No wonder it was Chelsea and Frank Lampard who had campaigned for nine substitutes to be allowed on the bench when football restarted after the coronavirus shutdown.
And, according to Lampard, he would have used all nine of them if he had been allowed following what he claimed was Chelsea’s worst 45 minutes of the season.
But a treble change at half-time proved to be enough as, for the second time in Chelsea’s three games since the restart, Lampard used his bench to devastating effect to guide his team into the semi-finals of the FA Cup.
A week earlier it had been Christian Pulisic who stepped off the bench to score against Aston Villa and at the King Power Stadium it was Ross Barkley who changed the game in Chelsea’s favour.
Barkley was one of the three substitutions made by Lampard, who hooked youngsters Mason Mount, Billy Gilmour and Reece James, and gave his team a half-time rocket.
2020欧洲杯体育投注开户“I don’t think we have played that badly this season for 45 minutes,” said Lampard. “We have played better than that and lost games. I wasn’t happy with that and we were lucky not to be losing at half-time.
2020欧洲杯体育投注开户“There were a few words at half time. The first half was not what we are used to in terms of our performance. We lacked urgency and intensity. I made three subs, but it could have been seven or eight and different subs. But I made the changes I did for impact and personality, and we turned it around.”
Lampard had consoling words for Mount, Gilmour and James as he added: “I could have made different changes but Mason had played two tough games and Billy Gilmour and Reece James had not played much. They will be top players for this club no matter what and they will have top careers.”
Brendan Rodgers will know his Leicester team should have put the visitors away in the first half and must now make sure they cling on to Champions League qualification, having yet to win since the restart.
Jamie Vardy missed a good chance and the fact Leicester have only scored one goal on their return is clearly an area of concern. Another worry is reports that the city could face a localised lockdown due to the number of coronavirus cases.
2020欧洲杯体育投注开户Premier League clubs can use neutral venues if they have to and Rodgers said: “I heard about it this morning. As a football club, we're very protective and we're very much still in a bubble. The players are tested twice a week. A lot of them don't live in the central Leicester area.
“Of course you are always concerned but we are in a position here at the club where we're very much protected, so that gives you the confidence to continue with your work.”
T2020欧洲杯体育投注开户he way in which Lampard coached his team through the first half drinks break underlined the slow and sloppy start Chelsea made to the match.
2020欧洲杯体育投注开户Goalkeeper Willy Caballero, in for Kepa Arrizabalaga, had to stop a Harvey Barnes cross from reaching Vardy and the Argentine also did well to deal with a fiercely struck back pass from Antonio Rudiger.
2020欧洲杯体育投注开户Wilfred Ndidi headed a Ben Chilwell free-kick at Caballero and Youri Tielemans, in for the injured James Maddison for Leicester, had a shot tipped wide.
2020欧洲杯体育投注开户The drinks break came at just the right time for Chelsea, who had only threatened through in-form Christian Pulisic at that point, with Caglar Soyuncu booked for a foul on the forward.
2020欧洲杯体育投注开户Following Lampard’s impromptu coaching session, Rudiger played a pass forward to captain for the day Willian, who attempted to find Mason Mount in the Leicester area but the ball ran out for a goal kick.
Lampard clapped his approval, but he will have breathed a sigh of relief when Jonny Evans glanced a Chilwell set-piece just past the post.
2020欧洲杯体育投注开户Pulisic had scored in each of his previous two games, against Villa and Manchester City, and he was almost on target again with a powerful drive that was well stopped by goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel.
2020欧洲杯体育投注开户But for their slight improvement since the drinks break, Chelsea survived two let-offs just before the interval. First, Vardy pulled a shot wide and then the striker saw a header from a corner deflected out of play.
Lampard clearly wasn’t in the mood to see if things improved after the break, as he made his treble substitution by sending on Barkley, Mateo Kovacic and Cesar Azpiliceuta to replace Gilmour, Mount and James.
Chelsea immediately upped the pace and Tammy Abraham had the ball in the net in the 55th minute, following a smart Pulisic pass, but he was correctly judged to have been offside.
2020欧洲杯体育投注开户Rodgers made a couple of changes of his own in response to Chelsea’s improvement, with Marc Albrighton and Hamza Choudhury offering fresh legs, but it was Barkley who opened the scoring.
2020欧洲杯体育投注开户It was in the 64th minute that Willian swapped passes with Azpiliceuta before delivering a teasing cross that Barkley was able to side-foot volley past Schmeichel for his third FA Cup goal of the season.
B2020欧洲杯体育投注开户arkley should have added a second to kill the tie, but Lampard has been delighted with the midfielder’s form and said: “His attitude has been spot on and he was unlucky not to start against Villa, but he made an impact in that game and has impacted the next two games as well. I’ve got lots of time for Ross, he is a big player for us.”
LEICESTER CITY (4-1-4-1): Schmeichel 7; Justin 6, Evans 6, Soyuncu 5, Chilwell 7; Ndidi 7; Perez 6 (Albrighton, 57, 6), Praet 6 (Choudhury, 58, 5), Tielmans 6, Barnes 7 (Gray, 76, 6); Vardy 6.
Subs not used: Morgan, Ward, Iheanacho, Mendy, Fuchs, Bennett.
2020欧洲杯体育投注开户CHELSEA (4-3-3): Caballero 7; James 5 (Azpilicueta, 46, 7), Rudiger 5, Zouma 5, Emerson 6; Mount 6 (Barkley, 46, 7), Kante 6, Gilmour 6 (Kovacic, 46, 7); Willian 7 (Pedro, 78, 6), Abraham 6, Pulisic 7 (Loftus-Cheek, 73, 6).
Subs not used: Kepa, Alonso, Jorginho, Giroud.
89 minutes: Leicester 0 Chelsea 1
Oooh, Chelsea almost get a second on the break. Chelsea had a four on two on the counter, but Barkley messed it up with a pass behind Loftus-Cheek. The midfielder improvised and shoveled a ball back to Barkley, and he struck well at goal but Schmeichel saved in unorthodox fashion. Almost squirmed underneath him. Chelsea keep the ball in the corner.
84 minutes: Leicester 0 Chelsea 1
Leicester have a wide free-kick on the right but Loftus-Cheek is there screening at the front post and heads away. In the next phase, Leicester return the ball with interest to the back post and Caballero completely missed his punch! Soyuncu was there, but Azpilicueta got up well to deflect his header over.
75 minutes: Leicester 0 Chelsea 1
Leicester are being more direct and trying to pin Chelsea back by winning second balls. They have struggled to pass their way through Chelsea in this half. This is better though, a sweeping attack involving Chilwell and Barnes down the left but Chilwell runs out of space.
Gray replaces Barnes as Rodgers rolls the dice.
GOOOOAAAALLL! Barkley gives Chelsea the lead
A2020欧洲杯体育投注开户nd there is that opening goal as one of Lampard's subs makes an impact. Willian clips a low cross in from the right and Barkley gets across the front of Evans and glances the ball into the far corner with his right foot. Just the right amount of contact to find the net.
50 minutes: Leicester 0 Chelsea 0
That corner came to nothing, but Chelsea have another after a strong off the ball run from Barkley. Soyuncu got across to block his cross. Vardy with the defending in his own penalty area, and Leicester clear their lines. Strong defending from Soyuncu again against Barkley, and Leicester play their into trouble. Kovacic pressing and winning the ball back high up.
41 minutes: Leicester 0 Chelsea 0
Leicester trying to work an opening as half time approaches. Perez is a decent Premier League operator, but not sure they are getting much from him on the right flank. In many ways, Leicester are more rounded than when they won the title but a wide player of Riyad Mahrez's quality is a huge difference.
30 minutes: Leicester 0 Chelsea 0
C2020欧洲杯体育投注开户helsea finally click into gear and produce some quality combination play in the final third. Pulisic plays a neat one two around the edge of the box and leathers a shot towards the roof of the net, but Schmeichel tipped it over. Much better from the visitors.
28 minutes: Leicester 0 Chelsea 0
Rudiger fizzes the ball out to Willian, but his first time pass is too heavy to find a smart run from Mount into the penalty area. The Brazilian is out of contract in the summer.
2020欧洲杯体育投注开户Perez then wins a foul in a dangerous spot for Leicester, and again Chelsea's marking is slack. Really good chance for Jonny Evans but he does not get enough on his glancing header and it goes wide.
16 minutes: Leicester 0 Chelsea 0
Chelsea just about shading possession with 56 per cent in the early exchanges. They are playing with a midfield three of Gilmour, Kante and Mount this afternoon. Pulisic and Willian on the flanks. The American winger wins a foul close to the right touchline. James delivers but there was no power on the Chelsea header and Schmeichel gathers easily.
4 minutes: Leicester 0 Chelsea 0
C2020欧洲杯体育投注开户helsea wide open in the early minutes. Ndidi gets to a loose ball and strides clear of his opponents. Looks to Barnes on the left flank, and Caballero is at full stretch to palm his low cross away. Great start from the hosts. Rodgers has them pressing really high, which we have seen little of post-lockdown.
2 minutes: Leicester 0 Chelsea 0
Very nearly a remarkable start from Leicester, pinching the ball off Chelsea in midfield and breaking. Barnes exchanged passes with Vardy at the edge of the area but the young winger could not quite get his shot away. Leicester keep the pressure on, but Reece James shepherds the ball behind for a goal kick.
Both teams are out
N2020欧洲杯体育投注开户o Maddison today for Leicester, which will diminish their threat but may make them a touch more industrial in the middle of the pitch. They'll need that against Chelsea, whose movement and quality in central areas is really slick. Ben Chilwell facing the team who covet him. Not long until kick off now.
Kasper Schmeichel eyeing another fairytale
Our man in the midlands John Percy spoke to Kasper Schmeichel this week, and he has some interesting things to say about Leicester's ascendancy in English football and whether they will ever be considered a Big Club. Here is a taster of the piece you can read in full here:
2020欧洲杯体育投注开户“But with time, I believe we can get there. We have the best manager and owner we could possibly have. We will soon have one of the best training grounds in Europe, if not the world.
“Everything is there for is to kick on and become one of the bigger clubs. We need to continue the work we are doing, everything is going in the right direction.”
Can Leicester make more history?
Leicester have never won the FA Cup, have been beaten by today's opponents Chelsea in their last two quarter-final appearances, while Brendan Rodgers is yet to record a managerial victory over the club where he began his career as a youth coach.
2020欧洲杯体育投注开户The omens are not good for Leicester then, but this is a club with a modern history of upsetting the odds and usurping more established names. Lest we forget too, that Leicester are one place above Chelsea in the league although the gap between third and fourth is now down to one point.
When the season began, Rodgers and his team would have expected nine months of blood, toil, tears and sweat to achieve Champions League qualification. In fact, Leicester had it in the bag by Christmas.
Marooned on an island in third for months, Leicester seem to have a lost their edge. They are 15th in the 10 game form table and at risk of throwing away what was at one point a 14-point cushion inside the top four.
Chelsea appear to have more positive energy just now, and it is worth recognising the job Frank Lampard has done. Many were predicting a difficult season for the inexperienced coach, but he has imprinted an attractive attacking style and Chelsea could well finish as best of the rest behind Liverpool and Manchester City. Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech have been secured for next season and they are poised to challenge.
Their 2-1 victory over City saw the crown pass officially to Liverpool, but attention turns today to the FA Cup and the chance for Lampard to win his first major trophy as a manager. The Chelsea manager picked out Christian Pulisic for praise after his goal against City.
2020欧洲杯体育投注开户"I think he can be a really big player, because he broke through at such a young age in Germany and he made a big move, obviously expectations rise but you have to keep the age in consideration," Lampard said.
"There is no doubt about his quality, we can see that and he is very keen to improve. He's particularly hungry at the minute because he missed some time with an injury.
"If he looks at players around him that have made that sort of a jump, he has the ability like Raheem Sterling to produce numbers from wide areas, like [Mo] Salah and [Sadio] Mane. He understands the work that needs to be done to do that. He definitely has the talent, he needs to get to that level.
"I'm delighted to have him at the minute, he works hard everyday, he has to set his sights as high as he possibly can."
2020欧洲杯体育投注开户Team news on the way shortly.