FA Cup: Leicester City win over Chelsea

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Emma Teitel
Emma Teitel is an award-winning national affairs columnist with the Toronto Star who writes about anything and everything. She got her start at Maclean's Magazine where she wrote frequently about women's issues, LGBT rights, and popular culture.

The beam of the game: Until now they had been teeming with scoring chances, Chelsea on the one hand, Leicester City on the other. Sometimes the players shot harmlessly from far away, sometimes they headed in spooned flanks without pressure on goal. Then Chelsea’s young right – back Reece James made a play-off mistake, Leicester played one or two passes-and Youri Tielemans did what is called “getting a heart” in football parlance: the Belgian simply pulled away from a good 25 metres. The ball hissed through the air in a straight trajectory, only the net slowed Tielemans ‘ dreamlike shot into the top left corner (63. Minute).

result: It remained when 1: 0 (0: 0) and thus with the first title win in the FA Cup history of the Foxes. And that was fine. Balanced games sometimes need brilliant moments to flip to one side, and Tielemans had the most brilliant.

They are back: It would be easy to be cynical at this point: the corona protective masks dangled right across the face of the 20,000 spectators who sang and celebrated in the stands at Wembley. But: in the UK, more than 50 per cent of the population have already been vaccinated for the first time, plus a negative test was required to take part in this test balloon for the return to normality at cultural and sporting events. So the filled ranks were above all one thing: simply beautiful.

The first half: Since the action on the lawn was almost secondary. Not much happened in the first 45 minutes, central defender Caglar Söyüncü headed twice in the direction of Chelsea goal (20., 43.), on the opposite side Mason Mount (23.) and Timo Werner (44.) warped flat shots from distance. Even with his own header Werner was unhappy and took away the chance from the better placed Cesar Azpilicueta (29.).

Oh, Jonny: If the Leicester City team were a bit, Jonny Evans would be a molar. Week after week, the Northern Irishman crushes opponents ‘attempts as reliably as he does inconspicuously, organising the Foxes’ highly talented defence with the calm of a 33-year-old Premier League veteran. After a good half hour, Evans was over this time: Already in the previous weeks the central defender had to pause with a muscle injury, apparently similar complaints caused an early end of work.

The second half: The second round was not much nicer to look at either, Tielemans’ magic shot being the exception to the rule. Only in the final quarter of an hour Chelsea picked up speed again, Thomas Tuchel had brought ex-Leicester defender Ben Chilwell into the game, among others. He repeatedly intervened offensively, headed to the post (78.), shortly before Mount failed to Kasper Schmeichel via Dropkick (87.).

To knee width: Chelsea had the best chance of equalising at the very end. Thiago Silva chipped the ball from deep to the five, where Chilwell had already appeared again. Söyüncü’s save just before the line flipped against Leicester captain Wes Morgan and from there into their own goal, the Blues celebrated-until the video assistant switched on: Chilwell’s knee was very delicately offside during the play. This provided relief for the Foxes – and an unusual declaration of love from Leicester legend and former world class striker Gary Lineker, who quickly threw his VAR aversion overboard on Twitter.

Tuchel’s next finals: For Tuchel and Chelsea, despite the missed opportunity in the Cup, there is still plenty to pick up until the end of the season. It’s about qualifying for the Champions League-via the league, where the next opponent on Tuesday is also called Leicester City and Liverpool FC (60 points, an open catch-up game) is sitting in the neck of the Londoners (64 points). Alternatively, Chelsea could simply win the Champions League final on 29 May against Manchester City, as the defending champions, participation next year would be guaranteed.

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