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The magic of the FA Cup

“Chelsea 1 Man Utd 0” by @cfcunofficial (Chelsea Debs) London (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Leicester City face Chelsea in the 2021 FA Cup Final on Saturday 15th May. Both sides have had quite different histories in this competition and beyond.

Chelsea started to gain regular success in different competitions when Roman Abramovich bought the club in 2004. Leicester City hasn’t had as much success but did cause one of the biggest shocks in English football history when they won the Premier League in 2016. Which club will be celebrating at Wembley?

Who will come out on top at Wembley?

Unlike some previous finals, people are struggling to decide who will come out on top. If you look at FA Cup odds from Betfair, you will see that Chelsea are marginal favourites to win the cup. Leicester City have yet to taste success in the competition but have reached the final on four occasions. That said, their last appearance in the final was in 1969 where they lost out to Manchester City. You will see odds of 13/5 that their maiden success will come in 2021.

Chelsea have won the FA Cup eight times with the last triumph coming in 2018. They went onto dominate the competition for a period, winning it four times in six seasons between 2006/2007 and 2011/2012. Legendary striker Didier Drogba played a huge part in this success.

The form of Leicester and Chelsea

Both teams have been in decent form this season and will more than likely be playing in the Champions League next season. This is a big achievement, especially for Leicester. It’s possible to find football tips for free online for anyone who wants to read more on their recent form and analyse how the team is expected to perform in some of the other betting markets.

Chelsea made a managerial change back in January after some disappointing results. They replaced Frank Lampard with Thomas Tuchel. This was a big decision, as Lampard is an icon amongst their fans and Tuchel had little experience with the English game. It has looked like it is the correct decision, though: since coming in he has won 15 games and has only lost 2.

Leicester have improved this season and the form of Kelechi Iheanacho has played a part in this. The former Manchester City forward has scored 17 goals in all competitions, including two goals in the cup quarter-final against Manchester United.

A new name on the trophy?

In recent seasons, the so-called big clubs of the Premier League have dominated the competition. You’d have to go back to the 2012/2013 season when there was a shock winner of the competition.

Many experts and other football fans have believed the competition has lost some of its previous magic due to these big clubs dominating it. Many clubs, especially in the bottom half of the Premier League, often value safety in the Premier League over FA Cup success. As a result, some teams play weakened teams in the earlier rounds of the competition.

There’s still magic in the cup

Despite criticism of the competition, there are still some great stories. Marine FC, who play in the 8th tier of the English football pyramid, reached the third round of the competition where they faced Tottenham. The game saw the likes of Gareth Bale turn up at Rossett Park.

Chorley FC plays in the National League North and they got a step further. They reached the fourth round and were only narrowly knocked out by Wolves. Their players went viral during the cup run thanks to a powerful post-match rendition of an Adele song. Is this evidence the FA Cup still has a certain spark? There’s certainly an argument to suggest that it is.