Chelsea vs Leicester City: Preview and Prediction

A place in the FA Cup semi-finals will be up for grabs when Chelsea and Leicester City lock horns at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

The first international break of 2024 is nearly upon us, but not before Sunday’s action-packed games. In England, the proceedings get underway with an FA Cup quarter-final between Chelsea and Leicester City at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea beat Preston North End, Aston Villa, and Leeds United to reach the FA Cup quarter-finals. The Blues have been cup specialists in recent years, reaching the FA Cup final in five of the last seven years while being the losing finalists in the Carabao Cup finale this season. But they have blown hot and cold throughout the 2023/24 season, dropping to 11th in the Premier League standings.

On the other hand, Leicester City reached the FA Cup quarter-finals by beating Millwall, Birmingham City FC and Millwall in the previous rounds. The Foxes have seen their form wobble in recent weeks, winning only one of their last five games in the EFL Championship. That has cut their lead atop the table to three points, putting Enzo Maresca’s men in a spot of bother.

Chelsea and Leicester City last met in the FA Cup in the 2021 final, with the Foxes clinching a 1-0 win to win the competition for the first time. The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides.

Team News & Tactics


Mauricio Pochettino has greeted a positive update on the team news front ahead of his side’s latest fixture. Against Leicester City on Sunday, the Chelsea manager will be bereft of the services of five first-team players.

The good news is Ben Chilwell should return to the starting eleven after appearing on England’s squad for the latest international break. With the former Leicester City defender’s knee injury not being as bad as feared, he will likely feature on Sunday.

In addition, Benoit Badiashile and Levi Colwill are closing in on returning to action, although Sunday’s game might have come too soon for the duo to feature from the get-go. Meanwhile, Reece James, Romeo Lavia, Lesley Ugochukwu, and Christopher Nkunku remain on the sidelines due to their hamstring injuries, while Wesley Fofana is a long-term absentee due to a knee issue.

Chelsea will line up in a 4-2-3-1 formation against Leicester City, with Robert Sanchez taking his place in the goal. The backline should feature Malo Gusto, Axel Disasi, Trevoh Chalobah, and Ben Chilwell.

As for the midfield unit, Moises Caicedo and Conor Gallagher will pair up in the double pivot. Cole Palmer will reprise the no. 10 role, with Raheem Sterling and Mykhailo Mudryk being the two wide attackers. Finally, Nicolas Jackson should spearhead the Chelsea attack against Leicester.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Sanchez; Gusto, Disasi, Chalobah, Chilwell; Caicedo, Gallagher; Sterling, Palmer, Mudryk; Jackson

Leicester City

Unlike his counterpart in the Chelsea dugout, Enzo Maresca does not have many issues to deal with ahead of the trip to Stamford Bridge. The Leicester City manager will be without only three first-team players on Sunday.

Kasey McAteer is the most notable absentee, with the 22-year-old struggling to overcome his recent fitness issue. In addition, Ricardo Pereira and Dennis Praet are recovering from their respective hamstring injuries.

Mads Hermansen will take his usual spot between the sticks, with Leicester City lining up in a 4-2-3-1 formation in front of him against Chelsea. Pereira’s absence might see Hamza Choudhury lining up as the right-back. The 26-year-old will likely join Wout Faes, Jannik Vestergaard, and James Justin in the backline.

As for the midfield unit, Harry Winks and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall will pair up in the double pivot. While Winks will look to keep things tight in the middle of the park, Dewsbury-Hall will provide the forward thrust. Yunus Akgun should reprise the no. 10 role, with Abdul Fatawu Issahaku and Stephy Mavididi being the wide attackers. Finally, Patson Daka should lead the line for the away side on Sunday.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Hermansen; Choudhury, Faes, Vestergaard, Justin; Dewsbury-Hall, Winks; Fatawu, Akgun, Mavididi; Daka

Key Stats

  • Chelsea have progressed from seven of their eight FA Cup ties against Leicester City, although the exception was a 1-0 defeat in the most recent meeting in the 2021 final. The Foxes have won just one of their last 13 away games against Chelsea in all competitions (D4 L8), beating them 1-0 in the Premier League in December 2018.
  • Chelsea have won their last five FA Cup quarter-final ties since losing to Everton in the 2015/16 season. The Blues have reached the semi-finals of the competition in five of the most recent seven campaigns. On the other hand, Leicester have lost five of their last six FA Cup quarter-final ties, although the exception was their most recent one in 2020/21 en route to lifting the trophy.
  • Chelsea have lost just one of their last 21 home games in the FA Cup (W18 D2), losing 2-0 to Manchester United in the fifth round in 2018/19.
  • Leicester City have won seven of their last eight FA Cup matches on the road (L1), including each of the most recent four. They last won five consecutive away games in the competition between 1963 and 1965.
  • Raheem Sterling has scored four goals in his last two appearances against Leicester City in all competitions, including a brace for Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in August 2022 – his first two goals for the Blues.

Player to Watch

Raheem Sterling

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Recent reports have created speculation surrounding Sterling, with Chelsea reportedly open to cashing in on him in the summer transfer window. Other updates have pointed to the English international being happy and content at Stamford Bridge.

But that is not enough for the 29-year-old to secure his Chelsea future, even though he has a solid record of eight goals and nine assists in 35 appearances thus far this season. Sterling has done well against Leicester City in recent outings and will hope to boost his figures. That, in turn, will help him convince the decision-makers at Chelsea to keep him at the club.


Chelsea 2-1 Leicester City

Leicester City will hope to spring a surprise when they lock horns with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. But the Foxes have spectacularly lost their form in the last few weeks, with their spot in the EFL Championship under threat. The win over Bournemouth in the fifth round did not do much to showcase an improvement in form either.

On the other hand, Chelsea’s record at home in the FA Cup is excellent. In addition, they have been cup specialists in the last few years. So, the stars are aligning in the home side’s favour, although we should have a closely contested affair greeting us on Sunday. In the end, Chelsea should have enough quality to beat Leicester City 2-1 to reach the FA Cup semi-finals.

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