FA Cup Final – Can the cunning Foxes beat the belligerent Blues?
The annual journey in the FA Cup is coming to an end. It all started out with 368 non-league teams from levels eight to ten of National League System, back in August 2020. Amongst those competing at the beginning, amusingly named teams like New Salamis and Sporting Bengal United, which could almost be the names of some of our own fantasy league teams.
After six qualifying rounds and seven more of the competition proper, we’re now down to the two teams who will contest the FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium. Scheduled for Saturday 15th May, kick off at 17:30 BST, the oldest football tournament in the world will feature Leicester City against Chelsea.
Focusing on the showpiece game itself, the latest odds on the English FA Cup final have Chelsea priced as evens favourites, with Leicester City viewed as the slight 13/5 underdogs. During what could end up being a tightly contested battle at Wembley, bookmakers reckon there’s a 9/4 chance of a draw after 90 minutes, requiring extra time and possibly penalties.
Given the 3/4 odds for both teams to score, goals are expected. When last these two rivals met in the Premier League, back in January this year, the Foxes were the more cunning side with a 2-0 victory. That was the last Premier League game in charge for Frank Lampard at Chelsea, who was fired by Roman Abramovic after their 3-1 win against Luton Town in the FA Cup Fourth Round.
Following the appointment of German coach Thomas Tuchel, the Blues have become a more belligerent side. They have battled to reach the FA Cup Final and the Champions League Semi-Finals, along with strengthening their position in the Premier League top four. Just to spice things up even more in the Premier League, Chelsea and Leicester City are fighting for third and fourth positions.
As the betting odds would suggest, history appears to favour Chelsea when it comes to their previous appearances in the FA Cup Final. They are the third-most successful team in the competition, winning the FA Cup eight times and finishing as runners-up on six occasions. Meanwhile, the last of four FA Cup Final appearances for Leicester City was back in 1969.
Nevertheless, after having overcome arguably the more difficult route to Wembley, the Foxes and manager Brendan Rodgers will be full of confidence. They are inspired by the opportunity of a historic first ever FA Cup triumph. Against those ambitions, Chelsea will need to be at their absolute best, if they are to fulfil their billing as favourites to lift the famous trophy.
Whether by pure fluke or coincidence, both teams were actually due to play each other in the Premier League, during the penultimate round of games and with all matches kicking off at the same time. However, that game will have to be rearranged for another date, which inevitably also has implications for our fantasy football schedules.
At the time of writing and without confirmation from the Premier League, the fixture between Chelsea and Leicester City is likely to be pushed back a few days. After meeting in the FA Cup Final on Saturday 15th May, the Premier League encounter will probably take place on Tuesday 18th or Wednesday 19th May. Worth remembering for your fantasy team selections.