Weblog: The football punter

Leicester and Chelsea to serve up a thrilling tie

FA Cup quarter-final
BBC1, 4.30pm Sunday

Chelsea are out of the Champions League, out of the Premier League's top four and Antonio Conte could soon be out of a job even if the champions win this season's FA Cup.

It feels as though the end is nigh for Conte at Stamford Bridge but this serial winner will want to depart with a bang if, as expected, the Italian exits this summer, so expect Chelsea to give everything in their quest to reach the semi-finals at the expense of Leicester.

However, the quarter-final trip to the King Power looks a tricky one for Chelsea and a bet on both teams to score could prove profitable.

Chelsea have had their issues on the road, losing their last five away matches and they have recorded just two victories, at promoted pair Huddersfield and Brighton, in the last 11.

In fairness to Conte they have had some hazardous journeys in that spell with defeats at Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal and Barcelona, but it won't be lost on anyone connected with Chelsea that away losses at the Emirates and Camp Nou ended their hopes in the League Cup and Champions League.

Leicester don't have a Lionel Messi in their ranks but they possess a couple of major threats in the shape of Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy.

The Mahrez assists for Vardy to score after attacking the space behind defences has been a standard Leicester tactic. Everyone knows what's coming but stopping it has not been easy.

Conte has refused to say whether usual domestic cup goalkeeper Willy Caballero, recently named in Argentina's squad for their March friendlies, or Thibaut Courtois, who was at fault for Messi's opener in Barcelona on Wednesday, will wear the gloves but whoever gets the nod could be in for a busy 90 minutes.

Chelsea are not defending well individually or as a team with errors becoming commonplace. On the plus side Willian has been in great nick and Eden Hazard along with either Olivier Giroud or Alvaro Morata can cause problems for the Foxes.

Leicester's only clean sheet in eight games came against Sky Bet Championship outfit Sheffield United in the previous round of this competition and even struggling sides such as Swansea, Stoke and West Brom have notched past Kasper Schmeichel since the start of February.

The Foxes have played six matches against the big six at home this season and both teams have scored on five occasions, the exception being Manchester City's 2-0 win in November.

Both teams to score

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Match in Focus


Arsenal v Tottenham

Home WinDrawAway Win
Key stats
  • Arsenal have scored two or more goals in five of their last seven matches
Expert verdict
Arsenal came from behind to get the better of rivals Tottenham in the Premier League earlier this month and should frank the form in their League Cup quarter-final clash. The Gunners’ 22-match unbeaten run finally came to an end at Southampton on Sunday, but the club has been rejuvenated by the arrival of Unai Emery. Spurs lacked the desire of their hosts in the recent 4-2 defeat at the Emirates.