Chelsea will look to banish their FA Cup blues against Leicester City and will look to consolidate their top four position heading into the weekend.
Having missed the opportunity to move back above Leicester into third place in the table after losing 1-0 to Arsenal on Wednesday, the subsequent FA Cup final defeat to Leicester City on Saturday has comfortably made this Thomas Tuchel’s most testing week since taking charge of Chelsea in January.
The German has undeniably made a superb impact since replacing Frank Lampard as manager, winning 17 of his 27 matches in all competitions while conceding only 13 goals in the process, but he needs to ensure that his side gets over the line in terms of qualifying for next season’s Champions League.
Should they miss out on a top-four spot, the Blues would have a second bite at the cherry against Manchester City in the final of the Champions League at the end of May, but there are far from any guarantees against a side of City’s calibre.
Chelsea’s performances in both of their recent defeats were not particularly bad by any means, with the Blues heavily dominating both, the shot and possession counts, but Tuchel’s side lacked a touch of creativity and as a result, could not find a meaningful response to a major error from Jorginho and a wondrous strike from Youri Tielemans, respectively.
Tuchel will be demanding a major response from his players against the Foxes on Tuesday, then, with only a win ensuring that a top-four position would remain in their own hands heading into the final day’s trip to Aston Villa, with the ominous rise of Liverpool in recent weeks creating the only remaining major sub-plot of the Premier League this season.
Edouard Mendy is set to return in goal, replacing ‘cup keeper’ Kepa Arrizabalaga, while Ben Chilwell will surely start against his former club after impressing from the bench at Wembley. Tuchel could stick with Reece James as his right-sided center-half in the back three, to help combat the pace of Jamie Vardy again, which means Cesar Azpilicueta could continue at wing-back. Antonio Rudiger and Thiago Silva will complete the backline.
N’Golo Kante and Jorginho are likely to keep their places in the midfield two, although Timo Werner could pay the price for a difficult afternoon against the Foxes by dropping out for his compatriot Kai Havertz in the strike position. Mason Mount and Hakim Ziyech are expected to complete the lineup after their lively performance against them on weekend.
Can Chelsea bounce back at Stamford Bridge after two successive defeats?