FA Cup: Leicester Host Chelsea for Semi Final Spot


Both Leicester and Chelsea are set to field strong starting XIs when they meet in the FA Cup quarter-finals today. With a semi-final spot at Wembley up for grabs for the winner, the two Premier League sides will look to give themselves the best chance of landing some silverware.

For Chelsea, they will be looking to bounce back after being knocked out of the Champions League by Barcelona in midweek, and head coach Antonio Conte says his side will continue to compete in their remaining competitions.

“I think every trophy is important for us. We started the season to try to fight until the end for every competition,” he said.

“In the Carabao Cup we reached the semi-final, in Champions League the last 16. This is the FA Cup quarter-final. If we win, we can play another semi-final at Wembley. We try to do our best in every competition. This must be our target.

“Leicester are a good team. In the last game we played at home, we suffered against them. Then to try to do our best also in the league, to find a place in the Champions League. It won’t be easy.”

Leicester manager Claude Puel knows Chelsea will be the favourites heading into today’s clash, but believes his side can make life difficult as they look to continue in the FA Cup themselves.

“All the players are ready with desire and without pressure because Chelsea are the favourites. But we can cause them big problems,” he said.

“They will have four days to recover. That is enough. They have a lot of players in a fantastic squad. This is their last chance to win something. They will have great motivation.

“It is a decisive game. It is in our stadium and a good opportunity to get to the semi-final.”

Conte is poised to pick his first-choice line-up, having rotated his options in previous rounds, and could yet choose Willy Caballero in goal after Thibaut Courtois was twice beaten through the legs by Lionel Messi in Wednesday’s loss at Barcelona. Defender David Luiz (ankle) and midfielder Ross Barkley (hamstring) are out.

Leicester are expected to have an unchanged squad. Daniel Amartey will not return from his hamstring injury until after the international break, while Robert Huth continues to work his way back from the ankle problem that has blighted his campaign.

Kelechi Iheanacho will hope to play, while Aleksander Dragovic, Christian Fuchs, Matty James and Marc Albrighton could also come into contention for recalls.

Leicester and Chelsea have met in five previous seasons in the FA Cup – Chelsea have progressed in all five ties, most recently in the quarter-final in 2011/12.

Kelechi Iheanacho is averaging a goal or assist (9 goals, 1 assist) every 55 minutes in the FA Cup in his career, and has scored four goals so far this campaign.

Olivier Giroud scored one goal and assisted two more on his FA Cup debut for Chelsea against Hull – since his debut in the competition in January 2013, the Frenchman has been involved in more FA Cup goals than any other player (21, 14 goals and 7 assists).