Chelsea overcame a sloppy start to their sixth round FA Cup tie at the King Power Stadium to beat hosts Leicester City 1-0 and advance to the semi-finals.
Leicester started much the brighter of the two teams and had the better of the early chances. Chelsea’s manager Frank Lampard was not impressed with the first half, and brought on Mateo Kovacic, Ross Barkley and Cesar Azpilicueta for the second period.
In the second half the visitors were a different team. Barkley put them ahead after 63 minutes with a smart volley from a Willian cross, and they spurned a number of opportunities on the break to make the victory more comfortable.
Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers will be concerned at the lack of attacking edge from his team in the second half and they continue to struggle since the return of football this month. Lampard won the FA Cup with Chelsea four times as player and is edging closer doing so in his first season as their manager.
Dennis Praet of Leicester City battles for possession with Billy Gilmour of Chelsea during the FA Cup Fifth Quarter Final match between Leicester City and Chelsea FC at The King Power Stadium on June 28, 2020 in Leicester, England.
Image credit: Getty Images
How worried should Brendan Rodgers be about Leicester’s form? It’s been a great season so far for Leicester, incorporating two good cup runs and the club currently sit third in the Premier League. They have been eliminated from both of those cups however during a spell in which they’ve won just two of their last 10 in the Premier League. In their run-in Leicester still have to travel to Everton, Arsenal and Tottenham, as well as hosting Sheffield United and Manchester United. They will need to refocus quickly in order to cement their place in next season's Champions League.
MAN OF THE MATCH – Christian Pulisic (Chelsea)
It was never going to be easy replacing Eden Hazard, and it was always unrealistic to assume the 21-year old Pulisic would provide like-for-like contributions in his debut season. He has been quietly effective in Lampard’s young team though and was excellent again today, the spearhead of a much sharper second half from Chelsea.
Christian Pulisic of Chelsea controls the ball during the FA Cup Fifth Quarter Final match between Leicester City and Chelsea FC at The King Power Stadium on June 28, 2020 in Leicester, England.
Image credit: Getty Images
Leicester (4-1-4-1): Schmeichel 7, Justin 7, Evans 6, Soyuncu 5, Chilwell 6; Ndidi 7; Praet 6 Tielemans 6, Perez 6, Barnes 7; Vardy 6
Subs: Choudhury 6, Gray 6, Albrighton 7
Chelsea (4-3-3): Caballero 6; James 6, Rudiger 7, Zouma 7, Emerson 6; Kante 6, Gilmour 5, Mount 6; Willian 7, Abraham 6, Pulisic 8
Subs: Azpilicueta 6, Barkley 7, Loftus-Cheek 6, Kovacic 7, Pedro 6
20’ GOOD SAVE! Tielemans wins the ball in midfield this time and drives forward to the edge of the Chelsea area. He unloads a dipping shot that Caballero turns behind for a corner.
29’ CHANCE! Another free kick from Leicester from the left and another chance. Chilwell's ball picks out Evans, but he doesn't get enough of a touch on his header and it drifts a couple of yards wide. It looks like he mistimed that.
30’ EXCELLENT SAVE! Mount slides a lovely pass through to Pulisic, whose first touch in the penalty area sets up the shot perfectly. He pounds his right foot through the ball and Schmeichel tips the ball over the bar.
45’ CHANCE! A quick ball between the Chelsea centre backs by Barnes finds Vardy. He's through, but his first touch takes him to the left of goal. He then doesn't quite catch his shot cleanly, and it bobbles a yard wide of the far post.
55’ DISALLOWED GOAL! Pulisic plays Abraham in again, who smashes the ball past Schmeichel and into the far corner of the net, but he was half a yard offside. Chelsea are looking dangerous here though, and Pulisic is finding all kinds of space.
63’ GOAL! Leicester City 0 Chelsea 1 (Barkley 63) It's been coming for Chelsea. Willian gets the ball to the right of the Leicester area. He whips in a brilliant low ball to the six-yard box, where Barkley arrives late to tuck a perfectly timed volley past Schmeichel.
85’ BIG CHANCE! An inswinging cross from Albrighton on the right is completely missed by Caballero. Soyuncu heads the ball at an empty net but it clips the head of Azpilicueta and loops just over the bar.
89’ CHANCE! Chelsea break four on two. Barkley plays his pass behind Loftus-Cheek, who returns the ball to him on the edge of the area. Barkley smashes it at goal, Schmeichel gets a hand to the ball and somehow forces it down to the ground and up and over the bar.
- Leicester City have been knocked out of the FA Cup by Chelsea on all seven occasions that they have been drawn against them.
- Ross Barkley’s winning goal for Chelsea was his third in four FA Cup matches this season.