Not up to the task.
Chelsea took on Leicester for the FA Cup Final on Saturday evening at Wembley. It was a great occasion with players together in the tunnel, fans in the stadium, chants and a real sense of some normalcy in the air. I personally had goosebumps when I heard the emotion that was coming out from the stands. Tuchel selected the lineup that was expected although Alonso started instead of Chilwell. Reece James started at right centre back as opposed to Azpilicueta who started at wing back. Mount, Ziyech and Werner started up front. Rodgers went with a 3 at the back as well with Evans returning to the side. Other than that it was as expected from the Foxes.
The first 45 minutes were pretty even with Chelsea edging it in terms of possession and actual creation in the opposition half. There were 3-4 times where we were able to find space behind the Leicester midfield but Werner either shot wide or our final ball was not the best. Vardy and Iheanacho found no real joy in the game because Reece James was tracking Vardy and Rudiger was tracking Iheanacho. In terms of the defence we were very solid but still wasteful up front. Kante was sublime as usual while Jorginho seemed to be feeling the pace of the game. The 1st half ended 0-0 and it seemed like the 2nd half would be the one where fireworks were set off.
Leicester began the 2nd half well and started pinning Chelsea in our own half. There were several corners which were handled well by the defence. The goal came in the 63rd minute after a pass from the back by Silva hit Perez on the leg which then hit him on the arm. The deflection found Tielemans who drove past Jorginho, and Jorginho instead of pressing Tielemans let him have space to take a shot. The shot was brilliant and the screamer found the top right corner. Kepa was at full stretch now of course everyone started saying Mendy would have saved that because he is taller etc and maybe that’s true. Mendy wasn’t on the pitch though and Kepa tried his best and was not able to save it. Tuchel then sent on Pulisic followed by Chilwell and Havertz. Chilwell made an instant impact and his header drew a fine save from Schmeichel who managed to push it onto the post. Mount then had a brilliant volley saved by Schmeichel as well. It was all Chelsea vs Leicester’s defence as Tuchel sent on Giroud and Hudson-Odoi. Silva then played a brilliant pass which found Chilwell and he made a run and after some deflections the ball was in the net. Chelsea had equalised and there was pandemonium. These days football is robbed off those moments though as VAR which was missing for the Perez handball turned up for Chilwell. Chilwell was deemed offside as VAR found some nail of his body ahead of Soyuncu. Leicester held on for the final moments and they were crowned FA Cup winners.
Chelsea Team Review
Kepa did pretty well throughout the game. The Spaniards distribution was good and he was pretty commanding in the box. Kepa also seems to have improved in coming off the line. The goal really wasn’t his fault and yes he’s the cup keeper so he started. Would Mendy have saved that, it’s something we will never know.
The defence was actually the best part of the Chelsea team yesterday. The back 3 of Reece James, Silva, and Rudiger handled Vardy and Iheanacho brilliantly and Reece James especially did a number on Vardy. It was a smart tactical decision by Tuchel. Azpilicueta and Alonso weren’t the fastest of wing backs though and Castagne especially found joy down Alonso’s side. Alonso can get the clutch goal but Chilwell probably should have started this game because he made an instant impact when he came on. Tuchel got this wrong yesterday. Chilwell hit the post and was unfairly judged offside. Better days will come for all.
Kante did a brilliant job throughout the game. Kante didn’t get forward as much as he does but it was a good match between him and Ndidi. Jorginho I would say was most at fault for the goal as he allowed Tielemans the space to take a shot. If Jorginho had put some pressure on him he might have not taken his chance from distance. That’s two poor decisions from Jorginho in two crucial games. Mount was his ever pressing self and he had some good moments. Better days will come for him.
Ziyech did not have the best of games and there was no intensity from him in the 1st half. Werner got into some great positions in the 1st half but his shot was either wide or his final pass was lacking. The best moments in the 1st 45 came through him though. Hudson-Odoi came on in the 2nd half for Chelsea as a wing back and he provided some creativity for the final 10-15 minutes. Havertz had also came on but he found it hard to get into the game. Giroud came on but there was little time for him to make an impact. A lacklustre performance from our forwards to say the least.
Tuchel made a brilliant decision to play Reece as a centre back it worked brilliantly. Starting Kepa I get but then why not have Tammy in the squad for the game. This double standard seems to be annoying some. I think there’s more than meets the eye over there. Starting Alonso on the face of it seemed good but the impact that Chilwell had off the bench showed that starting Alonso was the wrong decision. The subs also came a bit too late for them. Over the last two games Tuchel hasn’t had the best team selections.
So, we lose the FA Cup final. It was a close game that was defined by fine margins but the quality of that margin wasn’t that great. There are still 3 games to go for Chelsea this season. Next up is Leicester in the league at Stamford Bridge with fans back. Chelsea have to bounce back that’s the only way. What’s done is done, it is what the players do over the next 3 games that will define them this season. If they want fuel to burn their fire then they should watch Amartey disgracing our club crest. Take that to return to winning ways. COME ON CHELSEA!!!