Thomas Tuchel will have his first shot at silverware as Chelsea manager when his side takes on Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester City in the FA Cup final on Saturday, May 15, at the iconic Wembley Stadium.
The 2021 final will be the first time since the 2012-13 season that the FA Cup final is being played before the end of the Premier League season.
While Chelsea have solid pedigree in the FA Cup, winning the oldest cup competition in football eight times, Leicester are set to play their first FA Cup final since 1969.
Chelsea and Leicester City have endured a similar run of form of late, with both teams winning three of their last five games, drawing one and losing one. The Foxes, however, wil go into the final on the back of a confidence-boosting 2-1 win over Manchester United while the Blues recently suffered a 1-0 defeat against Arsenal.
Chelsea injury update and team news
Mateo Kovacic has been on the treatment table for sometime now and will miss the final. Tuchel will also be sweating over the fitness of winger Christian Pulisic and midfielder N’Golo Kante.
The USA international picked up a knock earlier this week and will be assessed ahead of the game. Same goes for Kante, who missed the previous game due to “pain management” issues.
Meanwhile, Tuchel has confirmed that Kepa Arrizabalaga will start the FA Cup final ahead of Edouard Mendy. The Spaniard was in goal against Arsenal in the Premier League and while he failed to keep a clean sheet, he will retain his spot in the final.
“We thought it was a good idea to give him the game before,” Tuchel said in a press conference.
“Because first of all we trust him and he deserves [it]. That is the basis for why we put him in the line-up.
“He deserves it. He is so good in training and we wanted to give him some minutes and take both games together.”
Leicester City injury update and team news
Leicester City have a long list of injured players, as Harvey Barnes, James Justin, Wes Morgan and Cengiz Under are all set to miss the final. The positive, however, is the potential return of Jonny Evans. Rodgers has confirmed that the former Manchester United centre-back will be assessed by the club's medical team ahead of the final.
"We’ll give him another day, he’s progressed really well in this last 24 hours," the 48-year-old was quoted by Leicester City’s website.
"He was outside today and he looked really good. We’ll see what the reaction is after that and then we’ll make a final decision on that tomorrow, but we’re really hopeful.
"It’s just a discussion between myself and Jonny. Ultimately, you’ve always got to speak to the players. Jonny’s a warrior, so I know if there’s any way he can play, even if he’s not 100 per cent, he’ll be out there.”
Are fans allowed for the FA Cup final?
Yes, the FA Cup final will see as many as 21,000 fans attending the game at Wembley. This is going to be the largest attendance in England since March 2020 when the COVID-19 restrictions were imposed.
Last month, the Carabao Cup final game between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur saw 8,000 spectators being allowed into the same venue. There is no compulsion for the fans to get vaccinated for the game, but they need to show a negative COVID-19 test within 36 hours of the game.
The FA Cup final is supposed to be a practice run for the UK government as Wembley Stadium is set to host a few games in Euro 2020 in June and July.
Where to watch Chelsea vs Leicester City FA Cup final live in India?
The Chelsea vs Leicester City FA Cup final match will be telecast live on the Sony TEN 2 and Sony TEN 2 HD TV channels in India at 9:45 PM IST. The live streaming of the FA Cup final will be available on the SonyLIV app.
Featured photo: AFP / Oli Scarff