Timo Werner falters again as Chelsea lose yet another FA Cup final, thanks to a rocket strike from Leicester City midfielder Youri Tielemans.
After four defeats in the final, Leicester City manage to secure their maiden FA Cup title in the club’s history, thanks to a 1-0 win over Chelsea on Saturday. It marked Brendan Rodgers’ first trophy in English football while the Blues have now become the first team to lose two back-to-back FA Cup finals, having been defeated by Arsenal last term.
Although the result might suggest otherwise, it was an entertaining and rather fascinating game that saw a lot of action on both ends of the pitch. Chelsea, unsurprisingly, dominated possession and created more attacking chances in the final third. They were close to scoring as well, but some wasteful finishing saw the two sides drawing blank heading into half-time.
Leicester, in response, couldn’t create too many clear cut opportunities, but then came the controversial moments as Youri Tielemans fired in the opener around the hour mark. While the goal was legit, Chelsea were furious as they believed that the ball had hit Ayoze Perez’s arm just before leading to the Belgian’s goalscoring opportunity.
The Blues, nevertheless, continued to probe the Foxes in search of an equaliser. They found it in the dying embers of the game through ex-Leicester City star Ben Chilwell. However, the goal was later disallowed by VAR due to the full-back being in an offside position, and marginally so.
The offside call served as a sigh of relief for Leicester City, as they celebrated their maiden FA Cup. And here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over both these sides in this exhilarating final at Wembley this weekend.
Kepa Arrizabalaga: 6/10
Kepa Arrizabalaga did not have to make too many saves as Leicester City only managed one shot on target. That one shot, however, was from Tielemans, leaving the Chelsea goalkeeper stranded.
Reece James: 6.5/10
Reece James’ poor forward pass led to the turnover that allowed Tielemans acres of space in front of goal. Didn’t fit well in the rather awkward centre-back position that restricted his offensive prowess, but still gave his all for the team.
Reece James and Mason Mount were the only players that played for the badge today. 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽 pic.twitter.com/bKjggUp6OQ
— Ish (@CFCIsh) May 15, 2021
Thiago Silva: 6.5/10
Thiago Silva produced some brilliant moments in the game, particularly with his passing. One of them even led to Chilwell’s disallowed goal late in the game. Defensively, the veteran centre-back had problems on certain occasions, especially after the restart.
Antonio Rudiger: 6.5/10
Antonio Rudiger had a decent game defensively. He provided cover for Silva or James when they got forward. The German also impressed with his accurate challenges in the defensive third.
Cesar Azpilicueta: 5/10
Operating as the right sided wing-back, Cesar Azpilicueta failed to offer anything going forward. It was perhaps a wrong decision from Thomas Tuchel, as James certainly would have been a better outlet in this position.
N’Golo Kante: 7.5/10
N’Golo Kante looked very proactive upon his return to the starting eleven. The Frenchman created turnovers while also looking determined to make an impact going forward. A good display overall.
Kante received a hugely warm reception from Leicester City's fans before the game. It is fair to say Ben Chilwell did not.
— Phil McNulty (@philmcnulty) May 15, 2021
Jorginho didn’t have the best of games in the double-pivot, especially when Leicester City upped the ante. Overrun by Tielemans & co. at times.
Marcos Alonso: 4/10
Marcos Alonso produced a dismal performance on the left hand side. The Spaniard had problems dealing with the threat of Timothy Castagnee while also failing to provide anything going forward.
Hakim Ziyech: 6/10
Hakim Ziyech tried his best to make things happen in the final third. However, barring a few intricate passes, the former Ajax star had difficulties in influencing the game.
Mason Mount: 6.5/10
Mason Mount was a vital outlet in Chelsea’s transition play, using his skill and trickery on the ball to good effect. The Englishman, though, could not find a solid opening to properly test the opposing goalkeeper.
Timo Werner: 4/10
Timo Werner was once again wasteful upon his return to the starting eleven. The German most notably wasted an excellent opportunity for Azpilicueta by changing the trajectory of Silva’s cross in the first half. Aside from that, he simply wasn’t up to the task, up against a diligent Leicester backline.
Christian Pulisic: 6.5/10
Christian Pulisic showcased his neat touches and control over possession after coming on for Ziyech midway through the second half. Should have started the game instead.
Ben Chilwell: 7/10
Ben Chilwell caused problems down the left hand side after coming on for Alonso in the 68th minute. His goal, unfortunately, was disallowed late in the game.
Ben Chilwell spent 11 years with Leicester City after joining the club as a 13-year-old.
He had thought he had scored a last-minute equaliser against them in the #FACupFinal.
Instead, it was ruled out by VAR and his boyhood club won the FA Cup for the first time. pic.twitter.com/CwiDi0qWux
— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) May 15, 2021
Kai Havertz: 6/10
Kai Havertz tried to test Kasper Schmeichel but simply did not find enough space to work his magic during the final phase of the game.
Callum Hudson-Odoi: 6/10
Callum Hudson-Odoi tried to add more attacking impetus to the Chelsea side after replacing Azpilicueta in the 76th minute.
Olivier Giroud: N/A
A late replacement for Werner. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.
Kasper Schmeichel: 8/10
Kasper Schmeichel was one of the heroes of this excellent defensive performance against Chelsea. The goalkeeper made a host of stunning saves, especially during the late stages of the game. Deserves the title, after working his socks off to retain the clean sheet.
Wesley Fofana: 8.5/10
Wesley Fofana was a rock at the back for Leicester City. The youngster looked determined to preserve the clean sheet, making multiple blocks throughout the course of the game to deny the likes of Werner and Ziyech.
Wesley Fofana vs Chelsea
81% pass accuracy
2 tackles won
4 blocked shots
4 aerials won
0 times dribbled past
7/9 duels won
20 years of age. WHAT. A. PERFORMANCE. What a talent! 🔵🦊 pic.twitter.com/IDrMOqQC39
— Football Talent Scout – Jacek Kulig (@FTalentScout) May 15, 2021
Jonny Evans: 6/10
Brendan Rodgers’ decision to rush Jonny Evans right back into the thick of things didn’t pay off at all, as the defender picked up a knock that cut his night short. He was subbed off just after the half-hour mark.
Caglar Soyuncu: 7.5/10
Caglar Soyuncu might not have been as impressive as Fofana, but the centre-back offered the necessary defensive support to his teammates. His imposing presence at the back was useful in dealing with the late threat.
Timothy Castagne: 7.5/10
Castagne made some intricate movements in behind, during certain stages of the game. He was later called into a more defensive role, especially in light of Evans’ early injury.
Youri Tielemans: 9/10
Youri Tielemans bossed the midfield – showcasing an ideal amount of urgency and aggression. He was also outstanding in possession, moving the ball forward well, though it was his thunderbolt strike from long range that caught the attention.
— Emirates FA Cup (@EmiratesFACup) May 15, 2021
Wilfred Ndidi: 8/10
Wilfred Ndidi was another monster in midfield Leicester City. The Nigerian international offered support to Tielemans as the duo took control of the game in the middle third, neutralising Chelsea’s dangerous approach play.
Luke Thomas: 7.5/10
A very matured display from Luke Thomas, who remained composed at the back – preventing Chelsea from causing too many problems from the flanks. Did well going forward as well, before being subbed off late in the game.
Ayoze Perez: 7/10
Ayoze Perez deserves credit for intercepting James’ poor pass, eventually leading to Tielemans’ winner. Aside from that, though, the former Newcastle United attacker did not cause too much danger going forward.
Kelechi Iheanacho: 6/10
Kelechi Iheanacho could not manage to continue his red hot form in front of goal. He was, in fact, poor on multiple occasions, especially when it came to holding the ball up and releasing runners like Jamie Vardy or Timothy Castagne.
Jamie Vardy: 6/10
Speaking of Vardy, he too had a rather disappointing game in front of goal. The forward was barely involved in the game, as Chelsea dominated possession.
Marc Albrighton: 6/10
Marc Albrighton replaced the injured Evans around the half-hour mark. He acted as one of the runners for Leicester City, but was unable to create any scoring opportunity.
James Maddison: 6/10
James Maddison replaced the ineffective Iheanacho midway through the second half in order to add more creativity to the game. The Englishman, though, did not make too much of an impact.
Wes Morgan: N/A
A late replacement for Thomas. Scored an own goal, but to his fortune, it was disallowed due to offside. Did not play enough to warrant a rating, though.
Hamza Choudhury: N/A
A late replacement for Perez. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.