As one might have expected, Chelsea dominated possession from the off, but neither team really came close to creating dangerous opportunities, especially through open play.
Chelsea came closest to a goal in the first half in the second phase of a corner, when Thiago Silva chipped a ball towards the far post that Azpilicueta surely would’ve headed in, had Werner not gotten a few hairs to it ahead of him. At the other end, Soyuncu got his head to a couple free kicks, but missed the target.
Other than set pieces and a few inaccurate long-range efforts (Werner, Mount), it was a cagey, hard-fought first 45 minutes, as it so often is in Cup finals.
The second half continued in similar vein, until a Pérez blocked a pass with his hand and Tielemans took advantage of the space to unleash a piledriver into the top corner from 25 yards. Neither the referee nor VAR deemed that worthy of a call, so the goal stood, which is a joke.
Tuchel rang the changes, throwing on increasingly attacking options, with all five of Mount, Havertz, Pulisic, Hudson-Odoi, and Giroud on at the end, but still found no joy. Leicester defended valiantly and kept Chelsea at arm’s length. They still needed a couple ridiculously great saves from Schmeichel, to keep Ben Chilwell and Mason Mount out, and yet another ridiculous VAR offside call to deny Chilwell’s late equalizer.
- Starting lineup mostly as expected, with Alonso at left wing-back and Ziyech up front the only semi-surprises. Once the game started, the tactical wrinkle of James played in the back three and Azpilicueta at right wing-back became apparent as well. James essentially man-marking Vardy, with Rudiger doing the same on Iheanacho on the other side.
- When you play for small margins, defeats will sting even more.
- Chelsea lose the FA Cup final for the third time in five years. Not ideal.
- Next up: Leicester City again, this time in the battle for the top-four, on Tuesday