven.
Jonny Evans is unlikely to be available after limping out of the game at the weekend. James Justin and Harvey Barnes remain long term absentees.
This is a very difficult game to call, with both teams determined to protect their position in the top four. The pressure is on Chelsea, as they are the team that need to win to ensure Liverpool can’t move ahead of them this week. A draw is good enough for the Foxes, but it will be a dangerous game to set up looking to secure a point. Chelsea should have an extra spring in their step to rectify the result on Saturday. Meanwhile, it was clear that the Leicester players celebrated the FA Cup victory. That could be prove to be the difference on Tuesday, with the home side being fresher.
Chelsea 1-0 Leicester City