Chelsea suffered a 1-0 defeat in the FA Cup final against Leicester City on Saturday evening at Wembley.
It was back-to-back final defeats for the Blues as Thomas Tuchel’s side fell short at the final hurdle once again.
Youri Tielemans gave Leicester the lead with a stunning strike from distance in the 63rd minute which sailed into the top corner, which proved to be the winner.
Chelsea started brightly at Wembley. Timo Werner, who was given the nod in attack, looked lively early on. Thomas Tuchel made an interesting tactical shift at the back as Reece James started as one of three centre-backs, while Cesar Azpilicueta went to right wing-back.
James was involved in the 16th minute as Timothy Castagne’s cross fell to Jamie Vardy, but his shot was well blocked by the Blues defender.
Seven minutes later, Mason Mount found space on the edge of the box as the rain poured at Wembley. But his low effort was deflected behind for a corner, which came to nothing
Timo Werner had a chance in the 27th minute as he raced towards goal in a two-v-two situation, but he blasted it over the bar to Thomas Tuchel’s fury on the sidelines.
Chelsea could’ve been ahead two minutes later. Thiago Silva played a one-two with Antonio Rudiger to clip a cross to the back post, but it was just too heavy for Cesar Azpilicueta, who was free. Any contact and Chelsea were ahead at Wembley.
Leicester were forced into a change in the 33rd minute. Jonny Evans, who returned in time from a heel injury, limped off and was replaced by Marc Albrighton.
Werner was booked five minutes before the break for a late foul on Luke Thomas, showing signs of frustration after having two efforts blocked.
Caglar Soyuncu met two Youri Tielemans crosses in the first-half, but could only head both over or wide of the goal. Vardy then had a half chance in first-half stoppage time, but he could only glance his header wide.
Tuchel’s frustrations with Werner started to show in the second half as the German forward’s decision making kept proving to be poor, getting bullied by the Foxes’ defence.
Marcos Alonso had the first shot on target of the game after 53 minutes. It was an extremely tame header from N’Golo Kante’s cross, easily claimed by Kasper Schmeichel.
James’ excellence in defence continued for the Blues. Tielemans caused Tuchel’s side problems and his whipped ball into the box for Vardy was well cut out by the Chelsea defender in the 55thn minute. Leicester started the second half extremely well, putting Tuchel’s men on the back foot.
Tielemans caused Chelsea all sorts of problems and he put Leicester ahead after 63 minutes. An absolute pile-driver from distance, leaving Edouard Mendy with no chance, to find the top corner to give the Foxes the lead.
Tuchel finally made changes in the 68th minute. Christian Pulisic and Ben Chilwell were brought on as Chelsea looked for a way back into the game at Wembley. They replaced Marcos Alonso and Hakim Ziyech.
Chelsea were punished for their lack of quality in a final. Kai Havertz and Callum Hudson-Odoi were the next two that Tuchel turned to, to try to find a leveller at Wembley. 15 minutes from time, Jorginho and Azpilicueta were the two to come off.
Chilwell went over so close to equalising against his former club, but his header at the back post 12 minutes from time was well kept out by Schmeichel to keep Leicester ahead.
Olivier Giroud was Chelsea’s fifth and final chance eight minutes from time as he replaced Werner, who had a torrid evening at Wembley.
Schmeichel stood up with three minutes to go to make an incredible save to deny Mount from levelling the game. His half volley into the bottom corner looked to have brought Chelsea back into the game, but the Foxes’ keeper’s reflexes were outstanding to keep his clean sheet in tact.
Chelsea thought they had levelled with a minute to goal as Chilwell bundled it home, but VAR controversially ruled it out for offside. Heartbreak for the Blues. A game summed up for Tuchel’s men.
And so it proved to be. Another FA Cup final, and another defeat for the Blues. So close, but so far. They thought they had levelled late on, but it wasn’t to be.
Three cup finals for the Blues left, including a Champions League final. There isn’t any time for Tuchel’s men to be feeling sorry for themselves.