BETFINAL’S LOOKBACK AT THE WEEKEND –
Introducing our weekly review of the hottest sporting events happening every weekend! Every Monday we will feature one of our favourite sporting moments from the weekend just passed as the Monday blues begin to settle. We bring you the biggest moments from the weekend from all sports around the globe!
Leicester City 1 – 2 Chelsea (AET) Sunday 19th March, FA CUP Quarter Finals, England.
The magic of the FA Cup was revived this weekend as Leicester welcomed the Premier League Champions to the King Power Stadium to round up the weekend’s sporting calendar. Four days earlier, Leicester’s players enjoyed some warm-weather training in Marbella, while Chelsea were being given the run around by Lionel Messi in Barcelona. The two would now meet amidst the freezing temperatures of Leicester to battle for a place in the last 4 of England’s most prestigious cup competition.
The FA Cup has never been a high priority for the blues, but this year is different. Eliminated out of Europe, never in contention for the league title, and 5 points adrift of a European place; will Chelsea’s clouded season end in a silver(ware) lining?
Despite it being the world’s oldest football cup competition, the FA cup is moving with the times. In a modern twist, the rule of replaying a game that ends in a draw has been abolished at this stage of the tournament. Instead of a rematch, the game is extended by 30 minutes of extra time, which is exactly what occurred last night.
The Foxes, unbeaten at home in 2018 and upbeat after a 4-1 victory over West Brom last time out, proved to be a stern test. Who backed Jamie Vardy to spoil the party? He pounced on a goalmouth scramble to cancel out Morata’s opener. His finish set up a landmark period of extra time, with Pedro popping up with what would prove to be the winner.
Despite strong calls that Conte will leave at the end of the season, the manner of yesterday’s victory was testament to the character of his squad. Conte’s faith in Morata’s performance saw him end his goal drought of 13 games without a goal. The Spaniard seemed to be suffering a similar spell to his Spanish predecessor, Fernando Torres, who exactly six years earlier broke his 24-match dry spell by scoring a double against the Foxes. Despite showing his class without more goals from Morata, Chelsea will struggle to claim a crucial top-four finish and potential FA Cup victory.
Patience is notoriously known to be in short supply at Stamford Bridge. It’s Conte’s fervour and passion for the game that show his sights set solely on this year’s trophy. The last three times they defeated Leicester in 1997, 2000 and 2012, Chelsea have gone on to win the competition – who thinks history will repeat itself?
Conte’s aim is clear “For sure, we have to try to win the FA Cup, we have to try to win this competition.” Without underestimating the Saints I believe Chelsea have one hand on the trophy which would give them give them their first FA Cup victory since 2012.
Would the FA Cup provide the perfect farewell for Antonio Conte and remedy last year’s loss in the final to Arsenal? They now face Southampton at Wembley (ties played 21st April) before a potential meeting with close rivals Man United or Spurs in what looks to be a fascinating final to this wonderful competition. Who’s joining me on backing Chelsea and Conte to go all the way this year?
Back yourself and predict this year’s winners. Who will win this years FA Cup?
Comment which club you predict to lift the trophy in the section below. See you Thursday!