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  • Writer's pictureBy Yann Tear at Stamford Bridge

Oh God, not another Wembley visit : Talking points from Chelsea's vibrant quarter-final win over Foxes

Chelsea just about made it to another cup semi-final after a nervy, unconvincing 4-2 win against Championship leaders Leicester City at the Bridge.

It needed an injury time winner from Carney Chukweumeka to get the job done against visitors reduced to 10 men for the last 20 minutes following the dismissal of Callum Doyle. Noni Madueke also came off the bench to put the icing on the cake.

An early goal from Marc Cucurella and a second from Cole Palmer made it 2-0 at the break. Raheem Sterling had a penalty saved between times and he missed a one v one but his assist set up the second goal.

Axel Disasi's own goal from 40 yards offered Leicester some hope at the start of the second half and a fine strike from Stephy Mavididi set up a grandstand finish.

Here we take a look at some of the talking points on a thrilling afternoon.

Don't ever let anyone tell you you need to beat the best to win it

No-one can say Mauricio Pochettino has been unlucky when it comes to cup draws this season. A very favourable set of fixtures helped usher the Blues on a fine run all the way to last month's Carabao Cup Final. The FA Cup is proving equally accommodating.

In both competitions, they have managed to be drawn at home in every single round, with Newcastle in the League Cup and Aston Villa in the FA Cup the only Premier League sides they have had to get past. That's eight home ties in a row.

It is a ridiculous myth that says you need to beat the best along the way to win a trophy. That may be true when you get to a final but a favourable draw can smooth a passage, as it has done for the Blues twice this season.

A home tie against Championship opposition - even a team as accomplished as Leicester City - is not bad for a quarter-final. What price a tie against Coventry City in the semi-final?

Blues have three big reasons to crave going on to win the FA Cup

There will surely be much more stability and faith in the future under Pochettino if the Argentinian can get the monkey off his back and claim that first trophy since managing in England.

The board, the players, and perhaps equally importantly the fans - given the antipathy expressed by some recently - will start to trust the process. That's what silverware does for you.

But as well as the intangible there is also the very tangible. The Blues are two Wembley wins away from securing a place back in Europe and ending that dreadful sequence of six cup final defeats in a row at the home of football. Both of those are massive incentives.

Revenge for the Youri Tielemans final

Among those six cup final defeats in a row was the one in 2021 when a superb strike from Tielemans settled the issue. That said, the unexpected defeat at Wembley during the Covid years is the only blemish on a near-perfect record for the Blues against the Foxes in the FA Cup.

Nine previous meetings had resulted in seven Chelsea wins and two draws. One of the most famous of those wins was arguably the one in 1997 that proved the harbinger of a new era.

Frank Leboeuf's controversial penalty decided it three minutes from the end of extra-time and a couple of months later, Middlesbrough were defeated in the final to give Chelsea their first FA Cup success since 1970 and only their second one ever.

Ben Chilwell will have drawn quiet satisfaction from the day, Raheem much less so

The former Foxes defender was treated to a hostile reception from visiting fans for his defection to Chelsea.

He started on the bench and when he went for his warm-ups, he copped an earful of venom. There were boos when he came on just as the 90 minutes were expiring and extra-time loomed. He was on just long enough to share the winning moment.

But the toxic atmosphere from the Matthew Harding End was reserved for one of their own rather an opponent. After Sterling had blasted a free-kick miles over the bar, fans were baying for him to be subbed off.

When Poch took Mykhailo Mudryk off instead of the former Man City winger, they were less than impressed. 'You don't know what you're doing' they bellowed at the Chelsea boss. There were cheers when Sterling finally made way for Madueke. And plenty of boos directed towards him as he sloped off the field.


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