Chelsea Vs Leeds United FA Cup Match Preview (1 Viewer)

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Still reeling from their heartbreaking loss in the EFL Cup final, a despondent Chelsea now turn their sights to the FA Cup, welcoming Leeds United to Stamford Bridge for Wednesday's fifth-round clash.

Despite Chelsea's disappointing 1-0 defeat to Liverpool at Wembley on Sunday, Daniel Farke's Leeds celebrated a resounding 3-1 victory over Championship leaders Leicester City on Friday night.

Ahead of the EFL Cup final, Jurgen Klopp, facing an injury crisis, could have fielded an entire team of sidelined players. With the Reds' absentee list growing even longer during the final, it seemed like the perfect opportunity for Chelsea's manager to break his English trophy drought.

However, despite Klopp's reliance on younger players to bolster his depleted squad, Chelsea appeared passive and lacked a decisive edge. As extra time dwindled down, it seemed like penalties were inevitable until Virgil van Dijk's header secured the crown for Liverpool.

The disappointment prolonged Mauricio Pochettino's wait for his first major English trophy, a feat he still hopes to achieve in the FA Cup. Chelsea's journey in the tournament has been impressive, with a 4-0 victory over Preston North End in the first round followed by a convincing win over Aston Villa in the fourth round replay.

The Blues have a strong track record in the FA Cup, having progressed past the fifth round six times in the last eight seasons and winning 13 of their last 15 matches at this stage. However, their recent form at Stamford Bridge has been inconsistent, with two consecutive home games ending without a win after seven successive victories from December to January.

On the other hand, Leeds is riding a wave of success, with a sixth consecutive victory in all competitions against Leicester City. Their flawless record in the Championship in 2024, with nine wins out of nine games since the start of the year, reflects their determination to return to the top flight.

While Leeds suffered a setback in their initial FA Cup fourth-round match against Plymouth Argyle, they bounced back with a convincing 4-1 extra-time win, reaching the fifth round for the second consecutive year. However, their last victory over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge dates back to December 1999, with Chelsea securing six consecutive wins over Leeds at home since then.

INJURIES & SUSPENSION​

Despite leaving Wembley with winners' medals, Liverpool had their fair share of knocks, but Chelsea managed to avoid any fresh injury concerns from the EFL Cup final. However, Thiago Silva's groin issue persisted, ruling out the 39-year-old from involvement.

Silva's availability for Wednesday's match remains uncertain, similar to Marc Cucurella's status with his ankle concern. Meanwhile, Wesley Fofana, Reece James, Lesley Ugochukwu, Romeo Lavia, Carney Chukwuemeka, and Benoit Badiashile are all still sidelined.

Although Robert Sanchez returned to the matchday squad at Wembley, Chelsea might see several players benefit from the quick turnaround, including Trevoh Chalobah, Alfie Gilchrist, Noni Madueke, Christopher Nkunku, and Mykhaylo Mudryk.

Leeds, facing defensive injury woes of their own, will miss Karl Darlow, Pascal Struijk, Sam Byram, and Stuart Dallas for the fifth-round tie. However, they emerged unscathed from Friday's game, and Farke will have Burnley loanee Roberts available, who missed the replay against Plymouth due to registration issues.

Roberts and Bamford's impressive performances against Leicester put them in contention for starting spots at Stamford Bridge, while Ethan Ampadu is expected to feature against his former club from the beginning.

POSSIBLE LINE-UPS​

Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Sanchez; Gusto, Gilchrist, Chalobah, Colwill; Gallagher, Fernandez; Madueke, Nkunku, Mudryk; Sterling

Leeds United possible starting lineup:
Meslier; Roberts, Ampadu, Cooper, Firpo; Gruev, Kamara; Gnonto, Rutter, Anthony; Bamford

EXPERT PREDICTION​

Chelsea 1-2 Leeds United
In addition to their impressive scoring record, Leeds has been known for their strong defensive performances in 2024. Wout Faes's goal for Leicester on Friday was only the fourth they've conceded during their unbeaten streak of 12 games.

With Chelsea possibly lacking confidence after recent setbacks, they might face a tough challenge against Leeds' solid defense. However, Pochettino has some attacking options at his disposal, and we anticipate that the Blues will manage to regain a bit of pride with a narrow victory to advance to the quarter-finals.
 

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