Just 3 days after Leicester City’s FA Cup final victory over Chelsea, the Foxes meet the Blues in a Premier League setting at Stamford Bridge with huge Champions League implications.
Youri Tielemans’ peach of a strike was enough to settle the Wembley showpiece on Saturday, handing Leicester their first ever FA Cup title after losing all 4 of the previous finals they had been in.
The game wasn’t without its controversy, however, with a late Ben Chilwell equaliser for Chelsea against his former club chalked off for offside via a VAR decision.
Kasper Schmeichel was inspired between the sticks at Wembley and made a couple of massive saves to keep his side in it, and as captain for the day he was given the honour of raising the famous trophy at full time.
For many, though, the final will be remembered not just for Schmeichel’s saves and Tielemans’ screamer, but the fact that 21,000 supporters were present at the National Stadium to comprise the biggest crowd at any event in the UK since coronavirus first took hold more than a year ago.
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has lamented the defeat his side suffered at Wembley in what was no doubt a huge game, but the bullish German claimed in his pre-match press conference that Tuesday’s Premier League tussle with the Foxes is actually a more important game.
Although it may seem like sour grapes from the Blues coach at first, he later clarified his standpoint by highlighting a top 4 finish as one of his objectives when replacing Frank Lampard at the helm at Stamford Bridge.
Champions League football is still firmly in the balance with two games of the Premier League season to go, with 3rd placed Leicester just 2 points above Chelsea in 4th.
To make matters even more interesting, Liverpool’s recent spike in form means Jurgen Klopp’s outfit are just 3 points back in 5th position, and well poised for a late tilt for the top 4.
Some will question Leicester’s intensity levels for this game with Chelsea after Saturday’s celebrations, but boss Brendan Rodgers knows this game is equally as important to the Foxes in shaping next season.
Defender Jonny Evans was handed a start by his gaffer for the final after injury layoff, but he was always struggling after injections in his foot and had to come off in the first half – it’s unlikely he’ll be involved at the Bridge on Tuesday.
Harvey Barnes and James Justin are also both still out due to season-ending knee issues, but club legend Wes Morgan was afforded a few minutes at Wembley after a bit-part campaign and may come into Rodgers’ thinking here.
For Chelsea, Thomas Tuchel hinted Mateo Kovacic may return after 10 games out with a hamstring complaint, whilst Andreas Christensen is another in the treatment room and unlikely to play.
The most likely Chelsea change comes in goal, where Kepa Arrizabalaga is expected to make way for Edouard Mendy.
Chelsea v Leicester City kicks off at 8.15pm on Tuesday 18th May.